- May 8, 2021
As his Muslim neighbors and fellow Jericho residents make their way home for the iftar, which breaks the daily fast throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Franciscan Father Mario Hadchiti hands out small bags of dates and water to passersby in front of the Franciscan Good Shepherd Church.
Palestinian women are using spikenard — mentioned in several places in the Gospels as “nard” — as well as rose, jasmine, honey, ambra and other essential oils to infuse candles — and help support their families.
Bishops who spent six days visiting virtually with Christians in the Holy Land said “it has become painfully clear that there is today less cause for optimism than at any time in recent history.”
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.
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.
The year, the Christmas tradition of the Peace Light of Bethlehem continues, despite COVID-19 restrictions and border and church closures.