PAX CHRISTI CELEBRATES 70 YEARS IN BETHLEHEM, THE LAND OF CONFLICTS The event began with the reading of a short message of the Pope

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Bethlehem is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Catholic movement Pax Christi International. The inauguration of the event, ending on May 17th, was accompanied by a short message of Pope Francis in front of 150 delegates of 30 different countries. The papal letter was transmitted thanks to the Secretary of State, Card. Pietro Parolin, and its title is “Pilgrims on the Path to Peace”. Pope Francis said hello to every participant to the event and he wrote his hope about the event being “an occasion to open you hearts to God” and therefore, “serving communities through Him”.

The Latin Patriarch, Fouad Twal, sent a video to them, he could not attend celebrations because he is travelling to Rome for the canonization of the first two Palestinian saints, Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardi. Twal announced the danger of religious chauvinism “bringing death and violence everywhere. We need you – said the Patriarch to those attending – for our peace mission in this land”.

Another message arrived in Bethlehem for the anniversary of Pax Christi, it was the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon who launched a plea, “Let us work together in order to free the world from weapons. Too many people of different religions around the world use weapons as their first and only option. Facing these menaces – affirmed the UN General Secretary – religious leaders and communities must encourage tolerance, peaceful living and nonviolence”. Ban Ki-moon underlined the importance of this event in a land marked with terrible religious and political conflicts. This big event ends on Sunday, May 17th, with a long march to the wall separating Israel.

Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa

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