For many Palestinian Christian children this journey is the first time they get to experience, visit and worship at the birthplace of Jesus, even though they may live only a few hours away. The children will visit various sites around Bethlehem, receive gifts, play games and put on shows in celebration of Christmas and participate in a large procession to the Church of the Nativity. Joining the procession will be mayors from different towns, representatives of churches, prominent community leaders, and members of the civic society! At the Church of the Nativity the children will release a large number of balloons as a sign of peace and freedom.
HCEF President and CEO Rateb Rabie, KCHS is in Bethlehem to lead this event. “This important and symbolic Journey for Peace to Bethlehem, and the act of releasing balloons into the air gives the children a sense of unity and collective accomplishment, and draws local and worldwide attention to the witness for peace made by the children. The spirit of Bethlehem is embodied in the mission of HCEF as we at HCEF endeavor to spread the universal message of reconciliation and peace for Christians and non-Christians, and offer hope to all nations and peoples.
Established by HCEF in 2003, the journey encourages strong bonds of friendship between children of the Holy Land and provides them a day of joy and celebration as they relive the Christmas story. It also brings together local communities to promote peace and understanding, as well as increase the appreciation of their common heritage and sense of belonging to Palestine as their Holy Land.
The Journey for Peace to Bethlehem, in partnership with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Catholic Relief Services, German Association of the Holy Land, One Voice Palestine, World Vision, and St. Catherine Catholic Church of the Nativity are a part of the Bethlehem ‘Heart of Christmas’.
For more information about Bethlehem, Heart of Christmas events, or HCEF and its programs, contact Anthony Habash, HCEF Deputy Country Representative/Programs and Development Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.hcef.org