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25 March, 2011

Terra Sancta Pilgrimage Group from the Diocese of Little Rock Arkansas Visit with The Bethlehem University Community

Terra SanctaSaturdays are in general a day of rest for Bethlehem University students but on the 19th   of March many decided to alter their plans to welcome and meet a Little Rock, Arkansas pilgrimage group, led by Fr. Alex Kratz, which came to visit the holy city of Bethlehem. Staff, faculty and thirty student ambassadors from Bethlehem University spent a lovely evening at the Paradise hotel in Bethlehem where they interacted and conversed with each other before sharing a delicious meal.

Father Alex Kratz, a dear friend of Bethlehem University and a frequent visitor, along with Bishop Terra SanctaAnthony Basil Taylor and some one hundred and forty guests were all happy for the opportunity to hear firsthand stories from Palestinian students. Br. Peter Bray Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University welcomed the group to the city and expressed his gratitude for their interest in the university and in particular of their desire to learn more about the Palestinian society and hear from the students. Br. Jack Curran - VP of Development and Guest Relations Officer Demitri Awwad were also present throughout the evening. On the faculty side, Ms. Vera Baboun of the Faculty of Education, and a lecturer on gender issues joined along with Ms. Nancy Elias, a faculty member close to completing her doctoral studies, also part of the Educational Faculty.

Terra SanctaDemitri Awwad believed the visit of the group, and the entire event was well worth every minute, saying “On Monday morning, I had many students coming to my office and say what a wonderful group it was, and how it was a great evening. I always say that when people from any place or background come here to hear our students speak and express their feelings, dreams, that alone is a huge contribution.”
Fr. Alex Kratz, who has been working diligently in supporting the living stones of the Holy Land, brings many groups to Palestine in order to familiarize them with the local communities and to offer support and encouragement to the Palestinian Christians living there, including providing invaluable support for graduate students at Bethlehem University. No dabbler, Fr. Alex, a Notre Dame Alumnus, has devoted much of his time to learning Arabic as well as the history, geography and cultures of the region. He loves to be called Abuna Alex (Father in Arabic), in the local tradition. His bio and more information about the program can be seen by clicking here. This particular group came to Palestine during a special pilgrimage which honored the 100th Anniversary of the Arkansas Catholic Newspaper.

Terra SanctaIt seems at the end regardless of whether those on the table were from a small town in Oklahoma, or a small village neighboring Bethlehem, all had one thing in common, love for life, and a love of laughter, which echoed throughout the dining hall.




Terra SanctaTerra Sancta


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