A social-cultural center for young people in Taybeh

TAYBEH – To meet the need for supervised and animated activities for young people and children of the village, a social center will open shortly in the parish of Taybeh.

At the initiative of Father Johnny Abu Khalil, Latin priest of this town, a social center for young people aged 8 to 25 will soon open. In the months that followed his arrival in this last entirely Christian town in Palestine, Father Johnny discovered that there were very few activities available to the youth after school. They spend their time on the streets, smoking and drinking in cars until late at night. The study carried out jointly by the parish priest and the Latin Patriarchate showed that this lack of social and entertainment centers encourage this situation. It should also be noted that the youth face obvious economic problems in Palestine: few employment opportunities, confinement in the territory with very limited financial resources.

So, this Center aims to recreate social links among young people and to give hope for the future. New facilities will be made available in the buildings: a recreation room, a library, a parish garden and a coffee shop. A team will welcome the youth and provide daily activities in the center. Young people can invest their time and offer their services with remuneration, in operating the coffee shop which will be open to everyone. Families will also be welcome in the Center to enjoy the garden in a friendly and healthy atmosphere, a way to ease tensions and promote peace, conducive to the professional integration of the young people.

This project is linked to the Latin Patriarchate and its Project Development Office is seeking financial support for the completion of the new Center where young people can grow and develop in a serene setting. Families can as well experience some inner peace in this place of encounter

Soon a new playground for the children of Aboud!

May 5

ABOUD – On Tuesday,  May 2, 2017, the Pontifical Mission of Jerusalem granted funds to the Latin Patriarchate to launch the renovation of the kindergarten of the parish of Aboud.  An area has been designated for a new playground for the children in a more friendly and secure environment.

The Latin parish of Aboud has a kindergarten that does not have adequate standards of safety and cleanliness. This playground is important for families and especially children, where they can spend an enjoyable time together.  Work on the site will include some demolition and restructuring, with painting of walls and fence, installation of rubber padding under the games area, artificial grass, plastering, concrete protection and maintenance of some existing game equipment, electrical and mechanical work and adding new playing areas for slides, swings, benches tables, etc.

Thanks to the funds granted by the Pontifical Mission, on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at the signing of the contract with Father Iyad Twal, Director of Schools in Palestine, and the efforts of the Latin Patriarchate project office.  The new playground will offer children a place to play and have fun, thus contributing to  their physical and mental well-being.


A new culinary school in Ramallah

RAMALLAH – Al Ahliyyah School in the latin parish of the Holy Family will open a new cooking school in the fall.  This facility is for 16-18 year-olds, and will offer new job opportunities to young people in Palestine. The province of Hainaut in Belgium, has long been associated with the region and has committed to support this project of the Latin Patriarchate Project Development Office.

A future partnership between the gastronomic school and the Province of Hainaut

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Serge Hustache, President of the Provincial College of Hainaut, David Bricoult, Director of the International Cooperation Service and a delegation from various political sectors in the Province of Hainaut came to visit the future cooking school in Ramallah. At the initiative of Father Ibrahim Shomali, director of the Holy Family parish school, this training facility will teach cooking to young high school students who do not have the means. The new school intends to provide a high-class restaurant set in a spacious room adjacent to the school.

Tourists and locals will have the opportunity to enjoy delicious meals cooked by the students. “Here in Ramallah, there is a lack of this type of training. After two years, the students will be able to join Bethlehem University, which also offers culinary classes.” The school which will open in autumn has already obtained the accreditation of the Palestinian government which sees in it a wonderful initiative to highlight the culinary heritage of the region.  Kitchen, restaurant, work plans; majority of the work has already been carried out.  To welcome the new students, Father Shomali expects  more specific materials for the learning kitchen.  

Palestinian cuisine or the taste of living together

If excellent  cuisine is an investment, the new school stands out in its desire to pass on to the young people a Palestinian legacy.  Various options will be considered: in addition to the regular courses given to apprentice cooks, the school will offer  a weekly lesson for all the students of the Holy Family School, from elementary to high school, to raise awareness to the foundations of cooking. “One of the objectives of this training is also to continue to encourage dialogue between Christians and Muslims, one of the pillars of the school,” added Father Shomali. “Many parents are sending their children here for coexistence education, specific to the institution”  In this region, where Christians represent only 2% of the population, the Church plays a major social and educational role.

In the long term, the new school also plans to offer simpler dishes affordable to all students and prepare meals in collaboration with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in order to offer them to the poor. The Province of Hainaut, which supports numerous initiatives in the social field, education and training in Palestine, will be part of the project with the financial support of Wallonia-Brussels International, for the purpose of creating a lasting link between the two regions.  To provide the best education, partnership projects are built to bring in renowned teachers and create exchanges between students.  This partnership should soon see the light of day with the hotel schools of Hainaut. This significant support should give this new facility in Ramallah an international dimension.

Claire Guigou

Photo: © Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem


First Catholic bookstore in Jordan ready to open its doors in the heart of Amman

AMMAN- Since November 2016, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has undertaken work in the parish of St. Joseph in creating the first Catholic bookstore of the Hashemite Kingdom, called “Shabibé Bookstore” or “Youth Bookstore”. Its inauguration is scheduled for May.

A project inspired by Jordanian Young Catholic Students (YCS)

It was during the annual Youth Conference of Jordan Catholic Students (YCS) in 2010 that the idea of a Catholic bookstore germinated. The goal: to meet the needs experienced by young Jordanians to form and deepen the foundations of their faith. The project first emerged in 2011, with the launch of an online bookstore (www.jecjordan.com). In order to awaken even the youngest to the Faith, the YCS also created a DVD collection dedicated to the foundations of the Catholic faith, inspired by the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Given the success of this initiative, the Office of Projects Development of the Latin Patriarchate  decided to develop within the parish of Saint Joseph a physical shop that is also a meeting place for the faithful.

The inauguration scheduled for late May

The bookstore, which will open in May 2017, will offer more than 11,000 titles, including Bibles, lives of saints, and many more theological works. “Today, it is still very difficult to obtain religious books in Jordan. This project meets a vital need for the Catholic community,” says Father Wisam, parish priest of Saint Joseph. For the launching of the store, Father Wisam can count on the dedication of the parish faithful, like Maher, an Iraqi refugee hosted with his family in the parish.

If the main beneficiaries of this project are Catholics, the library wants to be open to everyone, Christian or not. A great initiative that will perhaps appeal to others!

Claire Guigou and Remy Brun