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The old city of Jerusalem may seem like a great place to visit or make a pilgrimage to, but it actually comes with its share of social problems, according to Carl Hétu.

“There’s a lot of poverty, a lot of school dropouts, a lot of drugs, alcohol, violence and theft within the old city,” said Hétu, the Canadian national director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, an organization that helps support the pastoral mission and institutions of the Catholic Church in the Mideast.

Published in Canada

JERUSALEM - With Easter in full swing, it can be a daunting task to find a quiet moment of contemplation at any of Jerusalem's holy sites, but it is especially so at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Throngs of pilgrim groups and tourists with cameras pack the church, posing for photos at the spots where Jesus was crucified or laid in the tomb. Some place souvenirs on the sacred sites for a blessing.

But at the Stone of Unction, which commemorates the anointing of Jesus before burial, some faithful find the noise from other visitors fades away. The smell of rose water with which the stone is periodically bathed permeates the immediate vicinity.

Published in Features

JERUSALEM - Religious leaders in Jerusalem urged peoples of all denominations to take their faith-based commitment to the stewardship of God's creation to the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil June 20-22.

"We need to bring an invitation for all religious leaders from all faiths" to speak publicly, with determination, "so that we turn religion into a part of the solution rather than ... risking more and more becoming part of the problem," Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa told Catholic News Service at the March 19 Interfaith Climate and Energy Conference coordinated by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.

Published in International

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- At the entrance to St. Saviour Church, Aloysious Leone and women in traditional Indian dress gathered around Trivandrum Archbishop Mari Soosa Pakiam to ask his blessing and kiss his ring.

Leone, 36, a Catholic from southern India, was among about 150 Indian Catholics who braved rain and freezing temperatures to attend a Mass of thanksgiving with church leaders from their country at Jerusalem's St. Saviour Church.

"It is very special to have our cardinals and priests here and be able to attend a Mass with them," he said.

Published in International

WASHINGTON - Peace in the Holy Land will come only when all parties embrace justice and forgiveness and sacrifice for the good of all people, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem said during a program at the United States Institute of Peace.

Patriarch Fouad Twal called for continued prayer so that Jews, Muslims and Christians understand that true peace entails more than talking about who's right and who's wrong.

Published in International
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