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16 November, 2012
10:25 p.m., Bethlehem, Palestine

An Update from Bethlehem University on Violence in the Region

A letter from Brother Jack Curran, Vice President for Development

Dear Graduates and Friends of Bethlehem University,

Reportedly, as per the news reports and an email warning I just received from the US Consulate in Jerusalem, there was one rocket from Gaza that landed someplace south of Jerusalem or Bethlehem -- or Beit Jala -- or Beit Sahour. I'm not sure where, exactly, but it was reportedly someplace south of Bethlehem University -- and it was reportedly one rocket.

I certainly do not want to down play the seriousness of this situation. It is serious, and unfortunately, it is deadly serious.  Too many lives have been lost and too much trauma has been experienced and endured among all people here in this Holy Land. Right now, for sure people are understandably a bit on edge. When mothers and fathers put their children to sleep tonight, their night prayers and kisses for pleasant dreams will for sure be more meaningful.

Here at Bethlehem University today, on campus we held classes, but there was a somber sort of mood. When I asked some faculty and staff "how are you doing" the reply was most of the time something like: "Not so good, really" ... "I hope this doesn't mean a war is upon us" ... "Brother, it's so sad" ... "Kids are being killed, it's terrible" ... things like this.

Tomorrow, Saturday, 2 representatives from USAID were scheduled to come to campus to see the new education building to which they contributed and which we are dedicating on Wednesday, 28 November 2012. They came from the States and have been in Tel Aviv for a few days now. They were scheduled to come to campus here in Bethlehem tomorrow, Saturday, but I just got word this evening (Friday) around 8:20 p.m. that they are not coming tomorrow. It really is not a surprise that they cancelled, given what is going on and the uncertainty of things, etc.  I really thought they would have cancelled much earlier in the day.

However, tomorrow, Saturday, here at Bethlehem University we will have a "make-up" day of classes. This has been planned before the Israeli-Gaza violence escalated a few days ago. This is to make up some class time for some class time that was lost earlier in the semester for various reasons. Even though it is Saturday, for academic purposes it will be a "Tuesday class schedule."

This is good that we are having a "make up" day tomorrow, on Saturday. It keeps us focused on what we can do and what we can "control" -- and what we are all about -- not politics, but education and working for a better tomorrow through the education of the minds and hearts of the students entrusted to our care today! Having classes tomorrow, Saturday, will keep the students and faculty away from the TV and the constant barrage of "news" -- and that can be a good thing too.

Let's continue praying for restraint among all involved in the violence. The violence does not lead anyone to a better place today or tomorrow.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Your notes of concern and support are well-received and appreciated. THANKS -- and God bless us all!

Blessings,

Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD
Vice President for Development


A Prayer to Our Lady of Palestine

O Mary Immaculate, gracious Queen of Heaven and of Earth, behold us prostrate before thy exalted throne. Full of confidence in thy goodness and in thy boundless power, we beseech thee to turn a pitying glance upon Palestine, which more than any other country belongs to thee, since thou hast graced it with thy birth, thy virtues and thy sorrows, and from there hast given the Redeemer to the world.

Remember that there especially thou wert constituted our tender Mother, the dispenser of graces. Watch, therefore, with special protection over thy native country, scatter from it the shades of error, for it was there the Sun of Eternal Justice shone. Bring about the speedy fulfilment of the promise, which issued from the lips of Thy Divine Son, that there should be one fold and one Shepherd.

Obtain for us all that we may serve the Lord in sanctity and justice during the days of our life, so that, by the merits of Jesus and with thy motherly aid, we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem to the splendours of the heavenly one.

Amen.

Bethlehem University Foundation
Email: brds@bufusa.org
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
E-mail: info@bethlehem.edu
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine