"Updates from Bethlehem"
From here, from Bethlehem, where we all were born, we send you a message of well-wishes, affection, and solidarity to all of you, our Italian brothers and sisters, in such a difficult time that unites us. May this be an Easter of rebirth for all of you!
Just like in your cities, Bethlehem is now empty. Covid-19 has reached here too, and the health emergency has forced thousands of pilgrims to leave the holy places. "Many Christians will suffer, especially in Bethlehem, because they are employed in the tourism sector," comments Fra Ibrahim Faltas, Vice President of the Giovanni Paolo II Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of the Effeta Institute, with bitterness.
The photos you see are of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, usually crowded with pilgrims from all over the world who come to celebrate Holy Easter. Today, it's striking to see them like this, but one day they will welcome us again, the emotion will be even greater, and we will be more numerous than ever!
But right now, in Bethlehem, silence reigns, just as it does in our school: the 180 children and young people who attend the Effeta Institute are all well, but to protect their health, we too have decided to pause and suspend our activities on-site. However, there is one thing that must not stop: their progress.
Thanks to our support and, in particular, that of the parents, Naif, Sari, and all our students have started practicing from home, constantly sending us their updates and their steps forward. Even at a distance, it is essential for us to follow them, see them engaged, and grow day by day!
When they return, they will find us here to welcome them, as always, to learn to communicate, play, and smile together.