The former Wexford County Manager Eddie Breen and his wife Pauline and the Diocesan secretary for Ferns Fr. John Carroll were among those who took part in an Irish Catholic newspaper pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The annual national Christian solidarity pilgrimage was led by Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic and an Irish Independent columnist and Fr. Carroll who is also the Ferns Diocesan press officer.
A total of 47 people from around Ireland, north and south, travelled on the eight-day trip which included a visit through the Golan Heights and to the borders with Lebanon and Syria..
The group was invited to a special meeting hosted by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem where the blessings and challenges of the Christian community, who now form only 2% of the population of the area, were outlined.
'Calmly, warmly and with great clarity and precision, many aspects of the lives of Christians in the region were outlined.' said Fr. Carroll.
'And sincere gratitude was expressed for the solidarity shown by fellow believers abroad', he said.
Speaking at the Patriarchate in Jerusalem, the Parish Priest of Glynn-Barntown said: 'This earliest church community of Jerusalem -the local church of Christ himself -is deserving of particular support as it seeks to maintain the holy sites for a worldwide population of 2.2 billion Christians, whose lives and beliefs are shaped by events that happened there 2000 years ago.'
Fr. Carroll extended warm thanks to Bishop Marcuzzo for sharing details of his deep understanding of the local territories and peoples and taking the ime out from his onerous responsibilities to meet the Irish group.