Holy Land: Lack of pilgrims doesn’t lessen hope

In the last week, Israel and Palestine have seen a new wave of a pandemic that shows, as yet, no signs of abating. Due to the current situation, this has meant that pilgrimages to the Holy Land have been brought to a standstill.

Speaking to Vatican News’ Federico Piana, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, explains that due to the pandemic, borders remain closed and many pilgrims have been discouraged from traveling due to quarantine restrictions.

He acknowledges that at this difficult time faith in these holy places has been put to the test, as many priests continue to broadcast liturgical celebrations online and meet the faithful through social networks.

But the Archbishop points out that despite the circumstances, the intensity of prayer is not lacking.

“We are in the East and in the East, there is a traditional Church,” he says, “in the beautiful sense of the term – where participation in the liturgy is very heartfelt.”

The virus does not erase prayer

The ability to participate in liturgies is one of the problems brought on by the pandemic. To overcome this, Archbishop Pizzaballa notes that “parish priests have equipped themselves to make concrete alternative forms of prayer, to make visits where possible, to form the heads of families, so that they can bring communion to their families when the priest is unable to go there. Without any doubt, prayer is absolutely a necessary human and spiritual support,” he says.

Read the article in Catholic Outlook (from Vatican News).