(Terrasanctablog) A Bethlehem resident joked: “We didn’t welcome the Holy Family two thousand years ago, so ever since we’ve been trying to make up for it!” And so this Christian, along with many other Christians welcomed two new priests to Bethlehem. It doesn’t hurt that both of them are joyful and welcoming themselves.
Said one priest, “Before coming here I was vicar in Beit Hanina (a suburb of Jerusalem) and here I discovered an entirely different reality. The question of obtaining permits (to enter Israel, because of the security barriers – Ed.), of unemployment, the difficulties caused by the closure, especially within families, create an ambiance and a pastoral reality that are entirely different. At the same time, the population here and our faithful are truly good. (As are the parishioners in Jerusalem, Fra Nerwan emphasizes.) But here there is a different sense of welcome. Parish life in Bethlehem has the fragrance of tradition. The faithful are very respectful to priests, happily greeting them, inviting them to their homes.”
Click here to read more about Fra Ricardo Bustos, the new guardian of the Franciscan fraternity in Bethlehem, and Fra Nerwan Nasser Al-Bann, the new parish priest.