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Christmas 2001

A message from the Franciscans of the Holy Land

"If you too had only recognized on this day the way to Peace!" (Lk 19,42).

Dearest Brothers and Sisters, the message of the Angels to the shepherds: "Glory to God in the Highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours" (Lk 2, 14) resounds forcefully on this night.

It radiates forth in particular from Bethlehem and from all the countryside of Jesus, where violence and war currently predominate. The people of this region who are weary and sorely tried, bear nostalgia in their hearts for that that song of peace which sadly has not yet been realized.

We the Franciscans of the Holy Land, guardians of the Grotto of Bethlehem, where the "Lord of Peace" was born, wish to continue to be "witnesses and instruments of the peace of Christ", in order to bring concord and unity among peoples.

On this Holy Night, we ask you to unite yourselves with our prayer in asking the Child Jesus and Mary his mother, "Queen of Peace", that the walls of intolerance, egoism and arrogance that divide the children on the Most High God, Father of Mercy, be knocked down.

May the Lord grant to this land and to all nations dedicated men and women who take seriously the way of peace, that peace is the gift that the Spirit of the Father has placed in the hands of the Child Jesus and ours, and offered to all. May this peace not remain hidden from the eyes of the world!

To everyone we extend that wish that the greeting of St. Francis may become a reality: Peace to you and to all!

Merry Christmas!

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Created / Updated Sunday, December 23, 2001 at 02:41:17 by John Abela ofm
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