|Fr. Eamon at sundown in Jerusalem|
The following is
the experience of Fr. Eamon Kelly LC, Vice Chargé of
the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, during his
September 21, 2012, walk through the streets of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Israel -- Prompted
by the many questions about safety and security here, I
am experiencing zero difference from when I left six weeks
ago, despite all the chat and concerned emails I got
in the US! There is an amazing tone
difference here on the ground from the “lobby and cocktail
chat” in the States.
The Armenian people in Jerusalem celebrated their national day
yesterday (Sept. 20, 2012) evening in Notre Dame Center. The
Armenian Consul in Jerusalem hosted the reception at which the
Israeli ambassador to Armenia also delivered greetings. Great
concern was expressed over the circumstances of the significant Armenian
population in Syria. In Jerusalem the Armenian Catholics
run the Third and Fourth Stations of the Way of
the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. (The Armenian Apostolic Church
has its Patriarchate in the Armenian Quarter at St James’
Church where relics of both St James Apostles are venerated,
and there is a very good relationship with the Catholic
there are thousands of visitors in Jerusalem today, who are
on a cruise in the Mediterranean. Scores of busses bring
them from the cruise ship in Asdod or Askelon to
Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Since they only have one
short day, they usually visit Gethsemane and the Holy Sepulcher.
Then on the second morning they wake up in the
port of Haifa and visit a couple of the sites
|Fr. Eamon notices the diversity of locals and pilgrims during his walk|
Notre Dame, we hosted a similar group last night. They
chose to stay with us overnight so they could visit
more holy places and have some more time to pray
in Jerusalem. They happened to be Iranians living in the
USA and were most heartly and passionately interested to see
the Holy Land and meet the people.
I talked with Oklahoma pilgrims just
finishing up a week here, Germans who were here for
two weeks, local Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a Greek Orthodox
priest, Tel Aviv Jewish families on holiday here for New
Year’s, Russians -- 5000 Ukrainians are here on
pilgrimage -- Polish, Swedes, and many others, and everyone says
it is so peaceful here!
The sun is going down.
I enter the Damascus Gate and Jewish people are returning
through the Arab quarter as usual from the Western Wall
prayer. Many are dressed in white to emphasize
the festive celebration of the Jewish New Year.
I notice children playing near
the Menorah, with the Western Wall in background.
I missed taking a glorious picture of a group of
Palestinian children as I climbed up the Mount of Olives
– their eyes and faces were so happy.
For better understanding of what
is going on here in the Middle East, I highly
recommend you read the Holy Father’s words from his visit
to Lebanon this past weekend. (See links below.) He gave
some marvelous inspiration in Beirut and was enthusiastically received. Plus I include a summary of his words to
Christian and Muslim young people who gathered to hear him.
|Fr. Eamon notices children playing |
praying for you all, and looking forward to greeting you
soon here in Jerusalem! Blessings for you, your
families and all the good you do. Thank you again
for all you have done for us here!