For the people of Bethlehem

Women Project
September 5, 2020
A message From the Parish Priest
May 23, 2020

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters:
As you know, we are experiencing great difficulties because of the Corona virus and the resulting closures of businesses. Over 40% of Bethlehem’s population depends on tourism. It’s been months since the last tourist or pilgrim group has visited us. The people who are involved in the industry, along with all the people of Bethlehem have been suffering greatly. Also, you are aware that the local organisations have not been able to support the city’s needs adequately. Their resources are drying-up too.
The rest of the world is also suffering from the same pandemic. Organisations and good people from abroad, who normally support the Church and the needs of the people of Bethlehem have had to cut down their support.
However, the Lord speaks to us saying, “Do not be afraid! I will be with you until the end of times.” We remember that only Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Beloved, we do not have to fear this situation. This too will pass. As long as we remain united in the Spirit, we could be strong on the inside, and could overcome all the evil that challenges us from the outside.
The Parish Council, and Franciscan Social Services, along with generous parishioners, have attempted to fill the needs of the people who got sick or have lost their jobs or incomes because of the corona virus. However, the needs of people are greater than what these two offices could we can handle on their own.
Therefore, today we all need to be even more united with each other, after the example of the Early Church, that we may be as one heart radiating compassion and care for each other.
I know there are lots of good and generous people among us. Therefore, to those who collect rent, I ask you to please think about reducing the rent for the needy for those who lost their jobs, or even forgive them a one month payment. Also, those of you who had workers, but had to let them go, please think about checking on them, and see if you could support them, even with some little help. If you like, you could do so quietly somehow, without their knowledge.
Beloved, if there are bills to pay, again, I invited saying that we only have each to other to depend on for alleviating this situation. And let’s not wait for help from a government ministry to come to our aid. They may not be able to help us, and the wait may cause extra hurt to families. Rather, let us do our best to try to lighten each other’s burden by forgiving some or all the material debts that others owe us, to do so with consideration and care for each other.
Brothers and sisters, I invite you to also pray, and to pray fervently during this difficult period. And let us extend to each other the hand of God, which comes to support us spiritually and materially. It is the hand of goodness, compassion, and generosity.
The Parish Counsel and the Franciscan Social Services office are doing a wonderful work trying to fill the needs of people; but with limitations, ass I mentioned before. The needs are more than we can handle. So we call on all of you, good and generous people, to have full confidence in the Word of God, who said, “Trust in me. I have overcome the world.” And as the psalm says, “I do not fear anything because you are with me.” So, trust that you can do more, and God will not forget you. We pray with you and for you. May God bless you abundantly.