Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Last week, the whole world united in prayer to stop the unnecessary violence here in the Holy Land.
On Thursday, 26 October, we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Palestine and on Friday, 27 October, we gathered in the Church in answer Pope Francis’s call to pray for peace.
We confirm the seriousness of the situation. It is deadly serious. Too many lives have been lost, especially children, particularly in Gaza, but also here in the West Bank.
The people of the Holy Land are emotionally drained. We were supposed to be celebrating the 25th Jubilee of the founding of the School of Joy for slow learners and special needs, but it is very sad year now! Teaching continues, but it ha to be online, because all the checkpoints around Bethlehem have been closed, preventing students from getting to school.
We understand how hard it is for our special needs students and teachers to focus on academic issues, while thousands of people are losing their lives. Teachers come to work when it is safe and when the roads are open, but when we ask them: “How are you doing” the reply is always something like: “Not good. What is happening is sad… We are not OK…What is happening is terrible…”
Since the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, people in the Holy Land started to lose hope for peace and for a better future. The economic system is collapsing at an increasing rate. Bethlehem went from having fully booked hotels to a completely shut and empty town. You can imagine the impact of this war on Palestinian (Mainly Christian) families who depend mainly on tourism. The least we can say is that it is catastrophic.
Consequently, many of our students from families linked to the pilgrimage and tourism sector are unable to pay their tuition and we continue to support them with what we receive from friends and supporters like you. We strive to educate the minds and the hearts of the families and the students who are entrusted to our care and stay faithful to our vision, mission, and values.
Let’s continue to pray for an end of this war, and most importantly, to end the root cause of this suffering in the Holy Land that has been going on for many years. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.
By:Fr. Mamdouh Abusada