THANKS TO ALAN LONERGAN FOR PASSING THIS ON.
|Jeunes Palestiniens en Chemin|
WORLD PRAYER FOR GAZA, 20 DECEMBER 2009
Father Manuel Musallam, born in Bir Zeit, was a priest for 14 years in Gaza, during which he had no permission to leave. Last May, he retired, tired, exhausted by what he has endured alongside his people, trying to support and assist with all his strength, regardless of their political, religious or ideological backgrounds.
The world has hardly listened to his cries for help.
His warnings against political manipulation and the danger of extremism were not taken into account by the world. It is in Gaza that he has left his friends and they all cried at his farewell, Muslims and Christians. They were able to see him not only as a priest but as a builder of peace, who was not discouraged when the bricks of this building for peace collapsed under the bombardments.
He retired in Bir Zeit, not far from Ramallah: a retreat from his pastoral duties but certainly not his commitment. He is mandated by the Palestinian Authority and supported by the Holy Seat to organize and lead the Muslim-Christian Commission and the Department of Christians in the world.
His Muslim friends have often told him that it was through him that they have discovered Christianity. It is therefore natural that the call to the global prayer in commemoration of the attack against Gaza comes from him, former director of two major schools in Gaza.
The lay-out of that day was refined in September, when we met. The sad anniversary will be December 27 but in order to collect and educate as many friends as possible, we chose December 20, the day the Patriarch of Jerusalem the Archbishop Fuad Twal planned to give the Christmas Mass in Gaza, a week before that of Bethlehem. There will be a communion around the world with these people whom the media tell us little. These people continue to suffer in the enclosure without a way out, physically and mentally, and with little glimmer of hope or expectation.
This prayer is written in Arabic by Manuel Abuna. The prayer is translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, Slovenian; it will be read out aloud in churches and temples on almost every continent.
Abuna Manuel does not want the prayer to intervene in the liturgy planned for this 4th Sunday of Advent. However, he would be happy if our voices would be united, believers or not, in a large call for Peace and Justice.
In September, he also shared his hope and desire to organize a collection on that day, called “a chocolate for a child in Gaza”. Unfortunately lack of time has prevented this plan to be executed as yet. But we remain hopeful of being able to arrange this another time, as we continue our close collaboration.
We invite you to share this day with all those who are appalled by the unjust and useless suffering of the people in Gaza
Duša Zgonec, President of the association Jeunes Palestiniens en Chemin
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
to share in a prayer for Gaza Strip
To commemorate the last war on it
Let us pray for all who suffer in Gaza Strip
for those who are deprived and oppressed
for all who are sick and handicapped
for those in darkness, in doubt and in despair,
in loneliness and fear
for the victims of false accusations and violence
for all at the point of death and those who watch beside them
that God in his mercy will sustain them with the knowledge of
his love. Lord, hear us.
All Lord, graciously hear us.
To commemorate the last war against Gaza
I will give free course to my complaint.
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.(Job 10: 1)
God our Lord,
On Christmas, a year ago,
Our calamity overtook us like a storm.
Our disaster came on, like a whirlwind. (Proverbs 1: 27)
That day was a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness.( Zephaniah 1: 15)
We hunger and thirst.
To our children weeping we haven’t found any bread to give them or any water to quench their thirst or to let them suckle for milk. We tried vainly to find the food of animals to satisfy our need. Our animals and birds expired from penury.
Windows and doors of our houses were blown out by the noise of bombardment and we languished too much from a frozen December and winter. Our cold bodies from fear, thirst and hunger were not able to warm a child snuggled to us.
Innocents died, mainly children and women. We went outside to the streets and cemeteries under heavy shelling, weeping and crying, begging for mercy, consolation and protection.
An apathetic world was neglecting our bitterness and keeping a strange silence towards us. Tanks and bombs were smashing us and we were deeply humiliated
A year later we are still suffering the same hunger, thirst, siege, deprivation, humiliation and fear. More than 12000 families whose parents were kidnapped and jailed in the Israeli prisons are deprived for decades from affection and love.
Between slavery and death there really is no choice and if death is forced upon us we’ll have courage in our hearts to die honest, brave and strong.
Lord, enable us to hear the cries of the victims of conflicts, especially arising today from Gaza.
Forgive our deafness; open our ears and our hearts to the anguish and distress of our neighbors.
And we join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
But you God, in whom we trust, don’t withhold your tender mercies from us. Do not stand far off. Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10: 1)
Lord Jesus when you passed by Gaza, escaping the threat of Herod we protected you. We fed you. We warmed your slender body. Please, come back to Gaza to help us, giving the Peace you promised. Don’t forget your people: 200 Catholics, 3500 Orthodox, 30 Baptists, 10 Anglicans and one million and half Muslims.
Have mercy on us, God. Give us Peace based on Justice. Let us rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; (Romans 12: 12 )
Comfort us in our entire affliction that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Lord, even we thirst for Peace and hunger for Justice,” who shall separate us from your love? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:36).
We are yours. Save us
Lord of peace, rain peace upon us
Lord of peace grant peace to our land
Have mercy lord on all of your people
But don’t leave us lord in enmity forever
Father Manuel Musallam
November 5, 2009