May 17, 2002
His Beatitude Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
P.O. Box 14152
Latin Patriarchate Road
On behalf of the Bishops of the United States, I want to extend to you, your brother bishops, and the Church in the Holy Land, prayerful good wishes on the occasion of your special observance on Mount Zion this Pentecost Sunday. The Church was born on the first Pentecost with the descent of the Spirit on people of many nations and tongues. For that reason, we, her children, celebrate with you the birth of the "Mother Church."
We lament the intense suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, especially those who have endured the long siege in Bethlehem. With them, we long for peace, an end to occupation and the realization of their legitimate national aspirations. We shall continue to labor in the ways open to us to promote the rapid achievement of those dreams through peaceful means. In the meantime, we trust our aid agencies will assist in sustaining all those who suffer, but especially the Christians of the Holy Land, in their time of trial. You have a pledge of our unfailing solidarity.
During my visit in January, I was inspired by the courage and perseverance of the Christians of the Holy Land in these trying times. You have walked the Via Dolorosa. This Pentecost may you overcome fear and hopelessness and know the joy and renewing power of God's Spirit.
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Bishop Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville