Home News Gaza parish priest returns home after seven months

Gaza parish priest returns home after seven months

Fr. Gabriel Romanelli, the parish priest of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza City, took the chance to return to his parish after more than seven months. 

His return coincided with the visit of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, from May 16 to May 19, according to Vatican News. 

Fr. Romanelli, a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), had been unable to return to Gaza since October 7, 2023, due to the massive military operations of Israel.

His planned return was delayed by a day, which prevented his return as conflict erupted. During his absence, Gaza was hit hard by the conflict, resulting in significant loss of life and a humanitarian crisis. 

“The situation is paradoxical; there is serenity among many of our parishioners,” he told Vatican News. “Despite the suffering, they remain serene and place themselves in the hands of the Lord.”

Fr. Romanelli was accompanied by Fr. Carlos Ferrero, also from IVE, and a nun from their religious order, emphasizing the collective effort to support the community. 

The Holy Family parish now serves as a refuge for 500 Christians and extends help to neighboring Muslims.

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This commitment has received continual support from Pope Francis, who, according to Fr. Romanelli, “calls every day to give us words of comfort and his blessing.”

“I pray that peace may reign over Palestine, over Israel, and that the Lord may grant the necessary ceasefire, even though it seems impossible, as a first step towards justice and peace,” he said. 

He also hoped for the delivery of humanitarian aid, the release of hostages and those deprived of freedom, and medical treatment for the injured.

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