Msgr. Shomali has sent us photos of some of the Christians in Gaza celebrating Ash Wednesday in the Holy Family parish where they are sheltering.
Thank you for your continued support for them during the war.
(30th January, 2024) - The following appeal has been issued by Monsignor William Shomali, auxilary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ), to LifeSiteNews' Tim Jackson.
I am sure you are following the tragic news out of Gaza and the humanitarian catastrophe that is developing.
Around 650 members of the 1,000 strong Christian community have taken refuge at our Holy Family complex there which includes the Church, parish halls and facilities, three convents, a school, and the special needs homes run by the Missionaries of Charity sisters where 60 people who are immobile are in residence.
You may have read how their building was attacked late last year, making the job of caring for the disabled even more difficult.
Two Catholic women, a mother and daughter, were also murdered by Israeli snipers in a devastating weekend for Christians in Gaza.
The human stories are incredibly tragic, and I am truly shaken as I personally know many of them from my frequent visits and whom I visited in their homes, shared a meal with them, or simply listened to their challenges! Some are participants in the LPJ job creation program, while others are employees of some of our sister Catholic agencies working in Gaza.
As a result of this tragedy and given the reduced space available at the Greek Orthodox complex, many have relocated to our already filled to capacity complex. We had to locally appeal to our friends in Gaza to provide tents to be set up in the courtyard and playgrounds to accommodate their needs. We are simply overwhelmed, and the means available to us are being depleted quickly and I appeal for help from our friends to alleviate the suffering of their brothers and sisters in Gaza.
While we all know what we need to do when the hostilities end based on several previous war experiences, at the present time, it is impossible to quantify during a time of active war while the destruction and human loss is on the rise.
Below is a partial list of what the great post war needs will be in broad terms:
1. Psychosocial programs for the parish and the schools.
2. Fixing damages that will arise in our immediate institutions:
a. Zeitoun location: Church, parish facilities, school, Missionaries of Charity homes
b. Remal - Holy Family School
c. Al-Shate Refugee camp - Thomas Aquinas Center
3. Fixing damages to homes of Christian families partially / severely destroyed
4. Rental support for maybe 6 months to 1 year for families whose homes were
5. Cash support to families in desperate need to rebuild their lives.
6. Food and hygiene packages to families.
Although our attention is focused on Gaza at the present time, part of our future intervention will have to take into consideration the grave needs developing on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem where the fragmentation of the West Bank and confining people to their immediate area of residence means that jobs in Israel are lost and given the war conditions all jobs in the tourism sector are lost.
Our immediate needs are to sustain those who are under our care during this active war and maintain their dignity. Given the gravity of the needs and after the blessing of His Beatitude Cardinal Pizzaballa, I appeal to you and through you to your generous donors to support us in this time of great need.
Any donation, regardless of its size will be most appreciated.
Any funds received will be fully utilized for the Gaza emergency and will be reported on with full transparency.
Many thanks in advance. You will be blessed abundantly for your generosity.
Monsignor William Hanna Shomali
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem