Priests and other holy folk

July 21, 2010

One of the things you can’t help but notice as you walk around Jerusalem is the abundance of liturgical dress. Greek Orthodox, Egyptian Optic, cassocks, robes and suits in all shapes and sizes from tiny Korean priests to impressively-girth American priests.

But one of the most commanding I have seen is young Fr. Julian, the curate at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre. Young (by which I mean younger than me!) and slim he is also 2.1 metres tall – not sure what that is in old money – and cuts quite a dash with his Argentinian tan. Unfortunately, he’s also young enough to have not yet learned the art of compromise so when, on Sunday, the kids attend Mass here, only the Catholics will receive communion. Frankly, it’s enough to make you weep sometimes.

Still, that’s a battle for another day. Tonight there are pretzels and a draught Maybe on the table in front of me, there is a lovely cool breeze on the verandah, God is in her heaven, and all is good with the world…


Ready to roll

July 21, 2010


Not a bad view from my room – the New Gate into the Old City of Jerusalem.

It’s off to the Kalandia checkpoint in the morning to try and facilitate the entry into Jerusalem of the kids taking part in  this year’s camp. They are all under 15 years old so, technically, it shouldn’t be a problem but you can never tell.

There are kids from Ramallah, Jenin, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem amongst other places and, for the first part of the camp we’ll be staying at Mason d’ Abraham on the Mount of Olives before heading off to a monastery about 40 minutes outside Jerusalem for the last 3 days. For many of the kids it will be their one and only chance to visit the holy sites in Israel, places they have read or head about in the Gospels that may only be an hour from where they live but to which access will be denied because of their racial heritage.

And the world, and some churches, look on and say nothing…