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Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land
Bishop Melczek’s blog: Sunday, September 14, 2014


     Greetings from Jerusalem. On Sunday, the U.S. Bishops' Pilgrimage of Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land separated into three groups to be with various groups of local people.

     Along with five other bishops, I celebrated Mass on this Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross with the parish community of St. Justin Martyr in Nablus, earlier called Shechem in the Bible. St. Justin was born in Nablus and was martyred in 165 A.D. The town is located one and one-half hours by bus from Jerusalem.

    The small parish of 200 Catholics sang and participated vigorously in Arabic. The parish school educates 700 students, of which 600 are Muslims, 70 are Christians, and 30 are Samaritans. From the first grade, children learn Arabic, English, and French.

     In this town of Jacob's Well, Jesus engaged the Samaritan woman at the well. She, in turn, invited the town people to come and listen to this holy man. Today only 770 people of the Samaritan sect remain, and 350 live and worship here at the top of Mount Gerizin. They believe only in the first five books of the Bible and adhere strictly to its teachings.



Bishop Lawyer 

Bishop Dale J. Melczek stands with Israeli attorney Daniel Seidemann at the wall dividing East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank on Sept. 12. Bishop Melczek is among a contingent of 18 U.S. Catholic bishops participating in the USCCB's 2014 Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace.

(photo courtesy of Don Clemmer)

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