.- A leader of one of the Boy Scout troops manning the entrances to Pope Francis’ Mass in Bethlehem today explained that the volunteers came from all over in order to join the pontiff in praying for peace.
“Now we came, all of us, to pray with our Pope, praying for peace. We’re praying for justice, to be and to give for everybody” George Zenee explained to CNA May 25.
Zenee hails from Palestine and is a senior member and leader of the Boy Scouts of Terra Santa College in Bethlehem, a school which is run by the Franciscan Custody, whose mission is to safeguard the holy sites of the Catholic faith.
The group, along with various other troops, were among the 200 local volunteers who assisted pilgrims and checked tickets during Pope Francis’ Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square earlier this morning, which was intended primarily for inhabitants of the Palestinian region.
Speaking of the significance of Pope Francis’ presence in his homeland, the Boy Scout leader observed that “the visit of the Pope will have many meanings for us.”
“The Pope, he is the father of the poor people. He is honest in his message, the message of our Lord Jesus, the message of love and peace” he noted, describing how the pontiff’s presence is particularly important for those suffering due to the conflict between Palestine and Israel.
“Everybody is looking for this visit to give us more hope of staying on our land. A land where our Jesus was, and that’s very important for us, to see very soon peace in our country.”
Dating back to the end of the 19th century, the conflict originally developed as two key nationalist movements amongst the Arabs and the Jews attempted to gain sovereignty in the Middle East. Tensions erupted into violence between the parties during the Civil War of 1947 – 1948, and continues to this day.
Noting how there are many who have left the area due to the ongoing tensions, the boy scout leader explained that “There are many Palestinians living all over the world, and for that we are praying with our Pope to see if he puts peace in our area.”
“We like to see our flag, we like to see our passport, we like to see our freedom, we like see our state, we like to see our capitol and in the end we say we are all human beings” he said, “we don’t like to make any troubles or war.”
Zenee stated that he believes peace is coming “someday,” but “that’s not easy. Because today we have troubles all over the world, and many crazy things happen all over the world.”
“And we pray for the leaders of the government to change their policy, and how to give more hope to their people” he said, noting that “From the time of our Lord he worked, from before the time of 2,014 years we have been praying for peace and for that strength.”
“If peace doesn’t come from our God, then it’s not easy to do it with the people.”