For a third time, the families from the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel met together for a weekend in order to discuss the question of the education of our children. This time the weekend began with a visit to Nazareth and then continued in Tiberias on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Taking advantage of the Purim holidays, more than twenty families from the various Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Beer Sheba, Haifa, Nazareth and Tiberias, gathered to spend Friday and Saturday together.

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The weekend began in Nazareth on Friday morning. The families gathered in the parking lot of a local mall and then went on foot to the newly opened International Mary of Nazareth Center. There, they were warmly welcomed by the Chemin Neuf community that animates the Center. After a few words of explanation, the families were invited to the audio-visual presentation that takes the viewer through the history of salvation, from the creation of the world until the Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The life of Mary is presented as an important turning point in this long history. The multi media presentation, combining images both traditional and modern and an inspiring sound track captivated the audience made up of adults and children of all ages. The presentation takes an hour and involves passing through four beautifully designed halls. (see site of Center here)

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After the presentation, the families were invited to celebrate mass in the magnificent chapel in the museum. Fathers David, Apolinary and Roman concelebrated and the focus was the Lenten season and the Holy Family as a model. After mass, the families broke out their picnics and lunch was shared in the cafeteria.

After lunch, the group made its way to the Basilica of the Annunciation for a quick pilgrimage. For some of the children it was their first time to pray in this important holy site.

In the mid afternoon, the group made its way to Tiberias, where once again they were warmly welcomed by the members of the Koinonia John the Baptist community, who administer the parish in Tiberias and run the Casa Nova guest house. After a short meeting of introduction, dinner was served and after dinner many remained in the dining room to watch a beautiful Walt Disney movie together, "Happy Feet".

Saturday was dedicated to the continued discussion on the education and formation of our children. The parents split up into three groups according to the ages of their children:

- parents of children who are pre school, who began their discussion with the question: "What are your fears and concerns as your children enter the school system?"

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- parents of children in school, who began their discussion with the question: "What do your children hear in school, in the street and elsewhere about Christianity and Christians and how do you respond?"

- parents of children who are about to finish school or have finished school and are going to army service or studies, who began their discussion with the question: "How do we prepare our children for army service or studies, far from home and from parental control?"

After lunch, the parents all met together and shared their conversations and a number of important practical issues were raised about what the Vicariate can do to support the parents and the children. After the discussion, father David presented the plan for a fourth catechism book, "Get to Know the Mass".

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Parallel to the discussions of the parents, Benedetto together with a few members of the youth group, "Desert Flower" and with Sinead and Lioba from Koinonia took care of the children, who did hand crafts, went on a walking tour and played together.

The wonderful time together ended with a wonderful mass. All prayed for peace as news filtered in about the situation in the south. We prayed for one of our young men who will begin his army service on Tuesday. Especially, we gave thanks for this time together and we look forward to the next meeting, next Advent.