Your Holiness Pope Francis:
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,…” ~Matthew 19:14, Our Lord Jesus said this over two thousand years ago in this Holy Land. Today, we are reminded of our Lord’s wish as we were awaiting Your historic visit to our beloved city Jerusalem, but we knew our meeting with You would be hindered by the Israeli political authorities.
Our women, children and disabled were beaten this evening in Jerusalem while they were trying to get a glance of you passing in the streets of their city.
The Latin Patriarchate did arrange for our meeting but the Israeli Police ordered us to go to another place, to the streets and, then, accused us of blocking the streets!!
Women and children were injured and young men were arrested for some time. No one came to our rescue.
Since we are hindered, let our words come to You:
With gratitude to You, our Spiritual Leader and with God’s blessings, we are full of hope that Your ecumenical meeting will inspire the long awaited unity of the One Church, again in Jerusalem. Your pilgrimage is our sign of hope.
Hope for the unity of Christians all over the world, but also our Christian hope for freedom from occupation, and for justice for Palestine and Palestinians. We know Your stand with the poor and the victims will prevail in the light of truth.
Jerusalem Christians numbered 24,000 before Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. Today, we are less than 9,000!
This is due to displacement, house confiscation and demolitions, revocation and denial of residency rights and restrictions of movement.
We have become an isolated community, economically and socially as a result of Israeli laws against family re-unification, and torn apart by the separation wall. This is the truth of Jerusalem Christians today.
We long to live normal lives in our city with full human rights and total freedom. Not with barriers and bars. We long for a living church, not empty stones.
We aspire to self-determination, liberated from an oppressive occupation that imposes discriminatory regulations and laws where Jerusalem becomes exclusive for one people and one religion.
We only wanted to greet you like any community in Buenos Aires, or Rome, like in Amman and in Bethlehem.
We will keep witnessing for our Lord Jesus and our Christian faith in this land as Palestinians. After the darkness of the Tomb, we will live as the church of the Resurrection.
With these sincere words from Your little ones, we Jerusalem Christians pray for your successful ecumenical pilgrimage and meetings, believing in the power of truth and prayerful action in facing Empire and earthly powers’ oppression, as you have taught us.
You are our Father and we are sure that you will listen to our cry, know our pain and work towards preserving the dignity of all human beings.
With respect and sincerity,
On behalf of Palestinian Christians of Jerusalem –
Jerusalem Christian Organizations:
Arab Catholic Scouts Group, Arab Orthodox Scouts Group, Arab Orthodox Society – Jerusalem , Caritas- Jerusalem , Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees- Middle East Council of Churches , Greek Catholic Lady of Annunciation Association, International Christian Committee , Laity Committee in the Holy Land, National Christian Association ,Pontifical Mission Palestine , SABEEL – Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Seeds of Better Life , Union of Arab Orthodox Club – Jerusalem, Young Men’s Christian Association –YMCA, Young Women’s Christian Association –YWCA and Kairos Palestine