Bethlehem: in the Imminence of Holy Christmas, Effeta by Pope Paul VI

December 6, 2023

Our school year 2023-24 began in mid-August. We were immersed in intense and creative activities in various disciplines, but an "unsettled" atmosphere was already present, gradually growing until it unexpectedly exploded in a dramatic and fatal way on October 7.


Since that day, almost all the students attending our institute have been confined to their homes, villages, and towns. With courage, we tried to reopen the school, but very few children can attend. Online lessons are extremely challenging for the hearing-impaired because children who cannot hear need to see the movement of lips and facial expressions of the speaker, as well as hands-on activities to facilitate understanding. Many have requested to stay overnight at school, even on the floor, just to avoid losing the opportunity to learn and experience the serenity of a normal daily life. It is terrible for a child!


This is a truly difficult and dramatic time: in addition to the closure in their villages, they have revoked work permits for people in Jerusalem, and it seems they may not be able to get them back. For the poor, suffering is added to suffering. Here in Bethlehem, we are relatively calm, but never like today, after years of continuous clashes and divisions, have we seen so much violence and felt a sense of fear and confusion; and we feel powerless to help, although we try to support each other.


The life of every person is sacred; it has equal dignity before God, as Pope Francis keeps reminding us! The only weapon we can use with real effectiveness is prayer: to implore the Lord, the "King of Peace and Mercy," to touch the hearts of the "great leaders." We are suffering and are aware that THERE CANNOT BE PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE!!! Let us pray with Pope Francis and with our Patriarch of Jerusalem, H.E. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, to implore the gift of PEACE for this Holy Land and for the whole world.


Together with the Superior, Sister Carmela Dal Barco, and all the sisters of the community, I extend heartfelt thanks for your attention and your supportive prayers. We add our warmest wishes for the upcoming Holy Festivities.

Sister Ginetta Aldegheri