“I wish to make special mention of the outstanding achievements of Bethlehem University” Pope Benedict XVI, 11 May 2009
Expressing Hope for the Future, Bethlehem University Seeks Assistance for New Students from Gaza
In remarks during his May 2009 visit to Bethlehem, Pope Benedict XVI continued his support for educational initiatives and expressed his solidarity with the plight of Palestinians, especially those “from war-torn Gaza.”
Acknowledging the valuable contributions of many institutions and groups engaged in inter-religious dialogue, Pope Benedict said, “I wish to make special mention of the outstanding achievements of Bethlehem University.”
“When I spoke with Pope Benedict during the Mass in Manger Square on Wednesday,” said Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, “I expressed the University’s gratitude for his support and requested prayers for our students and benefactors.”
His Holiness went on to say, “you daily demonstrate your belief that our duty before God is expressed not only in our worship but also in our love and concern for society, for culture, for our world and for all who live in this land.”
“There is a particular hopefulness that the Pope’s visit will provide an opportunity for the Israeli authorities to once again give permission for students from Gaza to study at Bethlehem University,” said Brother Robert Smith, FSC, Academic Vice President of Bethlehem University.
“As a Vatican-sponsored Palestinian university, we are seeking support from any and all countries, organizations, and persons of good will to help us secure permission from the Israeli authorities for students from Gaza to study at Bethlehem University,” said Brother Jack Curran, Vice President for Development.
On Monday, the Pope reminded the President and Government of Israel that peace and security are inseparable from, and in fact result from, the practice of justice and integrity.
Father David Neuhaus, sj, of the Bethlehem University faculty noted that “the Pope comes into the heart of a troubled area to show the Church’s face as a promoter of justice, of peace and most importantly, of pardon and compassion. We need this visit.”