Welcome to the web site of the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics in Israel, a part of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Our Vicariate gathers the Hebrew-speaking Catholics who live in Israel, those belonging to the Jewish people together with those coming from the nations, including a growing number of local Christians and migrants. We form one community in Jesus Christ and we belong to one Church. We are in union with Pope Francis and also at home in Israeli Jewish, Hebrew speaking society.
Who are we?
The Association of Saint James was founded in 1955 as a Catholic association dedicated to developing Hebrew-speaking Catholic communities in the State of Israel. Saint James was the head of the Jerusalem community of believers in Jesus at the time of the apostles. A pious Jew, he worked to establish a community made up of Jews and non-Jews, united in their common faith in Jesus as the Messiah (see the Book of Acts, chapter 15).
The Association of Saint James constitutes an autonomous Vicariate within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Today, Hebrew speaking communities are active in the six major Israeli cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Beer Sheba, Tiberias and Nazareth. The Vicariate includes communities of Russian speaking faithful too. The priests and faithful of the Vicariate work closely with the Coordination of the Pastoral for Migrants in Israel, ensuring the pastoral and catechetical service of the large Roman Catholic migrant communities spread throughout the country.
Three main challenges face the Hebrew-speaking Vicariate:
1. Transmission of the faith: The Vicariate nurtures Hebrew-speaking Catholic communities in the State of Israel for Catholic believers who are Jewish or non-Jewish residents integrated into Israeli, Hebrew speaking Jewish society. Constituting a Catholic minority within a society that has a Jewish majority is a new experience in the history of the Church.
2. Serving as a bridge between the Universal Church and the people of Israel: The Vicariate works to strengthen the relationship between Jews and Christians, sharpening the Church’s awareness of its Jewish roots and the Jewish identity of Jesus and the apostles. The Vicariate seeks to sharpen the awareness of Jews in Israel with regard to the history, teaching and contribution of the Church to society. Our faithful are engaged fully in the life of Israeli Jewish society and in the life of the Catholic Church.
3. Bearing witness to justice and peace, serving the poor: As an integral part of the Church in the Holy Land, the Vicariate promotes the values of peace and justice, pardon and reconciliation within a context of violence and war. The Vicariate has a special mission to the tens of thousands of Catholic migrants (migrant workers and refugees) who reside in Israel, in Hebrew speaking Jewish society.
The Vicariate sponsors priests, seminarians and pastoral assistants to assure the continuation of its work.
It maintains a presence in various locations in Israel and must develop this presence by building and maintaining the necessary facilities – churches and community centers.
It publishes liturgical books, catechetical books, news sheets and other Christian material in Hebrew.
It has a developing educational mission both within the Church and within Jewish society in Israel in order to cultivate and nurture reconciliation and understanding between the Church and the Jewish people.
It provides a home away from home for many migrant children, whose parents work long hours, assuring their wellbeing and their religious formation in after school programs and all year around religious camps.
It provides a Catholic formation for young Hebrew-speaking members, encouraging them to find their place within Israeli society and within the Church.
It helps in caring for the poor and elderly of our communities.