BEIT JALA – Area of Bethlehem: On Tuesday 17 February 2015 the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem presided over blessing of the cornerstone of Pope Francis Center for Youth

The ceremony was presided by His Beatitude Mgr Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in presence of his Vicar Mgr William Shomali, Vicar in Israel Mgr Boulos Marcuzzo, of Administrator General Fr Imad Twal, of Chancellor Fr George Ayyoub, of Beit Jala Mayor Mr Nicolas Khamis, as well as a crowd of priests, Patriarchate staffers and friends from all over the world, local public figures, without omitting of course mediamen who came to cover this important event.

The Center will be constructed in the town of Beit Jala, at 1.5 kms away from Bethlehem’s Basilica of the Nativity. The project consists of restoring an impressive historical building known previously “St Therese House for Students”, adding there to a 3-storey wing. Buildings which will cover altogether an area of 3 840 sq.m., if we take into consideration the external spaces (gardens, parking lots for vehicles and buses).

The aim of this project is to construct a center designed to welcome local and international youth, securing for them an ample space for their activities and meetings. The project involves the refurbishing of 56 rooms meant to host young pilgrims for a lesser cost, a dining room, a meeting hall, a chapel and other external spaces (gardens and parking lots).

The new Center represents a noteworthy source of job creating opportunities for Christians of Beit Jala, Bethlehem and suburbs.

The ending stage of the works is scheduled for end 2015, so that the house will be able to open its doors in early 2016.

Firas Abedrabbo