In preparation for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Israel, the country’s Catholic schools are preparing 500 hours of classes to explain the Pope, the history of the Catholic Church and the Vatican to their students.
Father Ibrahim Faltas, a parish priest in Jerusalem who is an assistant in the Catholic school system, told Italian bishops’ news agency SIR that the lessons are aimed at Catholic school students, many of whom are Muslim.
There are 44 Catholic schools attended by 24,000 students in Israel, where the Melkite Greek Catholic Church constitutes the largest church at 60,000 faithful.
Fr. Elias Daw, president of the court of appeal of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, said the initiative shows Israelis’ expectations for the papal visit.
“This journey comes in a delicate moment, after the tragedy of Gaza, the recent attacks against the symbols of our religion on an Israeli TV channel and the declarations made by Holocaust-denying Bishop Williamson,” he told SIR. “Christians in the Holy Land need the Pope and his voice of truth and justice now more than ever.”