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Synod: Catholic Church of Jerusalem

22 Oct 2010 – VATICAN CITY — Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop Elias Chacour, Bishops William Shomali and Selim Sayegh, both of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Father David Neuhaus, S.J., met with members of the press on 22 October, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Istituto Maria SS. Bambina, Via Paulo VI, No. 21, which runs along the southern side of the Piazza S. Pietro.

The four clerics represent four diverse communities of the Catholic Church of Jerusalem:

  • Archbishop Chacour leads 95,000 Greek Catholics in Israel, most of whom live in Galilee.
  • Bishop William Shomali shepherds some 11,000 Catholics in Jerusalem and Palestine.
  • Bishop Selim Sayegh serves 50,000 Latin Catholics in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  • Father Neuhaus leads the Latin Patriarchate’s 500 Hebrew-speaking Catholics.

Who makes up this diverse church? What are the needs of the various particular communities and churches? How are they similar? How do they differ? How do these four communities of faith work together?

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA is an agency of the Holy See providing aid to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its operating agency in the Middle East, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, was founded by Pope Pius XII to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Today, the Pontifical Mission today functions as the Holy See’s relief and development agency for the Middle East. Programs include emergency relief to displaced Iraqi and Palestinian families, community redevelopment projects, job-creation programs and pre– and postnatal medical care.