In the Holy Land territory of the Palestinian Authority there is no public medical assistance. The family, which does not receive any help other than from the parish, has to find the way to take care of all types of illness of their children. If serious illness strikes (leukemia, tumors, kidney surgery or dialysis), the parish priest verifies the gravity and urgency of the need and seeks financial aid from the Custody of the Holy Land and private donors locally and internationally in order to help the children of this Holy Place.
Objectives and Activities in Bethlehem in the Holy Land
The objective of the project “Bethlehem and the children in the Holy Land” is to support the most fragile of the Christian “living stones” in Bethlehem in the Holy Land: the needy children of this Holy Place, in this very special part of the Holy Land, where God himself became a child. The funds raised will be used to support the education of the neediest children and those with learning problems, in addition to providing them with essential medical care in Bethlehem in the Holy Land.
The project “Bethlehem and the children in the Holy Land” is being promoted by the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, who have been protecting and bringing life to the Holy Places in the Holy Land for over seven centuries, most significantly at the Basilicas of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the Annunciation in Nazareth. The Franciscan presence in the Holy Land goes back to the very origins of the Order of Friars Minor. In addition to the pastoral apostolate, the Custody of the Holy Land has many social ministries involving children and other Christians: primary and secondary schools, university tuition grants, housing renovation, rent subsidies for families, student residences, small craftsman subventions, old age homes, after-school activities, women’s workshops, summer camps, outpatient clinics, financing of hospital treatment.
The friars are present and active on site in the Custody of the Holy Land’s schools and Saint Catherine’s parish. The schools and parish, through the youth center and the center for families of Bethlehem in the Holy Land are well placed to provide aid and relief to the population, responding to the most immediate needs of the Christian children and their families In particular, the funds raised will be able to continue to support the work of providing aid to children and youth in need through the proposed center for pastoral counseling and charitable assistance in Bethlehem in the Holy Land.