“The works cannot be stopped”. A witness from our volunteers in Bethlehem

Giacomo Pizzi24 March 2020

Matteo tells us how people live in Bethlehem during the Corona Virus emergency, but above all how the works of charity continue to operate also thanks to the young volunteers coordinated by the Association Pro Terra Sancta.

We had a nice chat with Matteo, professional educator and volunteer of the Civil Service for the Pro Terra Sancta Association.

Following the Corona Virus emergency (38 cases in the Palestinian territories), the Authority declared a state of emergency on the night of the 14th of March 2020.

Vincenzo Bellomo, head of the Pro Terra Sancta Office in Bethlehem, immediately decided to transfer all volunteers to the Guest house Dar Al Majus managed by the Association. At the moment the volunteers live and work in this building, which has become the “headquarter” of Pro Terra Sancta in Bethlehem. Here they live together peacefully, planning their work activities day by day.

The charitable works of the territory risked remaining unguarded, but the volunteers immediately made themselves available. They took all the necessary precautions (masks, gloves, etc.) and showed great sensitivity.

The first work is the Antoniana Charitable Society where the Gianelline Sisters work: here the old people are welcomed and Pro Terra Sancta has been supporting their projects and activities for some time. During this period, given the absence of Sister Caterina, who was stuck in Jordan because of the pandemic, Matteo, Azzurra and Rosaria help Sister Lisi in the kitchen “cutting fruit and vegetables and helping with the cleaning”.

The second work, very close to the Church of the Nativity, is the Hogar Nino Dios directed by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word who take care of children with disabilities. The school-educational path of some of them is supported by Pro Terra Sancta. Volunteers Anna and Umberto feed the children, help organize the morning activities and do small maintenance work.

The third work is the Home of Peace in which the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta support men with psychiatric illnesses.

Pro Terra Sancta supports this work by sending volunteers such as Annachiara who “take care of the laundry and entertainment activities”.

The situation is extremely delicate. The COVID-19 is scary, the old people and children are at risk, but as Matteo points out on several occasions “the works cannot be stopped”. For this reason the volunteers, not without concern, but with courage, have never backed down.

We would like to highlight what could be called the beauty of simplicity.

To the professionalism of the respect of health and safety measures, the volunteers combine the closeness to these fragile people in their daily lives. Small gestures, but constant and dense with humanity.

Finally, at a difficult time for Italy, we are proud to be represented by our Pro Terra Sancta volunteers: Azzurra, Rosaria, Anna, Annachiara, Umberto and Matteo.

This is our contribution to Bethlehem and the message of the volunteers, first of all young people, is: “we are here and we are moving forward!”.