Commenting on the number of Catholics from the Gaza Strip who will be allowed to see the Pope during his visit to the Holy Land, a new pastor in Gaza, Argentinean priest Father Jorge Hernandez, said this week, “Israel has told us it will do its best to issue some 80 permits. These will be for one day and will only be valid for travel to Bethlehem.”
According to the SIR news agency, Father Hernandez said that 250 visas were requested from the Israeli government. “With the reduced number (80), we are in the position of having to choose who to take to Bethlehem. It will not be easy because everybody wants to participate. For now we will only find out about the permits the day before (May 12). This is the ordinary way things are done,” he said.
“We have much hope for this visit,” the priest continued. “We hope the Pope will speak about Gaza” as “the bombings continue in the south because of the tunnels.”
“The Pope has always spoken about the Gaza Strip during the recent conflict, and for this reason we know we are in the Pontiff’s heart,” the priest concluded.