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Video: The sky lights up during the day, a few steps from the Basilica of the Nativity, a giant Christmas tree, the manger scene with the Baby Jesus at the center: all of this tells us that it is Christmastime in Bethlehem. Every year, this event opens the holiday season for hundreds of Christians and Muslims, who also filled Manger Square last Saturday.
Religious authorities of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, such as the Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, Monsignor Giuseppe Lazarotto and Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who before lighting the tree pronounced a blessing for peace. A wish shared by the Guardian of the Basilica. More than one hundred thousand pilgrims are expected to visit the shrine.
“After the last few months of experiencing the tough situations of violence and war here in the Holy Land, I think what we are in need of hope and of the Lord’s providence, who for more than two thousand years has known how to come here; so that this year he may also reach the hearts of all of these people,” said Fr. Ricardo Bustos, ofm, Custos of the Basilica of the Nativity.
A concert of local music and the choir of St. Catherine’s Parish Church enlivened the evening for Palestinians and pilgrims in the Holy Land.