On Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7, 2013, twenty families, representing the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel, met in Tiberias to continue their deliberations on family life and the transmission of our faith to our children.

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Families representing all the Hebrew speaking Catholic kehillot gathered at Casa Nova in Tiberias, alongside the Saint Peter parish church. Here they were once again warmly welcomed by the community that animates the place, Koinonia John the Baptist. This time three families that had not participated in the past joined the group.

Friday evening was consecrated to an initial introduction to the weekend. The adults met with Father David, Vicar of the Hebrew speaking communities, whilst the children began a weekend of activities animated by Claudia, Kirill and Father Apolinary, assisted by eight members of the Desert Flower youth group. After dinner, some watched a movie while others went out to stroll on the beautiful Tiberias promenade, along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Discussions began in earnest on Saturday morning. After morning prayer and breakfast, Father David launched the first part of the day for the parents, three talks on holiness. Father David gave the first talk on a general introduction to holiness in the Bible and then proceeded to introduce the new children’s catechism book, “Get to Know the History of Salvation”. The second speaker, Alina from the Jerusalem community, described a 19th century Italian saint, Maria Crocifissa di Rosa from Brescia. The last talk was given by Marian from the Beer Sheba community who spoke on the life of Saint Rita of Cascia and her message for today.

The afternoon session was consecrated to an in depth discussion of the questions addressed to the faithful by Rome in preparation for the next year’s Synod of Bishops on the family. The questions provoked a long, lively and intense discussion about family life in the context of the Hebrew speaking Church in Israel in the midst of Israeli secular society.

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While the adults pursued their program, the children played, worked and deepened their friendship. Most of them had spent three days together in the Hannuka camp earlier in the week. They prepared a small gift for their parents as well as a gift for the elderly who are residents of the Gertrude Luckner Parents’ Home in Nahariya.

At the end of the day, the families expressed their gratitude for the time together and a new date was fixed for the next meeting in April.

The weekend ended with a joyful mass in the church, filled to capacity this Saturday evening during which the celebration was of the second Sunday of Advent. The mass was celebrated by Father David together with Fathers Apolinary, Giuseppe and Sergey, assisted by Deacon Giacomo.

This was a wonderful way to continue Advent together as we seek to grow in holiness as disciples of Christ.