- Jan 25, 2021
For the first time in 54 years, a Mass will be celebrated Jan. 10, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, at St. John the Baptist Chapel on the banks of the Jordan River.
Bethlehem on Thursday ushered in Christmas Eve with a stream of joyous marching bands and the triumphant arrival of the top Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land, but few people were there to greet them as the coronavirus pandemic and a strict lockdown dampened celebrations in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday was hearing a case against a contentious law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, marking the beginning of a landmark challenge against legislation that opponents say discriminates against minorities.
The Christian population in Gaza, home to some 2 million people, has dwindled to about 1,000 as members of the tiny community have steadily emigrated. However, Christmas decorations can be widely seen on store fronts and at restaurants across the Gaza Strip.
It will be a quiet and subdued Christmas this year in Bethlehem, with almost 7,000 people involved in the tourism sector out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman.
Only a few dozen people attended the lighting of the Christmas tree in the biblical city of Bethlehem on Saturday night, as coronavirus restrictions scaled back the annual event that is normally attended by thousands.