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January 18, 2010

The Holy Land Co-ordination Group Visits Bethlehem University

An experience about the real hope for a better future

Better futureThe Holy Land Co-ordination group visits Bethlehem University, especially to engage in conversation with our students and faculty members, as part of their 10th annual solidarity visit to the people and Catholic church of the Holy Land.   The Holy Land Co-ordination, established in 1998 at the request of the Holy See, represents the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Europe and North America. The Bishops and members of their staff come to pray with the people of the Holy Land, seek to encourage pilgrimages from their home dioceses to the Holy Land, and to demonstrate solidarity with the people and local Church in the Holy Land by seeking effective action and intervention from politicians and governments to bring an end to the injustices that linger and cause the difficult socio-economic environment in the Holy Land.

The Holy Land Co-ordination annually visit with the students of Bethlehem University to listen and learn first-hand not only about some of the harsh realities of daily life under Israeli occupation, but also to know and experience the real hope for a better future that is evident in the hearts and minds of the students and faculty at Bethlehem University. Additionally, it has been the experience of the students who have been with the Bishops that they come to know the Bishops personally in their roles as shepherds of God’s people.

During their 12 January 2010 visit to Bethlehem University, two faculty members spoke of their personal and professional journeys – with an emphasis on their commitment to continually develop as professional academics and people of hope committed to the students entrusted to them. Ms. Vera Baboun, an English Department faculty member, spoke of the spark of curiosity she saw in the eyes of Ms. Raphaela Fischer Mourra when Raphaela was a student in some courses taught by Vera.  Vera then introduced Raphaela to the members of the Holy Land Co-ordination, noting that Raphaela, a June 2007 graduate from Bethlehem University, has now re-joined the Bethlehem University community as a member of the faculty having completed her Masters with highest honors from Georgetown University in Washington, DC in June 2009. Ms. Raphaela Fischer movingly shared parts of her own life journey which was warmly received by the Bishops and other Church leaders who then engaged in conversation with a number of the Student Ambassadors in small group settings.

As they concluded their 10th annual visit to the Holy Land, the Co-ordination group issued a statement in
which the representatives of the Bishops’ Conferences urged political leaders and people of goodwill to be courageous in seeking a just peace in the Holy Land and concluded in saying:
"Despite the wounds of this land, love and hope are alive.  Peace with justice is within reach, but political leaders and all people of goodwill need courage to achieve it."

Click here for more information about Ms. Raphaela Fischer

Click here for more pictures

Thank you to the following student ambassadors who hosted and welcomed this group:

  • Adel Ahmad
  • Ghadeer Sous
  • Rawan Hazboun
  • Jacoub Sleibi
  • Fida Mousa
  • Haya Mousa
  • Tamara Mousa
  • Saleem Salman
  • Mike Jackaman
  • John Tawil
  • Youssef Dali
  • Bushra Bannoura
  • Razan Bannoura
  • Bishara Nassar
  • Amira Isid

Greeted by:

  • Brother Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor
  • Brother Jack Curran, Development VP
  • Brother Robert Smith, Academic VP
  • Sister Cora Hinlo, spc, Interim Finance VP
  • Brother Joseph Lowenstein, V Chancellor Emeritus
  • Brother Cyril Litecky, Assistant to Vice Chancellor
  • Brother Neil Kieffe, Director of Instructional Technology
  • Mr. Philip Daoud, Alumni Officer
  • Sister Ruby Abellana, spc, Development Officer
  • Mr. Demitri Awwad, Guest Relations Assistant
  • Brother Peter Iorlano, Coordinator of Institutional Values
  • Brother Jean Manuel, English Department
  • Brother Michael F. Murphy, English Department
  • Ms. Vera Baboun, English Department
  • Ms. Raphaela Fischer Mourra (BU’07, GU’09), English Department
  • Mr. Nabil Mufdi, Director, Institute for Hotel Management and Tourism
  • Mr. Moussa Rabadi, Director, Institute for Community Partnership
  • Mr. Max Von Dawitz, PR and Development Assistant, German Association of the Holy Land

The full list of attendees is listed below:

  • Dr David RYALL, Assistant General Secretary, CBCEW
  • Alexander DesForges, Communications Director, CBCEW
  • Marcin Mazur, Photographer, CBCEW
  • Bishop Peter Bürcher, Head of the delegation of the Nordic Bishops Conference
  • Dr Stephen COLECCHI, Director, International J&P, USCCB
  • Mr. William O'Keefe, Senior Director for Advocacy Catholic Relief Services
  • Archbishop Patrick KELLY, Archbishop of Liverpool
  • Most Rev Gerald F KICANAS, Bishop of Tucson US Bishops’ Conference
  • Fr Paul LANSU, Pax Christi International  
  • Bishop William KENNEY, CP Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham
  • Fr. Duarte da Cunha, Secretary General CCEE
  • Mgr Michel DUBOST, Bishop of Evry, French Bishops' Conference
  • Most Rev. Pierre Morissette President, Canadian Bishops’ Conference
  • Mgr Mario Paquette, General Secretary, Canadian Bishops’ Conference
  • Bishop Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier and President of the German Commission for Justice and Peace (head of the delegation)
  • Mr. Ulrich Pöner, Director of the Dept. for International Church Affairs and Migration, German Bishops’ Conference
  • Mr. Hermann-Josef Grossimlinghaus, Executive Director of the Commission for International Church Affairs,
  • German Bishops’ Conference, Vice-President of the German Association of the Holy Land
  • Dr. Rudolf Solzbacher, Director of the Dept. for International Church Affairs and Mission, Archdiocese of Cologne,
  • Board Member of the German Association of the Holy Land
  • Mr. Matthias Kopp, Press Officer an Director of the Dept. for Communications, German Bishops’ Conference
  • Rev. Robert Pellerin
  • Timothy Livesey
  • Father Mark Madden
  • Mgr Peter Fleetwood
  • Joan-Enric VIVES Bishop of Urgell (Spain & Andorra) Spanish Bishops’ Conference
  • Daniele Rocchi, Press Officer SIR Servizio Informazione Religiosa
  • Ms Tracey McClure, Vatican Radio

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Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine