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Letters to the Editor

Trip to Holy Land shows trials and threats for Palestinians

The Editor: I read with interest Yvonne A Zarowny’s experience in traveling to the Holy Land (PM, Jan. 21).

I too travelled to the Holy Land in November, not with a tour, but with three companions. We stayed at a lovely convent in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem and were free to arrange our own excursions.

We visited many of the holy sites: Bethleham, Nazareth, the Jordan, Masada, and others too numerous to mention. While I was totally surrounded and uplifted by the spiritual feeling of the area and the diversity — Christians, Muslims and Jews all sharing the same city — I also came away very sad with what I had witnessed of the unending trials and threats the Palestinians have to endure.

One example was a tour to Hebron in the West Bank and surrounding area. I was appalled to witness the oppression and injustices, illegal Israeli settlements, a check point outside their major mosque (Abraham Mosque) and armed Israeli homeowners. We saw wire mesh over the outdoor markets for protection from garbage thrown into the market by residents of Israeli highrise buildings.

We were struck by the hospitality of the Palestinians and at no time did I feel uncomfortable on our tour. People we met asked that we go back home and share what we had seen.

The oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government is hard to understand. The Israelis, who have suffered oppression, now in turn oppress the Palestinians. They take away Palestinian freedoms and call them terrorists when they react.

I pray for leaders courageous enough to sign a treaty of peace that will put an end to the occupation, grant freedom to Palestinians and give security to Israelis. Let’s free them all from fear.

We need to contact our members of Parliament, specially Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson, and encourage our government not to take sides but work for peace and justice in this country. We also need to encourage church leaders to be vocal in calling for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

The Palestinians deserve better. — Violet Fahlman, Regina


Gratitude expressed for the Prairie Messenger and its vocation

The Editor: The Prairie Messenger never fails to provide needed reflections, points  made requiring observation or critique. True enough it awakens within many (as all good newspapers must) well-needed nourishment for the stuff of life.

The struggling early monks of St. Peter’s Abbey, striving to put out St. Peter’s Bote for the benefit of German-speaking Catholics, no doubt prayed before beginning this good work — prayed as it was in their vocational mandate to do. The tradition carries on many years later, having changed much with the time.

I am so very grateful that my mother many years ago brought the Prairie Messenger home from church. Both the Prairie Messenger and the Sunday Visitor stayed all week till they arrived the next. In some cases particularly significant editions have either in full or in part stayed on for many years.

Unlike in years before, the comics and Brother Ben sections are no longer part of the paper. I must admit, when I lived and worked in Northern Saskatchewan, I often thought that the title lacked an emphasis inclusive of the North. Nevertheless there has fortunately always been content to pay attention to the geographical awkwardness of a diocese spanning portions of three provinces.  

As our province of Saskatchewan, country of Canada and the world buckle up with the stresses, strains and present-day worries which awaken spectres of the past, the ministry of the Prairie Messenger is as needed now as it was when it began. That beginning however was simply carrying on a long-established vocational response passed on  down through the  centuries.

Certainly the paper has not been able to endure without us the readers, contributors, benefactors and promoters.May it continue  through whatever long nights,  cold winters or storms that lay ahead.

May all its dearly departed labourers rest in peace and live in glory; or, if merely retired, then may they live to a long, ripe, old happy age! — Kevin Jozef Krofchek, Regina