of Peace" Planned in Bethlehem:
||Pilgrims Will Welcome the
Jubilee Year in Shepherds' Field
BETHLEHEM, 12 DEC 1999 (ZENIT) Pilgrims from 80 countries are expected to gather in Shepherds' Field
near Bethlehem for a prayer vigil on Christmas Eve. Organizers are calling
the event, whose high point will be the Midnight Mass of Latin Patriarch
Michel Sabbah, broadcast on giant screens, the "Night of Peace."
Pilgrims in the field where the angels announced the birth of the
Christ Child to the shepherds will also be able to watch Pope John Paul II
open the Holy Door of the Vatican Basilica on these screens. The event
will end with fireworks to celebrate the beginning of the Holy Year and a
festive Middle-Eastern meal.
Organizers expect 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend the free event,
though Shepherds' Field can hold 3 to 4 times this number, if needed. All
texts will be translated into Arabic and English, with the more important
messages translated into Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, and French as well. The
event is being organized by the Confraternity of Notre Dame of France,
which can be contacted for more information, posters, or brochures at firstname.lastname@example.org
"We are pleased with your initiative and we encourage you to
continue, knowing that it will enhance our own Jubilee celebrations,"
stated Fr. Robert Fortin, General Secretary for the Jubilee of the
Assembly of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, in a letter to the
organizers. "Among other things, by organizing an extraordinary
ceremony at the Shepherd's Field, at Beit Sahour, you are making it
possible for many faithful who will not be able to attend the Mass at the
Basilica of the Nativity to take an active part in a prayerful and
memorable way, in the Opening of the Great Jubilee."