Endless Calvary for Gaza’s Christian community

Gaza's Christian community

The situation for Gaza’s Christian community is “worsening hour by hour”.

It’s extremely serious says the Palestinian city’s only Catholic priest, Father Gabriel Romanelli (pictured).

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reports agree.

“Our people are constantly suffering. Every time both sides talk about a truce, the intensity of military operations increases” reports an ACN partner (who has aked for anonymity).

Refuge under fire

For the past fortnight Gaza’s Holy Family parish has suffered intense military clashes and shelling.

The displaced Christian community has been living within the parish compound since the conflict began.

The 512-strong mainly Catholic and Orthodox group has “been living a Calvary without respite for months” Romanelli says.

“The other day my vicar, who is inside Gaza, told me “You can’t imagine the pain we are feeling and the desperation of the people”.

Yet they “still have faith and hope in the essential – in Jesus Christ”.

Praying and caring for one another are two constants in the besieged Christian community.

There’s daily Mass, catechesis sessions and the rosary. There are activities for children and meetings for trauma healing through prayer.

Basics lacking

Clean water and food are at a premium, ACN’s partner says.

Dirty water is used for toilets and sanitary units, and water is being purified using traditional methods.

Food is “very, very limited” and the problem has nothing to do with the availability of cash.

“It is simply that food is scarce, and it is difficult to find anywhere to buy it.”

Internationally-provided humanitarian aid didn’t arrive in the parish.

“However, some faithful managed to find flour and the bakery started producing bread again … a great blessing for our displaced people” Romanelli says.

Many charities are trying to help.

The Latin Patriarchate is able to provide everyone with two meals a week and a loaf of bread every two days.

On other days, Gaza’s Christian community has to eke out their supplies or forage for themselves.

People walk for long hours to get a small box of food, which in the end is not enough for three people.

“Sharing is part of daily life and their new Christian identity” ACN’s project partner says.


Poor sanitation is another concern.

Children have a virus causing nausea and diarrhoea. Four elderly people are seriously ill and need hospitalisation – an impossibility at present.

The war has created an “objectively intolerable situation” says Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch.

“We have always had many problems of all kinds, even the economic-financial situation has always been very fragile, but the famine has never been there.

“Everyone – religious, political and social communities – they must do everything possible to break this situation.”


Faith is something that encourages Gaza’s Christian community, says ACN’s project partner.

“With God’s grace, our children are now even closer to their faith than ever before. It is a very special Easter, we are closer than ever to the crucified Saviour.

“Pray for us, pray for the whole population, that this war might end.”



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