The Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, will be visiting the Holy Land from today, Wednesday 11 January 2006, to Thursday 19 January 2006. He will be taking part in a meeting of Catholic Bishops representing countries which have been involved in the history of the Holy Land . The purpose of the visit is to meet with and so support the Churches in the Holy Land itself as they seek to be faithful to two tasks: firstly, never to be silent in the face of injustice and violence, but secondly to do this in such a way that they are always faithful to the reconciliation accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth on that hill in Jerusalem called Calvary.
Archbishop Patrick says of the visit: ‘It is almost certain that a story from the Holy Land will be part of the news bulletins in this country everyday at this time. Great changes are taking place: that Ariel Sharon may no longer be part of the political scene has enormous implications for everyone in the Holy Land . The uncertainties, which seem to surround the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council scheduled for later this month, present a deep cause for concern. The way in which all the issues affecting the whole Middle East are bound up with each other is expressed in the fact that this year we have judged it wise to go, for the first time, to Jordan . I commend the Holy Land to your prayer and indeed in faithfulness to the teaching of the Lord Jesus suggest that prayer will be deepened if it is accompanied by penance.’