Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem's Intervention at Synod

"The New Evangelization Must Start from Jerusalem"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The following is the text of the intervention of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem of Latins and President of the Conference of Latin Bishops in the Arabic regionsat the Synod of Bishops on Saturday.

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The pilgrimage to the Holy Places and to the “living stones” is an excellent method of reviving our faith and that of the Pilgrim, and knowing better the cultural, historic and geographic context in which the mysteries in which we believe were born, an occasion for a personal and incarnate encounter with the person of Jesus.

The Christians of the Holy Land are the direct descendants of the very first Christian community and “the collective living memory of the history of Jesus”. The visit to the Holy Places, duly prepared and guided by reading the Word of God, and the encounter with the community can strengthen believers of little faith and enable the rebirth of the faith in those in whom it has died.

In this time, in which the Holy Places are at times offended and assaulted, the presence of pilgrims is a true testimony to faith and communion with our Church of the Calvary. We need you, your prayers and your solidarity! There, where the Apostles called to Jesus, “Increase our faith” (Lk 17:5), come, you too, dear brother Bishops, with your priests, seminarians and communities, and ask the Lord for the faith and the peace that is missing.I consider it an urgent necessity that our faith be a lifestyle that brings us closer to others. We must change a certain negative mentality that regards faith as belonging to a sociological faction leading to militance and violence. True faith helps us to feel more like the sons of God and therefore to be brothers to others, even at the cost of the cross and of bloodshed.

The new evangelization, in order to be modern and effective, must start from Jerusalem: it must begin from the first Christian community anchored to the person of Christ, having a cause for which it is willing to face any sacrifice and to give the gift of life itself.
Our community lives as a minority among believers of other faiths. Circumstances have pushed these to close in on themselves, to defend themselves, sensitive to their own rights and attentive to their locations and their rites. Introverted and fearful communities. For many the faith is a hereditary and social fact, when instead it should be more personal and committed. It is not about survival, but about breaking through and communicating.