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Archbishop Pizzaballa leads a prayer service overlooking the walls of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday Archbishop Pizzaballa leads a prayer service overlooking the walls of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 

Archbishop Pizzaballa invites Holy Land Christians to pray ‘in the family'

At Easter, the eyes of the Christian world are traditionally on the holy city of Jerusalem and on the sites of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. But Covid-19 cases, and deaths, are on the rise in the Holy Land and the holy sites are closed to the public.

By Vatican News

Just as in almost every other part of the world, Christians in the Holy Land are invited to participate in Holy Week and Easter liturgies through live streaming.

“It won’t be the same,” Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told Vatican Radio, “but it will be an occasion for families to pray together in a new way,” recuperating a domestic dimension of prayer that has been lost.

Listen to Archbishop Pizzaballa

Archbishop Pizzaballa, who is also the former Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, expressed his sadness that Easter in this most holy place will be “really limited because of the coronavirus that is affecting our societies and communities, both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.”

However, he points out, plans are in place to make sure all the liturgies, “according to our tradition at the Holy Sepulchre and at the Latin Patriarchate” will be provided through live streaming by all the parishes of the diocese.

“On the one hand it will be sad, on the other it will be essential and maybe also very true because in these situations, even if we cannot give life to all our traditions we can still live the mystery of Easter and the mystery of our Salvation,” he says.

What’s more, Pizzaballa continues, “as Bishop I have recommended to all families to start doing something we lost in the past: to pray in the family.”

Echoing Pope Francis’ encouragement on Wednesday to give life to “a great domestic liturgy,” the Archbishop concludes: “If you cannot pray in the community, in the churches, you can pray in the family, and find a new way to celebrate Easter here in the Holy Land.”

09 April 2020, 15:22