The Highest authority of the Holy Land at Rome, Monsignor Fuad Twal, made his solemn entry to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem to begin the Christmas celebration with the Christians of the region which are mourning for the killing and the exodus of Christians in Iraq.
Monsignor will preside the midnight mass at St. Catherine Church, in presence of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abas.
Israel last year received 1,5 million visitors, and Holy Land more than 3 million.
Monsignor Twal is happy for the boom in religious tourism and pilgrimages, which “reflect the universal dimension of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth.” But he also recalled “the suffering and concerns that persist,” the first of them is the fate of the Christians in Iraq, who have fled their country since the last killing in Baghdad.
Pope Benedict XVI, who also expressed his fear regarding for the situation of Christians in the Middle East, will preside over the celebration of midnight from the Vatican.
Monsignor Fuad Twal expressed his “suffering” for the blockage of the Holy Land negotiations of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian paralyzed after the U.S. failure to achieve a new cessation of Jewish settlement.