Connections With Msgr. Peter: Welcoming the Prince of Peace

Although Manger Square stands empty of a tree and civic festivities have been muted in Bethlehem this Christmas season, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari traveled to the Church of the Nativity to host “Connections With Msgr. Peter” in the grotto where Christ is believed to have been born.

The latest installment, which aired on 21 December, welcomed Joseph Hazboun, regional director of CNEWA-Pontifical Mission’s Jerusalem office, and Father Rami Asakrya, O.F.M., pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church in Bethlehem.

“This is the feast that we are about to celebrate: the feast of Christmas,” said Msgr. Vaccari. “And so, we bring you here. We bring you here to the place where the Prince of Peace was born.”

“But pause for a moment. Think of the condition in our world. The peace in the world. The peace in this region here, which has been so disrupted by violence,” he continued.

During his time in the Holy Land, Msgr. Vaccari visited the Collège de Frères in Jerusalem, a school for 600 students run by the De La Salle Brothers and supported in part by CNEWA. There, a kindergarten class sang a moving song, in which they ask to “receive their childhood back.”

Prior to recording “Connections,” Msgr. Vaccari and Mr. Hazboun visited Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. The hospital covers the majority of maternal health care costs for patients who cannot afford care, relying on donations from organizations, such as CNEWA-Pontifical Mission, said Mr. Hazboun.

CNEWA also supports catechism classes for children and youth, pastoral ministry and leadership programs in the Holy Land. Since “thousands of people are now without income” in Bethlehem due to the war and its effect on the tourism industry, CNEWA’s support of these programs is all the more important, said Mr. Hazboun.

Msgr. Vaccari asked listeners to consider their role in the mystery of the Incarnation amid the struggles for peace and justice in the Holy Land and throughout the world.

“Our role is to be united to that mystery and to become agents of hope,” he said.

“We thank you for joining us on this occasion, where we come to honor where the Prince of Peace was born, and the only one who is going to restore peace to broken hearts, to broken countries and to broken families.”

Olivia Poust is assistant editor of ONE.

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