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Easter permits for Jerusalem given out freely in Gaza

GAZA (SE): For the first time, the Church made a mass application to the Israeli authorities for Catholics to cross from Gaza to take part in the Easter ceremonies in Jerusalem.

The Orthodox Churches have been doing it in the past, but report that not everyone who applies is successful.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem reported on March 23 that only one day was open for applications to be made and 890 Catholic people put their names on the list, including some under 35, who are normally not considered for a pass.

Father Mario de Silva, the parish priest of Gaza, explained, “We had only one day to send our applications. On that day, February 20, 890 people showed up to register on the list of permit requests. Among them, there were many young people, who didn’t have much hope. We worked the whole day with some 10 persons to prepare all necessary documents.”

He added, “We had no idea of the number of permits which would be granted. To our astonishment we learned a few days ago that 822 people had been approved, 25 others were added later. Altogether 95 per cent of applicants. The most impressive thing was that the majority of young Christians got the permit. Some of them had not left Gaza for eight years. We praise the Lord for this grace.”

 

They were issued with 45-day permits.

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