Loading
Vatican is the 'oil' keeping Bethlehem's star lit, mayor observes
Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun speaks with CNA in her office on May 24, 2014 Credit: Paul Fifield/CNA
Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun speaks with CNA in her office on May 24, 2014 Credit: Paul Fifield/CNA

.- The first woman mayor of the town where Jesus was born referred to the strong connection they have with the Vatican, explaining that the recent visit of Pope Francis is an opportunity to work for justice.

“All has started in Bethlehem. In Bethlehem the origin of the message of peace was resurrected to the world. In the Vatican it is the Church, St. Peter’s” Vera Baboun told CNA May 24, the day before Pope Francis was to celebrate Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square.

“This message of Bethlehem can remain empowered and sustained by the other identity in the Vatican,” she said. “It is a kind of relationship of connection, empowerment and keeping the star of Bethlehem enlightened.”

“In other words, the Vatican can be the oil to keep the star of Bethlehem enlightened.”

As a mother of five children and the first woman mayor in Bethlehem, the second in all of Palestine, Baboun has met with Pope Francis on two occasions prior to his visit to her country during his three day pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

Recalling her first meeting with the Roman Pontiff, the mayor explained that she was initially anxious, wondering if he remembered that in Bethlehem “we still exist as the living stones.” When giving him her gift, a small baby Jesus carved in Bethlehem by a local Palestinian artist, “I just said we are there, and he is there, and put it in his hands and said nothing.”

However during the second encounter when she accompanied Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in his audience with the Pope “It was different,” and although only the president spoke with him “the atmosphere now went beyond assurance.”

“It has to do with, we are all there together” she continued, stating that “you know Pope Francis is a man of the Gospel, par excellence. His saying, his acts, everything he does refers to the teachings in his simple manner.”

When the president received a pen from the pontiff, Baboun recalled that he told him “I will use your gift when signing the peace agreement” between Israel and Palestine, “and I pray we will sign this peace agreement.”

Pope Francis’ reactions, the mayor recounted, “were really the reactions of a spiritual and human leader. And that is very important for me as the mayor of Bethlehem. We’re not alone.”

Expressing her expectations for the visit, Baboun noted that “it’s very difficult” to say because the answer also depends on other people.

“Our expectations are our dreams. All of us live a lack of peace, and usually when you have a lack your dream is to fulfill the lack” she noted, “but the one who will fulfill the dream is not only us… more than one player must work in order to make our expectation a reality.”

“We are not living the peace that we deserve and it is important to note that Bethlehem gave the message of peace to the whole world” and is “the only nation up until now under” Israeli occupation she observed. “Isn’t that ironic?”

“For me the expectation is to put an end to that irony.”

Reflecting on the words she would say to the Pope in her meeting with him ahead of Sunday’s Mass in the city’s Manger Square, Baboun explained that she would tell him that “Although your visit is religious and spiritual, it is to the Holy Land. Your motto is the motto of oneness. Let it be one.”

“However the Holy Land, the land of the three faiths, doesn’t really live the practice of the real faith” the mayor noted, so “What I would tell him is for peace, we need courageous hearts. We need someone who masters speaking truth with a heart that is really brave.”

“An ability to speak the truth. I would ask him is to say clearly that we need to live in justice. We need to be included.”

Calling to mind how Pope Francis himself said that “we need to work to restore hope and to include the excluded,” the mayor stated that “We are excluded from justice. What I would ask him is to work to include us within justice.”


Alan Holdren contributed to this piece.

Tags: Peace, Justice, Bethlehem, Pope Francis in Holy Land


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
31

Liturgical Calendar

July 31, 2014

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Gospel
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 18: 1-6
Gospel:: Mt 13: 47-53

Saint of the Day

St. Ignatius of Loyola »

Saint
Date
07/28/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Homily
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: