With the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel there are many stories that come to the surface that I find especially intriguing. For example, I came a cross an interesting article on the small community of Hebrew Catholics living in Israel. They consist of:
Christians married to Jews, monks and nuns who live in Israel out of solidarity, Christians who immigrated from the former Soviet Union and Jews who converted.
There are approximately 4000 in all of Israel today. They are in full communion with the Catholic Church. Probably the only difference between them and Latin Rite Catholics is that their liturgy uses Hebrew and they celebrate the Jewish holidays as well as those contained in the Catholic liturgical calendar.
I’d like to point out some historical nuances with certain Hebrew words that are used in their unique liturgy. For instance certain words are updated to remove the negative connotations that the Jews themselves had attributed to Catholic terms and names. An example is the name of Jesus:
Linguists say the modern Hebrew word for Jesus, Yeshu, is derived from the word, Yeshua or Yehoshua, which was given by rabbis in the Middle Ages and which is in fact an acronym of the expression “may his name and memory be obliterated.”