Saja reports on the weekend, January 13 and 14, 2017, during which the members of the youth group “Desert Flower” participated in the World Migrants’ Day in Tel Aviv and Jaffa.

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On Friday, January 13, we met in Jaffa, at the Monastery of Saint Peter. We began the meeting with a short talk by Father Apolinary.

From there, we walked together to the Our Lady Woman of Valor Pastoral Center in south Tel Aviv, a center that has many activities for migrant and asylum seekers, among these activities the center also administers day care for almost sixty infants. A mass was celebrated at the center to celebrate a special Filipino tradition of the “Santo Nino” (the Holy Infant), which is meant to remind us in the period after Christmas that each one of us is invited to become like a small child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. After mass, we were invited to a sumptuous meal, prepared by the women at the center, and after that Father David assembled us as well as the youth from the group animated by Katrin at the center in order to explain to us about the migrant and asylum seeker populations and the difficult circumstances in which they live. In addition, he explained what the activities in the center are as well as those in Jerusalem for the migrants and the work that is done with both children and youth.

Afterwards, we returned to the monastery in Jaffa and Benny animated night prayer before we went to bed.

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The next morning, we participated in the solemn mass in Saint Anthony Church on the occasion of World Migrants’ Day. Many different groups participated, coming from all over the country. The mass was very moving with the participation of different choirs from the various migrant communities. At the end of the mass, there was a cultural program with dances and songs according to the traditions of the communities of migrants. Lunch was served by the Indian community and the food was delicious.

We returned to the monastery and there Father Piotr gave us a lesson on the portion of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew about the healing of the crippled man. The exercise he gave us to do was that each one received a piece of paper with a stretcher on it and was asked to name the four people who carry him or her when wounded, hurt, people who can be counted on to give support. After this, we had a concluding meeting with Daniel before setting off for home.