It’s not usual to hear good news from the Middle East, frequently it is reported about war, tensions, chemical weapons, and worse. However, this time we can report a real, not fake, and great initiative: the opening of the new Shalom Evangelization Center in the Holy Land at the heart of Haifa, one of the oldest and largest high-tech parks in Israel. Maybe some could argue why this event would be something good for that land, if it cannot stop the conflicts. However, this new place can be a powerful seed of peace since it will be a place for praying, welcoming and sharing.
Last Sunday, missionaries of Shalom Covenant and Life Community, prayer group participants and people from others cities such as Nazareth and Shefa-‘Amr were present for the blessing of the new Center by Msgr George Baqouni the Melkite bishop of Haifa. While the bishop was entering and blessing each room the joyful crowd was following him with prayer and songs.
Shalom Catholic Community has been present in Haifa for more than 15 years and more than 100 members attend its activities such as Holy Masses, Life in the Spirit Seminars, spiritual courses and prayer groups in Arabic and Hebrew where they follow the Way of Peace (the Shalom spiritual itinerary) which aims to form people from their initial experience with Jesus, to a matured faith, holiness and the radical witness of the Gospel.
Marcelo Davi is a Shalom Life missionary from Brazil who is in charge of the Community in the city, he explained that the space is intended to be a sign of peace and reconciliation in the land of Jesus: “The Carmelite brothers introduced us to this house and we feel that it would be a good place for us to develop our service with young people and families. The Center is located in a very busy region full of young people, and with that we expect to welcome many hearts thirsty for peace and we intend to provide for them a new experience with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.“
Michael Mazzawi, a young Arab from Haifa who had an experience with God through the Shalom charisma, who is currently having a vocational experience as a missionary in Brazil in Natal / RN, said:
“After I started attending the Community I discovered true love, a gracious love through which Jesus changed me from the inside out, changing my view of the whole world.”
Near the city of Haifa, the Shalom Catholic Community is also present in Nazareth, where the missionaries were responsible for the liturgical worship in the Basilica of the Annunciation, one of the world’s largest pilgrimage centers.