On Sunday, April 24, 2016, about 250 members of the different Hebrew speaking Catholic kehillot in Israel gathered at Deir Rafat for a community day.

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This year, a number of weeks separated Easter from Jewish Passover and so the kehillot day was celebrated on the 5th Sunday of Easter rather than on Easter Sunday. The day coincided with the second day of Jewish Passover and some members of the kehilla were off work and the children were on Passover holiday.

The celebration marked not only Easter but also the 90th birthday of Brother Yohanan Elihai, who was there to mark the day. Father David, responsible for the Hebrew speaking Catholics in Israel celebrated mass and was joined at the altar by about fifteen priests, almost all the Saint James Vicariate priests and a few others too. His homily focused on the Sunday readings and he described the gathering as a fulfillment of the Scriptures that describe the expansion of the boundaries of the People of God to include the Gentiles, a gathering of believers from every people around the throne of the Lamb.

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Notably present at this celebration was a small group of first year seminarians from the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala, accompanied by Father Samer Madanat. They were warmly welcomed by the assembly.

After the mass, those present spread out picnic lunches and shared their food with those around. After a lunch break, groups were formed for a time of games that brought people closer together. Finally, everyone gathered again to give thanks to God for a glorious celebration!

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