Connections With Msgr. Peter: O Little Town of Bethlehem

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.

When they saw this, they made known about the message that had been told them about this child.

All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

(Lk 2:15-20)

Adorned with twinkling lights and a Christmas tree, Manger Square in Bethlehem served as the backdrop for Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari’s monthly livestream, in which he reminded viewers of the significance of this sacred place and the role of Christians in fostering a “better world.”

“Here we are in Bethlehem, where the Word became flesh, of course, when Mary of Nazareth said yes,” he told viewers on 21 December.

“Bethlehem is where our story begins as Christians, as Catholics,” and where Christians and the church, including CNEWA and Pontifical Mission, continue to work and bear witness today.

This December episode of “Connections With Msgr. Peter” from Bethlehem featured special guests Father Ibrahim Faltas, O.F.M., custodial vicar of the Holy Land, and three staff members of CNEWA’s Jerusalem office — Joseph Hazboun, regional director, Rodolf Saadeh, projects manager for Palestine, and Laura Tarazi, grants and reports writer.

Ms. Tarazi said CNEWA’s programming in the Holy Land reaches beyond the individual institutions it serves and impacts the broader Palestinian and Israeli societies. She explained these programs “serve the majority” of the population, which means 90 percent of beneficiaries are non-Christian.

“It’s not just a service provider. These institutions support employment, they support training opportunities for young people, those that are going to university, those that are going to vocational training,” she said. “These institutions support the local economy.”

Msgr. Vaccari arrived in Jerusalem on 20 December, after a visit to CNEWA’s Beirut office. While in Jerusalem, he has visited CNEWA-supported programs. He also met with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, and with Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.

With Christmas approaching, Msgr. Vaccari reminded viewers to keep the vulnerable in their hearts and prayers.

“It’s most appropriate that we mention it here, as we prepare for Christmas, to protect, to give assistance and aid to all victims of human trafficking, especially children,” he said.

“Here we stand, where the child of Bethlehem came to initiate his own God-driven revolution,” he continued. “We are part of that revolution: to be instruments of hope, to be instruments of healing, to be instruments where we can try to make this a better world.”

Msgr. Vaccari is expected to concelebrate Midnight Mass with Archbishop Pizzaballa in Bethlehem. The Mass will be livestreamed here on 24 December at 4:20 p.m. EST.

Midnight Mass intentions can be sent to

“Connections With Msgr. Peter” airs monthly. The next program will take place in mid-January. Stay tuned to find out where Msgr. Vaccari will be livestreaming from next!

For information on CNEWA events in the new year, such as the inaugural Golf Classic on 18 May, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact

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