Belén 2023

Posted On 2024-01-01 In Church - Francis - Movements, Covenant Life

There are 123,333 names on the parchment in the grotto of Bethlehem

HOLY LAND, Maria Fischer •

“And our heart tonight is in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace continues to be rejected by the losing logic of war, with the roar of weapons that also today prevent him from finding an inn in the world (cf. Lk 2:7),” Pope Francis told us on Christmas Eve. Not only our heart, I thought. Also our name. Our names, sent during Advent (or already before) to the monks of Dormitio Abbey in Jerusalem, who, as they did years ago, wrote these names on a large parchment that they would take, on Christmas Eve itself, to the grotto of Bethlehem. To the place where Jesus was born… “for my house, for my city, for my people, for the whole world,” as we pray with Blessed Cardinal Eduardo Pironio. —

As always, on we spread the “Christmas Campaign” of the Benedictines. During my visit to Argentina, on our way to the Children’s House in Florencio Varela, I shared it with Gabriela Sarquis. What a joy to learn a few days before Christmas that she really managed to write down the names of all 300 children of the Casa del Niño. These 300 children who with so much love prepared the Christmas tree for the Child Jesus found themselves on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem… surrounding the Child like those simple shepherds on that Holy Night… With them, my recently deceased uncle, his widow on her first Christmas without him after 60 years, my brothers and nephews, my friends, the faithful collaborators of, my co-workers (none of them Christian but in need of Christ…).

In the early hours of Christmas morning, December 25, I find in my mailbox a greeting from the Holy Land. And without much further ado, I share it for those who sent their names and those of their loved ones and for those who did not and who perhaps will do so in 2024.


Dear participants of our Christmas Campaign 2023,

there was no place for them in the inn (cf. Luke 2:7). “But God found a place for them. […] God found it through the shepherds, the angels, through Mary. This is also an indication for us this year” (Patriarch Pierbattista Cardinal Pizzaballa, Jerusalem).

We too, followed in the footsteps of the angels and the shepherds in this Holy Night. With the large scroll of names in our hands. On foot through the dark night, through a Bethlehem pressed down by the nearby war. Silent night. – And we found a place for the scroll with your names. For your prayers and intentions, and ours: At the star in the grotto of the Church of the Nativity. The visit to the Holy Child in the manger in Bethlehem is all the more moving and touching this year.

There are 123.333 names on the scroll.

Among them are the names and nameless representatives of the victims of the current war – Christians, Jews, Muslims, people of other religions.

We stood with them and you at the manger. Thank you for your trust, thank you for your prayers that transcend borders!

Thank you also very much for the donations that have reached us! In the end it was 193.938,44 Euros.

We will use the donations for the upkeep of our International Youth and Disabled Meeting Place Beit Noah in Tabgha and for our longtime partner organizations in the Bethlehem area, so that people on the margins of society can always find a place for rest and peace in Tabgha.

We wish you and your families and loved ones a blessed Christmas season and God’s good blessing for a hopefully peaceful New Year 2024!

Yours and one in our Lord Jesus Christ,

your Benedictine monks in Tabgha and on Mount Zion.

We will publish, in October 2024, the details of the Christmas Campaign 2024.

Photos of Christmas Eve 2023


Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer

Tags : , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *