For the Custos of the Holy Land, the facility reflects the birth of Jesus, which gave it meaning and value. With charity as its main purpose, it offers a venue for various initiatives. The facility was built thanks to local workers. For a Pro Terra Sancta official, investing in job skills development will help preserve the Christian presence in the area.
Bethlehem (AsiaNews) – The Dar al-Majus Community Home, the “House of the Three Wisemen”, was inaugurated in Bethlehem on 9 June, a major undertaking by the Custody of the Holy Land and the Pro Terra Sancta Association.
At the ceremony, the Custos of the Holy Land Fr Francesco Patton said that the facility is centred on solidarity, reflecting what happened in the town “with the birth of Jesus.”
Its meaning and value come from the charity that took root here. Indeed, its raison d’être “is charity,” the Franciscan explained. What is more, “Here we can give truth, not just create it”.
The House of the Three Wisemen is “first of all a place to create connections and relationships, a place of dialogue.”
The old building, dating back to Ottoman times, is located in Bethlehem’s Old Town. It took more than three years to renovate it, a major undertaking, especially during COVID-19, that entailed finding the right materials, and hooking it up to the electrical grid and the sewer.
The Pro Terra Sancta Association will set up offices in the Dar al-Majus Community Home, to serve primarily Bethlehem residents. It includes a job centre and social coops. This will give the association a permanent place to continue its operations, which began 15 years ago in the area.
Bethlehem’s Deputy Mayor Hannah Hanania and the Italian Consul Giuseppe Fedele were present at the inauguration ceremony.
The facility will not serve only as a place for dialogue and outreach but will provide space for local and international artists so that art can educate against ethnoreligious violence and conflicts that still cover the region with blood.
For Fr Patton, “the Home will provide venues to support students” not only from the Holy Land, but also from neighbouring countries.” In his view, “Just as the Wisemen found the truth of love and took it with them, spreading it across the world, so too will this home,” which “will reach out to the wider community, starting in Bethlehem, to everyone’s benefit.”
Vincenzo Bellomo, head of Pro Terra Sancta’s activities in Palestine, said that the Dar al-Majus Community Home is “the work of local workers”, including planning, construction and renovating the old building, since “This is where we must invest” to ensure a future for the earth and its people, especially the Christian community.
“The most significant acts of charity are closeness and friendship,” he explained. “This is what the Home is providing amid the reality of conflicts and violence” since society can only be rebuilt with a local sense of community based on “values of justice, dialogue and peace.”
Dar al-Majus Community Home will be a venue to highlight the beauty of the Palestinian community and give value to exchange among people based on solidarity. It will showcase, on the public road, Pro Terra Sancta’s work, but also other groups who do good deeds in Bethlehem.
For Bellomo, work and beauty will be able to exist side by side since the Home is not far from the Basilica of the Nativity “where beauty was born” and where lives are shaped.
Last but not least, the Home will be a place to network with other associations and give people, especially youth and women, the opportunity to learn and hone job skills taught by experts.