In the midst of war and suffering, the Catholic faithful of Holy Family Parish in northern Gaza continue to walk in the light of faith, with eight children receiving their First Holy Communion on January 7. Source: CNA.
“Despite the incredibly harsh conditions our people in Gaza endure as the relentless war is close to 100 days of destruction and killing, life heroically continues in Gaza for our faithful,” wrote Sami H El-Yousef, chief executive officer at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in a Facebook post.
Since no supplies are currently coming into northern Gaza, hosts for Holy Communion are now being prepared in a makeshift “factory” of sorts, according to Mr El-Yousef.
In addition, in a gesture of solidarity and friendship, a group of Catholic faithful from the parish walked to St Porphyrios Orthodox Church, a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City that is reportedly the oldest active church in the city, to bring their congratulations for the Orthodox Christmas, also celebrated on January 7.
Catholics in northern Gaza have endured great hardship since the war broke out. Many parishioners reportedly chose to seek refuge in the parish compound rather than assume the risks of fleeing south.
Fr Gabriel Romanelli, the pastor of Holy Family Parish, is currently in Jerusalem and unable to return to his flock. He told CNA in a previous report that resources are scarce for the faithful there and fear and tension had increased with the ongoing violence and recent attacks. Parishioners, however, continue to organise themselves to help with survival needs: the procurement of food, cooking, cleaning, child care, caring for the sick, and maintenance of the church and liturgical services.
Walking in faith: Eight children receive first Communion in northern Gaza (By Zoe Romanowsky, CNA)