Gaza (Agenzia Fides) - The Israeli army's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, concentrated in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, was accompanied by intensified air and naval raids also on Gaza City throughout the night. The small Catholic parish in Gaza, dedicated to the Holy Family, is employed in the humanitarian emergency triggered by the military intervention. Pastor Jorge Hernandez, Argentine missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, has welcomed numerous family groups in the school premises who have fled from their homes situated in the bombed areas, and since this morning is engaged in the search for water and food for the displaced.
"I spoke with the families of the parish" refers to Fides Agency Sister Laudis, a religious of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, currently in Beit Jala after leaving the Gaza Strip, "everyone told me that they did not slept a wink all night because of the bombing. The houses were shaking, the children were crying".
In this dramatic situation, Pope Francis sent a short message to the parish priest and the small Catholic community in Gaza to show his closeness. "I am close to you, to the nuns and the entire Catholic community. I accompany you with my prayers and my closeness. May Jesus bless you and the Blessed Virgin protect you", reads the brief text, published on the website of the Institute of the Incarnate Word. "Yesterday evening", says Sister Laudis to Fides "father Jorge translated the text in Arabic to make it known to all families. Everybody was touched by the message". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 18/07/2014)