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Gaza teen waits to follow vocation: ‘My faith is flourishing amidst the challenges of war’

Five months ago in Gaza City, 18-year-old Suhail Shadi Abu Dawod was waiting for a visa for Italy to begin his novitiate in the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) — and then the Israel-Hamas war broke out.

“I began considering joining the Incarnate Word congregation in 2021, when I was 15 years old,” Abu Dawod told CNA through his pastor, Father Gabriel Romanelli. “I wish to join it because it is a simple and humble congregation that spreads the message of love, spirituality, praying the rosary, and faith worldwide.”

Abu Dawod is a postulant of the institute. He is following in the footsteps of both priests at his parish who are part of the IVE.

“When the war started and interrupted my journey, I felt deep sadness and disappointment. However, I came to realize that God is preparing a significant gift for me and for the development of my vocation. It is part of God’s plan. I trust in God’s guidance, and I firmly believe in his grace for me,” he said.

Like hundreds of other Christians in Gaza, Abu Dawod and his family left their home and have been living within the premises of the Latin Parish of the Holy Family in northern Gaza for the past five months.

“Feeling blessed in the midst of war” or “faith is stronger than war” are some of the thoughts that Abu Dawod shares on Facebook from time to time.

“I really feel blessed,” he told CNA, “as I witness all the people attending and praying in the holy Mass, united together with one heart, especially on the occasion of the Christmas feast, celebrating the birth of Jesus!”

Read more at Catholic News Agency 

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