Pope in the Holy Land: The way the wind blows

Kite-flying near the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Photo: Laura Sheahen/CRS

Kite-flying near the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Photo: Laura Sheahen/CRS

Laura Sheahen, Regional Information Officer for Catholic Relief Services/Middle East, is in the Holy Land this week for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit. Here she blogs about Sunday May 10, the day before the pope arrived in Jerusalem. Catholic Relief Services is a Caritas member based in the USA.

Sunday was a pretty good day for kite-flying in Jerusalem, but not perfect. Clear blue skies and a decent wind, but something contrary in it wouldn’t always cooperate. Outside the walls of the Old City, the kids would hold their kites high, test the wind, jump up, and hope for the best. About half the time the kites made it, and when they did, they soared gloriously over the walls.

Everyone here is testing the wind, too, wondering if and how Pope Benedict’s visit will change things in the Holy Land. Some Christians, focusing on the pope’s pilgrimage instead of political issues, are just glad he’s here to share in their faith lives. “It’s wonderful to be where Jesus performed his miracles,” said my cab driver, a self-described evangelical Orthodox Christian. Other people here—Jewish, Muslim, Christian—aren’t sure they’ll be heard when they speak of their pain: the family members they’ve lost, the sacrifices they’ve made, the wounds they carry because they live here.

Peace means something different to everyone here, but everyone still wants it. The pope will hear pleas for safety, for work, for freedom, for a future. Everyone will be holding their breath, seeing if a peace process that has been stalled so often might take off again. Seeing if peace will fly.

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Filed under Advocacy, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies in the Palestine, Jerusalem, Middle East & North Africa, Peacebuilding

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