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Worship in Beit Sahour

I was unaware until my trip to Israel in October 2016 that approximately 25% of Israelis are Arab. Arab Christians number among them, and we were honored to attend Mass at Our Lady of Fatima, a Catholic church in Beit Sahour, a Palestinian town just east of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The service was completely in Arabic, but the enthusiasm of the worshipers there and the warmth of their welcome for us touched my heart.



Hearing the words of the Mass spoken in a different language reminded me of the story of Pentecost found in Acts 2: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The Arab Christian population of Bethlehem and the surrounding area is dwindling because of the poverty and lack of opportunity there. Many are leaving in order to find a better life. It would be tragic to lose a Christian presence in the birthplace of Jesus.






42 comments:

  1. What a beautiful mural behind the altar of this church! I imagine the Arabic language you heard during the Mass is very similar to the language Jesus actually spoke.

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  2. I always enjoy reading about your trip. I want to make a slight correction. Currently, Jews account for about 75 percent of Israel's population, with the remaining 25 percent most Arab Muslims (with some Arab Christians and Druze).

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  3. Fabulous photo's. What a stunning church. The mural is beautiful.
    Thanks for hosting and allowing me to tag along on your trip :D

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  4. Beautiful pictures and lovely memories for you.
    I like Arabian language, my sweatheart's father came from Syria... And now, with all the refugees, come some Arabic Christs to Germany. But it is very hard for them to get a welcome in our churches :(
    I don't know, is that really a better life now - - -

    Today I've linked up my new blog for the color green in all its shadows. There I'm hosting a weekly linkup "Weekend Green". Glad, when you may my "Color of Hope" put to your linkup-Blogroll.
    Have a blessed new week

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  5. I envy your visit to Bethlehem. Beautiful church.

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  6. Churches seem so much more beautiful -- and sacred -- in countries other than the United States. I always get the feeling that religion is still an important part of many cultures, sadly, I am not sure I could say that about this country.

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  7. Did it feel spiritual there? When I visited Notre Dame, I recall feeling moved when I stood inside that church. cheers, KCD

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  8. Enjoying again this Post. Thank you for hosting. Wish you a very nice day.

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  9. What a beautiful church. Thanks for hosting and hoping you will visit me at NanaHood for a lasagna recipe today!

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  10. That's really interesting. I was also unaware....

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  11. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to go there.

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  12. It is a beautiful place of worship, but so sad that Christians are unable to prosper under the circumstances.

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  13. What an honour to be invited to a mass here. Beautiful and interesting. Thanks.

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  14. What lovely photos and a beautiful church I would love to attend mass in there :-)

    Nice post, have a tanfastic week :-)

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  15. Hi! What a nice trip you had! It's very interesting for me. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. I do enjoy visiting churches, whatever religion they are. There is such a feeling of peace within them. And time to just sit quietly. Have a fabulous week. And thanks again for the link up.

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  17. Beautiful photos as usual. I am learning so much about the Holy Land through your trip. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Lovely shots of your trip to Israel!

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  19. Beautiful silence welcoming church.
    Great deals on details.
    Greeting

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  20. I like the 1st photo of the church. Looks very homely.

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  21. Such a sad situation that so many have to leave. A beautiful place!

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  22. Such a beautiful church! What an experience to travel in Israel!

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  23. What beautiful carvings in front of the altar and that mural!!

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  24. Beautiful place and great comparison to the Day of Pentecost. So beautiful how we can be overcome by emotion even though we do not understand what we are hearing.

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  25. Lovely church! Educational post, thanks.

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  26. That church is beautiful! And what an amazing thing it must have been to hear the mass in Arabic!

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  27. How interesting, I'd like to attend mass in another country and in another language too. It was in Latin for so long growing up that I do appreciate hearing it in English still. There is a place downtown where it's in Spanish. That's very pretty and not too ornate.

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  28. Sue, what ornate church! I love the detailing and the mural! Oh, I agree I hate to hear a population of Christians are leaving the city. Hopefully for everyone that leaves a new convert is won for Christ who'll stay on in the city. Thanks for continuing to share your vacation photos!

    not-so WW Middle Prong Little River

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  29. What a beautiful church! Sounds like you had an amazing time in Israel. Loving the pictures the last couple weeks.

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  30. I've really been enjoying these posts from you Sue, they've been so interesting and I can imagine attending Mass and hearing it in another language was amazing to be a part of. This is a part of the world I definitely want to see someday. Love that final shot with the depiction of Christ on the back wall behind the alter. - Tasha

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  31. I hope you are considering making a photo book with the stories and the pictures. What a wonderful memory they would make.

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  32. Wow! How many weeks were you there for! I can't believe all the places you visited. Lucky you!

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    1. We were only there 10 days... one of which was in the air, so I suppose that doesn't really count. But they were full of activities. Many of the sights we saw were only a short distance from another. It was the most meaningful trip of my life.

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  33. What fabulous photos - there is so much to see in Israel, it's such a beautiful country.

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  34. Hi! The church is very beautiful. Your post is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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