Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Cologne in Germany, visited the Catholic communities in Tel Aviv and Beer Sheba on February 8 and 9, 2017.

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Cardinal Woelki has come to Israel in order to rededicate the Benedictine monastery in Tabgha, which was badly damaged by an arson attack. During his time in Israel, he also visited two communities that have been supported by the generosity of the Cologne Archdiocese.

On Wednesday, February 8, arriving straight from the airport, the Cardinal visited the Our Lady Woman of Valor Pastoral Center in Tel Aviv. Father David, Latin Patriarchal Vicar, visited the Pastoral Center, Saint Joseph’s House and the day care centers with the Cardinal and his delegation. Father David, explaining the Church’s work with migrant workers and asylum seekers, also took the Cardinal on a walk around the neighborhood so that he would have an impression of the milieu in which the Pastoral Center functions. A delicious dinner was prepared by the Filipino community.

The following day, on Thursday, February 9, the Cardinal and his delegation visited the Hebrew speaking parish in the city of Beer Sheba. There the Cardinal was welcomed by Father David and the parish priest, Father Piotr Zelasko. The parish in Beer Sheba has been supported by the Archdiocese of Cologne since its foundation. Fathers David and Piotr explained to the Cardinal the context in which the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities work, the challenges, achievement and dreams of the Saint James Vicariate. The Cardinal then celebrated the daily mass in the chapel and was joined by a number of the Beer Sheba faithful. After mass, a sumptuous dinner was served, prepared by the members of the parish, with the usual diversity of delicacies that reflects the great diversity of the parish.

We are very grateful to the Cardinal and his diocese for their generosity. The Cardinal was accompanied by three Germans who have played a central role is supporting the Vicariate and the Coordination for the Pastoral Among Migrants: Dr. Solzbacher, from the Cologne Archdiocese, and Mr. Thiel and Mr. Immlingshaus from the German Association of the Holy Land.

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