A delegation of Catholic Bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa on Saturday began its annual 5-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, aimed at showing solidarity with Christians living in the region.
as the Holy Land Coordination, the Bishops will be visiting Jerusalem,
Gaza and Bethlehem to meet members of ocal Christian communities and
those involved in the Church’s pastoral work in the area.
those taking part in this year’s pilgrimage is William Kenney,
Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, in the UK, who previously led the
pilgrimage for 12 years. He spoke to Susy Hodges about his expectations
concerning this year’s visit.
Kenney says his “hopes” are that this pilgrimage “will encourage the
Christian people we meet in Gaza and other places.”
At the same time, he
has “fears” because “the situation in the Holy Land is getting worse
and there’s less hope than there was (in the past).”
Asked about the
upcoming visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis in late May, Bishop
Kenney says “it will raise expectations” among the Christian community
for a resolution of some long-standing problems.
of this year’s pilgrimage is on the small Christian community in Gaza
and he explains that the Bishops took this decision because “it’s one of
the places most endangered and where people are suffering most.”
Bishop Kenney says the Bishops want to encourage anything which “brings
people together” in this troubled region.