.- Supporters of Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem will launch an internet Advent calendar to help the world learn more about the patients and staff at the maternity hospital located only 500 yards from what is traditionally considered the birthplace of Jesus.
“So many families have come to know Holy Family Hospital as the birthplace of hope because they know that no one ever arrives at its doors to hear, ‘there is no room,’” Colleen Marrotta, executive director of the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation, said Nov. 28.
“We hope visitors will use the calendar as they prepare for Christmas. In the process, they will learn about the important work of the hospital,” she said. “Doctors and staff save the lives of thousands of mothers and babies annually. And they provide the highest-quality medical care without regard to race, religion or ability to pay.”
The U.S.-based foundation’s website will launch the Advent calendar Dec. 2 and unlock new content daily through Christmas. It will offer videos that introduce internet visitors to the hospital, its staff, its patients and its mobile medical outreach. The calendar will also feature reflections from Catholic priests, vowed religious, writers and bloggers.
The calendar’s photos aim to show how the hospital helps one of the poorest, most war-torn areas of the world.
The French Daughters of Charity opened the hospital in 1885 with an accompanying orphanage. They were forced to close in 1985 because of economic, social and political pressures.
Pope John Paul II asked the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to reopen the hospital. The hospital has delivered over 55,000 babies since it reopened as a maternity and gynecological hospital in 1990. It has the only neonatal intensive care unit in the West Bank.
The 150-employee hospital recruits and trains native-born medical professionals and midwives to meet its staffing needs. It also operates a mobile medical clinic to care for women and their families, many of whom lack access to running water and sanitation.
The website for hospital’s foundation and the Advent calendar can be found at: birthplaceofhope.org.