September 13, 2009

Dear Friends,

We will gather together for our Badaliya Prayer on Sunday September 13, 2009 at 3pm at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge in the small chapel located in the Parish Center. Please join us in person or in spirit as we pray for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and especially in the Holy Land.

In Louis Massignon's discussion of Blessed Charles de Foucauld's prayer movement called the Union Sodalité, he describes what he understood as the essentials of the Union of prayer found in Foucauld's Directory and Statutes. Massignon called Foucauld's writings, "simple advice for souls of good will". At the center of Foucauld's advice was to pray the silent prayer of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament often in order to center one's life in the words of Jesus in the Scriptures and so that "our actions become the actions of Jesus acting in and through us".This inspiration was later incorporated into the Badaliya prayer movement by Massignon who began every gathering with the prayer of Adoration and included this suggestion in his own Statutes written for the members of the Badaliya. (Louis Massignon "Ecrits Mémorables",I Editions Robert Laffont, S.A. Paris 2009.p.102)

We have an opportunity this year to honor both of these witnesses for Christ
by being able to light a Peace Dove Lamp from Taybeh, Palestine every First Friday for Adoration at St. Paul's.. A special Mass will open our first gathering of Badaliya after the summer break. The Presider will be Rev. Michael Drea, Pastor of St. Paul's. He will bless the Peace Dove Lamp that members of St. Paul's purchased in Taybeh, Palestine during their pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May. Along with those in the area who shared our pilgrimage journey, invited guests include Rev. Leonard Tighe who led our daily liturgies in the Holy Land and will con-celebrate this liturgy, and Taras Leschishin, Music Director at St. Brendan's Church and professor of voice at Bridgewater State College.Taras will lead us in song as he did on our pilgrimage.

Taybeh is the oldest, and only, Christian Palestinian village, in the Palestinian territories. It is located inside the occupied territories of the West Bank, 30 kilometres north-east of Jerusalem, and 60 kilometres from Amman in Jordan. The village has an overall population of around 1300 inhabitants, all christian,from the Latin, Orthodox and Greek Catholic rites. Located on one of the highest places in the country above the Jordan valley, it is situated at the boundary between Samaria and Judea and you can spot its square houses, its 3 Church towers and the ruins of the Boniface de Montferrat's crusader castle from the distance.

The site is mentioned in the Bible. Tradition, confirmed by recent research, identifies Taybeh as the biblical Ofrah (Efron or Efraim). However the word "Ofrah" did not sound good in Arabic since "afrit" means: "demon" in Arabic therefore, under the reign of Salah El-Din, the name was changed into the more reassuring "Taybeh", which means, "Good name".

    Thirty years ago there were 3400 inhabitants of the village. Now only 1500 remain due to the on going conflict and difficulty in creating a future for the young people from the village. The Peace Lamp initiative is one response to the problem of employment but it also is a prayer for Peace in this land. "When you light our lamps, you are joining believers throughout the world in their prayer for peace in the Holy Land" the Rev. Raed Abusahlia, Parish Priest of Christ the Redeemer Church in Taybeh writes.

"Launched in Taybeh in 2004, this initiative all started from the following analysis: In the terrible conflict that harms the Holy Land, Israelis and Palestinians have tried all possible means of action to put an end to it, using both violence and non-violence, but with little success. As our last resort, we address a prayer for Peace in the Holy Land to our Lord with a simple and symbolic idea: unite over 100 000 churches, through our lamps, in a common prayer for peace in the Holy Land.Thus, the lamp, together with the oil and the light, becomes a message of peace from our side and a sign of solidarity towards the Holy Land from the churches all around the world:

- Whilst uniting all Christians and people of faith around the world in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land, this initiative is also a major information tool on the living conditions the Christian communities face in the Holy Land, due to the conflict.

- This initiative also helps the Christian communities in the Holy Land to fight unemployment. These lamps are produced in Taybeh's new ceramic workshop, and provide jobs to 20 young men and women who now earn a decent salary and can live with their families in dignity on the land they cherish.

- Finally, this initiative provides a needed marketing opportunity for the olive oil produced in the Holy Land

The "Lamps for Peace in the Holy Land" initiative was officially launched on November 16th 2004, in a ceremony during which it received the blessing of the Cardinal of Florence, H.E Ennio Antonelli as well as the one of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, H.B. Michel Sabbah.

Our hope can be summed up like this: With 100,000 churches united in a prayer for Peace in the Holy Land, the Lord will hear his congregation. He won't have the choice"!!

P. Raed Abusahlia, Parish Priest of Taybeh

The Peace Lamp at St. Paul's will be lit every First Friday for the day long prayer of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Prayer cards that will be available in the church include the following prayer from Taybeh, Palestine.

Please join us in this prayer for Peace.
Peace to you,


When you light our lamps you join with believers throughout the entire world in their prayers for peace in the Holy Land.

" Blest are the peacemakers; they will be called sons [and daughters] of God".( Matthew 5:9)
Lord, help us to be makers of peace for the Holy Land.

‘ May he who is the Lord of peace give you continued peace in every possible way". (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Lord, give your way of peace to this Holy Land.

" It is he who is our peace, and who made two peoples one by breaking down the barrier of hostility that kept us apart".(Ephesians 2:14)
Lord, be our peace and destroy the wall of separation that divides the Holy Land.

" I am the light of the world". (John 8:12)
Lord, help us to be lights for the Holy Land.

" He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again". (Isaiah 2:4)
Lord, accomplish this promise in the Holy Land now.

" But Esau ran to meet Jacob, embraced him, and flionging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept". (Genesis 33:4
Lord, help the inhabitants of the Holy Land to follow the example of Jacob and Esau and be reconciled with one another.

" Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path". (Psalms 119:105)
Lord, when we light this lamp, let your Spirit enter into hearts in the Holy Land, and let it be a lamp for their feet and a light to their path.

" Peace is my farewell to you; my peace is my gift to you". (John 14:27)
Lord, we thank you for your Peace and we accept it for the Holy Land. Amen!