17 July 2014
Sister Mariam Almiron of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word spins a small child around following Sunday Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza. There are only about 3,000 Christians in Gaza, of which a little more than 200 are Catholic. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)
Vatican Radio reports that amid the ongoing airstrikes in Gaza, a group of Catholic sisters is making preparations to depart:
Three nuns of the Institute of the Word Incarnate working with the Catholic Holy Family parish in Gaza are preparing to leave the Gaza Strip following multiple Israeli air strikes Wednesday evening that destroyed a neighbor’s home.
According to the Catholic news agency Fides, the sisters, all foreigners, received a telephone call from the Israelis advising them to leave.
Meanwhile, for several days now, the Sisters of Mother Teresa and the 28 disabled children and 9 elderly people in their care have taken refuge in the parish. It is expected that they will remain in Gaza together with the parish priest Father Jorge Hernandez.
Father Jorge reports that the “crimes are multiplying. The smaller children are beginning to get sick from fear, stress, the blasts, the continuous din. The parents are going to incredible lengths to distract them so that the violence does not overwhelm them, like playing and jumping every time they hear an explosion, dancing or simply hugging them and holding their hands over their ears.”
The warning calls came just ahead of Israel’s ground invasion, which began today.
According to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, members of this order have been working through the Holy Family parish since 2009.
Please say a prayer for the safety of the sisters, the communities they serve and the people of Gaza, who continue to endure terrible hardship.
To learn what you can do to help Gaza’s suffering families, click here.
Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Sisters War Israeli-Palestinian conflict