The LPJ schools receive no state funding except a small but decreasing amount in Israel. The forty four LPJ schools in Jordan, Israel and Palestine, with over 1,561 teachers and 19,000 students, are proud of the broad and balanced education they provide, especially for girls. They are well respected in their local communities by Christians and Muslims alike. LPJ schools operate an open door policy, welcoming Christian and Muslim students who, working together, acquire mutual tolerance and understanding. LPJ Schools are places of safety, protection and refuge. In Jordan, they also provide afternoon lessons for refugees.
Fr Imad Twal, General Administrator in his Report dated 7 May 2016, says:
“Education offers the best hope for change for Palestinians living in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and facing daily challenges and obstacles in their life. The separation wall, the numerous checkpoints and obstacles make life very complicated for the Palestinian families in the Palestinian territories for the they lack freedom of movement and need special permits to work in Jerusalem and Israel”.
In his introduction to the LPJ Yearbook 2015/2016, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, states:
“We are faced with numerous challenges in the midst of unending violence and hostilities in the region and around the world. Our Christian schools are ranked amongst the best in the country, yet the existence of these schools may not be sustainable with the budgetary cuts in the previous years, and the agreement reached last year (with Israel) still has to become a reality.
The Sisters of Nazareth School in Haifa was handed to the Latin Patriarchate. Our schools and parishes in Jordan are providing alternate education programmes for many children, who alone or with their families have fled war-torn countries. And we have continued support for our young people and their families in Gaza.
Let us focus on the programmes and sustain initiatives for our schools to be significant places of learning and for encountering and sharing, while encouraging a mentality of peace in our parishes and schools. Let us nurture in each child and youth, a deep sense of respect for the dignity of every person without distinctions”.
Dr Maria C. Khoury is a teacher who wrote to us about the regular harassment of children, priests and nuns at road blocks and checkpoints. She included some messages from her students:
“The people of the Holy Land have become victims of the absence of peace. If I had a wish, my wish would be to live in peace forever.” Maha Jarrar, 7th grade Zababedeh.
“I don’t feel that I’m safe. I always feel that I live in fear and I’m disappointed because there’s no stability..so I wish peace would be coming one day.” Mary Sayez, 6th grade Bir Zeit.
Undeterred, the Christian community continues to pray and rejoice in their faith.