Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Way Brings Hope to Bethlehem.

The decreasing number of Christians in the Middle East (especially in Israel) has been a great concern for many Popes.  According to the article below: 

Less that 2 percent of the population of Israel and the Palestinian territories today is Christian, down from more than 7 percent around the time of Israel's independence 65 years ago, according to Naim Ateek, director the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, a leading Christian think tank. 

Several factors are behind the decline, including the higher birthrates of Jews and Muslims and an exodus driven by continued Israeli-Palestinian violence and better opportunities in the West. In some instances, particularly in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Christians have been subject to intimidation by a minority of Muslims.

The number of Catholic nuns have also been in decline. In Bethlehem's only orphanage run by nuns, only four aging nuns remain, and the Catholic Church is struggling to replace them.  Similar situations are happening across the Holy land in other orphanages, hospitals, schools, and charities.  In many cases, they had to hire a number of lay people to cover the shortfall.  Even the Franciscan order, the largest and oldest Catholic presence in the Holy land, has seen its numbers dwindled in half in 60 years with an average age of over 50.  However, there is hope. According to the article, whose weblink I provided below: 

The stern, gray monastery and seminary of the Neocatechumenal Way on Domus Galilaeae highlights the changing face of Catholicism.  The 15 year old institution's jewel is a seminary boasting a bronze, life-size statue of Jesus preaching to his disciples as he appears to be floating over the sea. 

Water poured over the Ten Commandments, carved into high walls in Latin and Hebrew.  A fresco of Jesus and his apostles in rich shades of red, gold, blue, and green shone on a church wall. Some 60 people, teenagers, young men and women stood in a circle on a recent day, singing and praying with white-clad priests. 

The Francisans, who oversee some of the Church's most prized properties have been struggling in keeping these lands.  They have handed over land and buildings worth millions of dollars including the property known as Domus Galilaeae to the Neocatechumenal Way, who now runs the area.  The Reverend David Neuhaus goes on to state in the article, "The changes show how the Catholic Church is evolving, rather than fading away.  The church produces new movements to serve new circumstances."

Neocatechumenal Way in Bethlehem

The Neocatechumenal Way  built a monastery beside the Domus Galilaeae International Center, which was inaugurated in 2008 with a gathering of 170 bishops and key figures from the Catholic lay Neocatechumenate.  On the roof, there is a sculpture made by Kiko Arguello, which depicts Jesus and the twelve Apostles during the preaching of the Sermon on the Mount.  The Statue is pictured below: 





  1. Do you know the real reason why we must protect these areas and keep Christianity alive?

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    It's important because these areas is where Christianity originated from. This is where our roots began.

  3. Yes you are correct, but the real answer is...if Christianity were to disappear it would no longer be called the holy land. Do you know that the descendants of the shepherds during the birth of Christ still live in what they call Shepherds fields?

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    It was still called the "Holy Land" even before Christianity existed. It was God who made the land holy after it was given to the Israelites (See Deuteronomy 26:15 and Zechariah 2:12). By blessing the land of milk and honey which God has given the Israelites, He has made it holy.

  5. If Christianity were to disappear there, it would still be called the Holy Land because that will always be the place where our Lord Jesus was born, grew up, and was sacrificed for our sins.

    The absence of Christians there would not change this fact. Maybe Christians would no longer be welcomed there and that would be most unfortunate.

    1. Yes it will! You need to read more into this starting with the emperor Constantine to modern day. Not just one book but many books must be read. You will come to see and understand why it will no longer be called the Holy Land!

    2. Dear Anonymous at 1:56,

      This is what the Bible says:

      Zec. 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

      This biblical verse is found in the Old Testament....... when there were NO Christians. The Christians never made the land holy nor was it the existence of Christians that made it holy. It is only God who makes things holy, and the name "holy land" existed in the Old Testament long before Christianity or Constantine.

  6. Dear Anonymous,

    I find it very sad that Christians are being persecuted in the Holy land and elsewhere in the Middle East, but that does not surprise me. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us in the Bible that they would persecute us just as they persecuted Him. Muslim leaders fear Christianity so much that they forbid them to evangelize.

  7. 2% of Christianity in Israel alone. I've been there. I'm thankful I can practice Christianity here on Guam. In Israel no one will open their arm if your Christian.

  8. Diana,

    Taught I share this to you:
    Ro UnderwoodApril 30, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    I emailed a synopsis of the Roman Catholics vs. Neo (the parasite that's eating at our money....and the firing, hiring and firing of Fr. Gofigan. The celebrity priest said that the NCW is approved by Pope Francis. and sanctioned by the Roman Catholics. He did not reply to my report that Fr. Gofigan was humiliated and fired by the bishop. I am disappointed that he didn't look into the money wonder we're confused....