Dear fellow parishioners of the Latin Mass community of Miami, of America, and the global Catholic community,
I am upset with you. Some of you may know I am from Bethlehem (I have been attending since 2015). I have sought to connect the Catholic community of Bethlehem with that of America, but particularly in Miami (especially the Latin Mass), and it appears unsuccessfully. I would have thought that if not some of you would have gone to the Holy Land in person to help the situation, that at least the community would have prayed for Catholics of the West Bank and the Holy Land explicitly, but neither has been done. Instead everyone carved out their own lives forgetting about the living stones of Christianity and the holy sites. Even Raymond Arroyo ignored my communications back in 2017. Prayers have begun only now that there is a war with the horrendous death toll of 20k in Gaza, and indeed the international community has abandoned the Palestinians, and will continue to do so. Some of you may not know that the largest Roman Catholic community of Palestinians resides in Bethlehem (since the Crusader period) to this day. My parish is the Latin rite parish of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity (where all local family records and genealogies are archived). My family has a legal claim to land in the ecclesiastical court of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Israeli raids have begun in the West Bank (which includes Bethlehem) and today, Christmas Day, they targeted Bethlehem. Can you fathom a Holy Land without Christians? What would the crusaders, some of whom were even noblewomen from France, who died for the defense of the Christians and the holy sites, say to us today? Or what about the Franciscans who gave up their lives in the 1600’s so that we today could build a church and pray at the holy site of the Incarnation in Nazareth? Now that we have lost, or are about to lose, the holy sites, and the Christians, how is your faith? Can we live our faith in a vacuum in the absence of tactile reminders of the faith? It was in Bethlehem that the first family according to the design of God came to be. For two thousand years we Christians have had the tremendous grace of knowing where this spot was and being able to build a church and pray there. When pilgrims were not there to pray, my ancestors, the Palestinian Catholics of Bethlehem, were there to pray, making sure to preserve it.