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POPE JOHN PAUL SPEAKS ON THE PHONE
WITH THE FRIARS IN BETHLEHEM

BETHLEHEM 15.04.2002 - 19.00

At 3.00 pm (Rome time) His Holiness Pope John Paul II personally spoke on the phone with the Franciscan Friars Custodians of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This news was transmitted by Vatican Radio in the english news bulletin of 6.00pm and taken up by various news agencies.

The Pope, according to Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, responsible for the Nativity Shrine, exclaimed: "Courage, continue to resist and safeguard the Holy Shrines". He also stressed "I am happy to hear that you will be faithful in the mission to safeguard of the Holy Sites. Thank you." All the franciscan fraternity, made up of 40 friars (of which 20 are young philosophy students) and the 4 franciscan nuns were filled with renewed enthusiasm feeling confirmed in their mission to "safeguard" the Site of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

We reached the Custos, Fr. Giovanni Battistelli, by phone and he immediately expressed his immense gratitude. The Holy Father, once more, shows his paternal care towards the Franciscan Fraternity of Bethlehem and to all the Custody of the Holy Land.

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Created / Updated Monday, April 15, 2002 at 22:30:23 by John Abela ofm
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