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Little Town of Bethlehem

Christians in Gaza

Doctor in Bethlehem

Crisis in The Holy Land


Please scroll down for photographs of Bethlehem and The Church of the Nativity.

"Join Father Peter Vasko, OFM, on a pilgrimage of faith:  These pilgrimages exploring the Holy Land will provide an opportunity to open a new chapter in your own faith journey and your own response to God's generous grace.  Now is the time to reach out in support of our Palestinian Christians.  Your presence can make a difference.  For information or ro receive a brochure call toll free (866) 905-3787."

Your support of the Bethlehem Catholic artisans below will help provide income to the Bethlehem artisans.  Bethlehem Bible Artists is managed by a Franciscan priest from The Church of the Nativity.

Bethlehem Olive Wood Supplies

Bethlehem Bible Artists

Catholic ear, nose and throat surgeon, Victor Batarseh, is Mayor of Bethlehem.  Mayor Batarseh has held dual U. S. citizenship for 20 years, once living in Sacramento, California.  He has three children, all living in the U. S.  Mayor Batarseh had a clinic in Bethlehem which he closed upon becoming mayor.  Mayor Batarseh is a socialist, and his top priorities are to build a slaughterhouse in Bethlehem, fix the streets of Bethlehem for tourism, and build a library in Bethlehem.  Mayor Batarseh is only the third mayor of Bethlehem in three decades.  By law, 8 of  Bethlehem's 15 council members must be Christian including Bethlehem's mayor and deputy mayor.

Holy Land:  Three children detained while gathering herbs

Israel permitted 300 of the 3,000 Gazan Catholics to travel to Bethlehem to attend Christmas services.  Permit recipients were required to be under 16 or over 35 years of age.

Pope: Jesus born in Bethlehem, a city of peace, is not a children's story

Palestinians “disgusted” and “disappointed” by bickering between Hamas and Fatah

Rock to Bethlehem concert in the West Bank, Palestine, the first rock concert in Bethlehem

Rock to Bethlehem concert in the West Bank, Palestine, is the first rock concert in Bethlehem

CNS/Debbie Hill
Palestine Sesame Street

Palestine Sesame Street, Ramallah, West Bank

Thousands of East Jerusalem Palestinians lose their residency permit

Israel arrested Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam and is holding her in jail three months before her graduation because her legal address is in Gaza and she was attending Bethlehem University in the West Bank as Israel prevents freedom of movement by the Palestinians. Azzam is not allowed to attend her court hearing because it is being held in Israel not Gaza.

OliveAid, an organization affiliated with the Friends of Bethlehem University and started by three Catholics, Roy Putt, Robert Benson and Stephen Ballard, is replacing olive trees destroyed by Israel to build settlements and a wall on Catholic Palestinian land.  "The response we have had from the UK Catholic community particularly in the Southwark diocese has been fantastic and has enabled us to plant over 1,225 last season. We are now negotiating for additional saplings thanks to the generosity of OliveAid supporters, and we need to attract additional funds quickly. We are already negotiating for a further three sites in non-conflict areas which will give us the capacity to plant up to 5,000 this season," said OliveAid Trustee Stephen Ballard.

Debbie Hill/CNS
Catholic News - Mr. Francis Morat lights a candle at Saint Catherine Church in Bethlehem

Mr. Francis Morat lights a candle at Saint Catherine Church in Bethlehem

Palestine  Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy CarterIsrael is building a wall through the homes and land of Catholics in Bethlehem and The Holy Land separating the Way of the Cross and is confiscating Catholic Church property, including land used by a Catholic orphanage, and is denying the Church's right to a court hearing to challenge the taking of Catholic Church property. 

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of the Archdiocese of Westminster:  "How sad it is that Christians in Bethlehem feel compelled to leave the land of their birth for foreign lands on account of the political situation in the Holy Land. How tragic that as a result of all the violence perpetrated there, the little town of Christ's birth is corralled, blocked in by a wall and checkpoints. Borders have been redrawn, families have been separated, and ancient landmarks have been lost to the town. Commerce and tourism have been decimated, unemployment has led to an exodus of citizens, most of them Christians."

Checkpoint in Holy Land"This wall must not exist," said Father Michel Sabbah, the retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem referring to the wall which Israel built separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem.  Father Sabbah said the wall has made Bethlehem an "immense prison."

Getting from here to there in The Holy Land

Travel restriction in Bethlehem

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, upon visiting Bethlehem in the Holy Land, said the concrete wall surrounding Bethlehem will not bring peace.  President Sarkozy said of Jerusalem, "It's a holy city for three faiths; Jews, Christians and Muslims.  Can Jerusalem be for one side and not the other?  I don't think so."

Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and President of Bethlehem University: "My jurisdiction is Palestine, Israel and Jordan, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility toward people in all of those countries. Permits. They need a permit to get into and out of Bethlehem, to go to work, to go to Jerusalem to pray, to go to the airport or the hospital or to Bethlehem University.  Our priests cannot make a spiritual retreat because they cannot get around the country."

Nativity Housing Project in Bethlehem is a 52-unit complex sponsored by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in which each family pays $10,000 to $15,000 as a down payment and $250-$350 a month for 15 to 20 years and then owns the apartment.  The land was donated by the Deutsch Order and the Sisters of the Annunciation.  Mortgages are not a part of Palestinian society so families that were chosen are those Catholics who would not be able to purchase a house outright. "It's a new life for us."

Saint Jerome lived in Bethlehem for the last 34 years of his life.

Since 1618 the popes have dedicated Good Friday to prayer and almsgiving to the Catholic community in The Holy Land.

We wish to thank Father Issa of The Church of the Nativity and Father Labib Kobti for permission to use photographs in this section. 

Pope John Paul II Watering Olive Branch in The Holy Land
Copyright © 1999

Pope John Paul II
Olive Branch

Bethlehem Skyline
Copyright © 1999

Bethlehem Skyline

Welcome to Bethlehem

Bethlehem mountainside
Copyright © 2001

Bethlehem Mountainside

The Church of the Nativity
Copyright © 2001

The Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity Door of Humility Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001

The Church of the Nativity
Door of Humility

The Church of the Nativity Christmas Pilgrims Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity Christmas Pilgrims

The Church of the Nativity Procession Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity Procession

The Church of the Nativity Creche Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001

The Church of the Nativity Creche

The Church of the Nativity Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001

The Church of the Nativity
Birthplace of the Baby Jesus

Inside the Church of the Nativity Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001

Inside The Church of the Nativity


The Church of the Nativity Cloister Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001



The Church of the Nativity Grotto of Milk Bethlehem
Copyright © 2001

Grotto of Milk
(Where the First Family rested)

Bethlehem University 30th Anniversary Celebration
Copyright © 2003 Bethlehem University

Bethlehem University

30th Anniversary Celebration
October 3, 2003

New President of Bethlehem University

Getting a Master's Degree in Bethlehem Isn't Easy

The Church of the Nativity Bethlehem reproduction

Replica of The Church of the Nativity

Handcarved from olive wood by Catholic Bethlehem artisans

24" x 24"   U.S. $1,400

Salesians in Bethlehem

What a Catholic Christmas gift!

National Geographic Bethlehem

United Nations Report on Bethlehem

Franciscan Foundation for The Holy Land






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