Christmas: A time for giving

By Steve Atherton, Justice and Peace fieldworker

Every year at the start of Advent, the Justice and Peace Commission organises the sending of Christmas cards to people who need to know that someone cares enough to write to them. Christmas cards can make a big difference to the many people in the world who feel forgotten and abandoned. Sending a card is an easy way to bring hope to the hearts of those who feel this way.
 
The J&P Commission has addresses for three different groups of people:
• Churches in the Holy Land
• Victims of torture
• Groups who work to support the marginalised
 
We have been sending cards to prisoners of conscience for many years, to the Holy Land for the last six, and to support groups for several years. Any of these forgotten groups would be delighted to get a greeting card from you and from others in your parish.  
 
If you post cards directly to parishes in the Holy Land there is a chance that they will be sent back by the authorities. We recommend the system that we have used for the last six years, whereby we send small parcels of cards to Father Imad Twal who will then pass them on to the parishes. His address is:

Fr Imad Twal,
General Administrator
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate – Old City,
P.O.B. 141452
9114101 Jerusalem. 
 
He emphasises three points:
• The cards are very much appreciated.
• You should include an extra card to the parish priest to explain who the cards are from and why they have been sent.
• You should also put your contact details on the card so that people reading the cards know where they have come from.
 
This year’s address lists make it easy to tell which parishes are in the state of Israel and which are in the Palestinian Authority. These lists are available via the diocesan website.
 
Hundreds of copies of the addresses have been posted out already to people across the diocese, but if you would like your own printed copy, contact the J&P office on 0151 522 1080/1081 or by emailing s.atherton@rcaol.co.uk.
 
If you only send cards to one place, we recommend the parish of Our Lady, Woman of Valour in Tel Aviv, Israel. This parish is home to over 1,000 migrant workers and provides schooling for hundreds of children. Father David Neuhaus, the parish priest, calls the Christmas cards "a beautiful act of solidarity". Let us all show that solidarity this Christmas.