Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh killed in Israeli raid in West Bank Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh killed in Israeli raid in West Bank 

Holy Land Coordination annual visit underway

The Holy Land Coordination (HLC) is holding its annual pilgrimage this week. The visit, which normally takes place in January, and which has been suspended for two years due to the pandemic, started on May 21 and will run until May 26.

By Lisa Zengarini

Bishops of the Co-ordination of Bishops' Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land, better known as the Holy Land Coordination (HLC), kicked off  their annual solidarity pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine on 21 May, with a visit to the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina, to offer their personal condolences to the family of Christian Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.

The Al Jazeera veteran reporter was shot dead on 11 May while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.

Bishops’ condolences to family of slain journalist

The HLC delegation, led by English Bishop Declan Lang, joined a ceremony at the “Al-Liqa” Pastoral Centre of the Melkite Patriarchate on Saturday evening.

Shireen’s brother, Anton Abu Akleh, thanked the bishops for their presence and for the closeness of their Churches. He recalled that Shireen was a generous and humble woman, who carried out her work with great professionalism and dedication and reiterated the request for an immediate investigation into her death.

In recent days the Latin Patriarchate joined other Christian leaders in firmly condemning both the killing and the violent intrusion of Israeli police into the funeral procession on 13 May.

For his part, Bishop Lang confirmed the HLC’s closeness to Shireen’s family and invited those present to join in prayer. At the end of the prayer, the bishops also greeted a group of young people from the Beit Hanina Centre.

Supporting local Christian communities

The visit, which will run until 26 May under the theme  “Jerusalem, locus of the soul – A mother who educates and makes us grow”, normally takes place in January, but has been postponed due to the pandemkic . It has been held since 2000 with the aim of supporting the Holy Land’s Christian communities as they experience the political and socio-economic hardships of living in the region.

Prayer, Pilgrimage and Persuasion

The Coordination, made up of bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa, was created in the late 1990s at the invitation of the Holy See. Its action is focused on three “P”s: Prayer, Pilgrimage and Persuasion.

“Prayer” is the framework of the annual meeting, with daily celebration of the Eucharist, often in different rites. The “Pilgrimage” to the local Catholic communities is the most important part of the meeting, in which the bishops sometimes also meet local political leaders.

Finally, “Persuasion” refers to their work after they go back to their respective Countries, namely speaking to their own governments, parliamentarians, Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors and the media about a wide range of issues affecting the lives of Christians in the Holy Land.

24 May 2022, 19:58