Bishops Write to the Way, Neo Catechumenate in Holy Land: By Evans K. Chama, Israel

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Recently, the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land addressed a letter to the Neo Catechumenate Movement in Holy Land.
The bishops first acknowledged and welcomed the presence of the Way. Then they went on to remind, invite and appeal to the Movement to observe certain juridical and pastoral regulations issues as they live their charism in the parishes in which they are.
According to the letter, this was meant to help the movement to be inserted and work within the common Pastoral plan of the bishops in this year that has as its theme: Catechesis and Religious Education in the Parish.
The bishops invited the movement to integrate in the parish life and activities and not to exist as an independent group.
This will help the faithful, identified as a primary responsibility, to grow in faith and be rooted in their parish and their liturgical traditions in which they have been brought up. “In the East we hold on to our liturgy and traditions as it is the liturgy that has greatly contributed to safeguard Christianity in our Land over the long history,” the bishops observed. The rites are a unique mark of the people like an identity card, and not simply a manner of praying among many others. “We therefore ask you” they appealed to the members of the Way, “to be charitable enough to understand and respect this attachment of our faithful to their own liturgies”.
The Eucharist is a sacrament of unity in the parish and not of fraction. The bishops, demanded, especially for parishes of the Eastern rites, that mass be presided by the Parish priest, or in his full agreement in case of the Latin parishes. “Celebrate the Eucharist with the parish and in the manner of the local Church.”
The movement should teach the faithful the love of their liturgical traditions and use its charism at the service of unity.
Finally, the bishops invited the movement to be interested as well in the culture of the people. “We ask you again, to seriously apply yourselves at learning the local language and the culture of the people; it is a sign of respect for them and an instrument of comprehension of their spirit, history and their struggles in the context of the Holy Land.
The Letter was signed by the following Catholic Bishops of both the Latin and Eastern Churches:

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
+ Elias Shakour, Archbishop of the Greek Melkite Catholic of Akko, Haifa,
Nazareth and Galilee
+ George El-Murr, Archibishop, Greek Melkite Catholic of Philadelphia,
Petra and Jordan.
+ Paul Sayyah, Archbishop, Maronite of Haifa.

+ Fouad Twal, Coadjutor Bishop, Latin, Jerusalem.
+ Kamal Bathish, Auxiliary Bishop, Latin, Jerusalem
+ Sélim Sayegh, Patriarchal Vicar. Latin, Jordan.
+ Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar, Latin, for Israel
+ Pierre Melki, Patriarchal Exarque, Syro-Catholic of Jerusalem, Holy Land and Jordan.
+ George Bakar, Patriarchal Exarque, Greek Melkite Catholic of Jerusalem.
Rafael Minassian, Patriarch Exarque, Armenian Catholic of Jerusalem, the Holy Land and Jordan.

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