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"Love is the only medicine for this disease"
In March, 2001 I accompanied Fr. Guido Gockel on one of his pastoral visits to Christians in the Gaza Strip. Life in Gaza is a struggle for most. Over- crowding is an overwhelming problem. 1.2 million residents live within just 84 square miles, making this narrow stretch of land one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Over 60 % live in squalid overcrowded refugee camps. Few of the roads are paved and due to inadequate sewage and garbage disposal, untreated refuse and rotting food line most streets. 

Father Guido remarked that the difficult conditions exacerbate problems within a family.“Gaza families are under tremendous tension. The school dropout rate among teenagers is high. There are a great many problems,” he added.

When we visited Fr. Musallam, pastor of Holy Family, Gaza’s only Catholic parish he greeted us warmly and introduced us to teachers and students at the parish school.  In the face of insurmountable problems, uncertainties, hopelessness and fear, Fr. Musallam exuded warm confidence, peace, and calm. He remarked, “It is impossible to live or survive here without providence.” He went on to say that the only cure for the conflict and suffering here was love. “We need love. Love is the only medicine for this disease.”  - Don Schwager, editor

See | IF ONLY I COULD DO SOMETHING: Praying for Peace in the Holy Land meditation by Fr. Guido Gockel | The Gaza Strip | Brotherhood Park in Gaza | "Even the birds have gone": Beit Jala beseiged"Destroy our churches but spare our homes" by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem |  Pontifical Mission in the Holy Land |


Fr. Musallam listens to a young student who attends school at Holy Family Parish in Gaza.  (photos: Don Schwager)

Fr. Guido with Fr. Musallam and teacher in the parish run school

Also see website and articles from | Catholic Near East Welfare Association | Struggling on the Gaza Strip | Caught in the Middle: the Matar family in Beit Jala | One City, Two Peoples, Two Standards: George Martin reports on life in Jerusalem | Religion, Politics and Jerusalem by Msgr. Stern | Rebuilding Lives in Palestine |

Return to | Israel Yesterday & Today | Daily Scripture Reading & Meditation | Words of Life | The Word of God |
(c) 2001 Don Schwager