Rosaries from Bethlehem for the youth to pray for peace in the world
A wonderful gift from Pope Francis in Panama.
Pope Francis has invited the youth of the world to pray for world peace. Young people from all over the world received a rosary produced in the Holy Land in the pilgrim kit handed out to the World Youth Day pilgrims. The rosaries, which can be worn as bracelets, include a cross with, "Bethlehem" written on one side and, "JMJ 2019" on the other. After a journey of 12,000 kilometers, one million rosaries in total have reached the participants of the WYD as a gift from the Holy Father.
These rosaries of Bethlehem will have a special role during the final Mass on Sunday, January 27, when the Holy Father, at the conclusion of the ceremony, will entrust theyoung people to Our Lady of Peace. Pope Francis will ask the young people to raise their rosaries and make an act of commitment to pray for peace in the world.
AVEJMJ was founded by the Swiss Saint-Jean-Marie Vianney Association of Lausanne and implemented by Caritas Jerusalem. It was initiated and promoted by the bishop emeritus of Reykjavik, Iceland, Mons. Peter Burcher.
The project has given opportunities and jobs to 300 families in the Bethlehem area for months. As explained by Daoud Fawadleh of Caritas Jerusalem, this project "has changed the lives of people.” For example, it has allowed young students to pay for the costs of their studies with money they earned making rosaries over the summer. It has also, "created job opportunities for people with disabilities or special needs."
On August 31, 2018, Mgr. José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, visited some of the 21 workshops in Bethlehem to see first-hand the different stages in the production of the rosaries. This process includes slicing the olive wood, which has been pruned from olive trees in the West Bank, producing the beads, polishing, threading, packing each finished rosary into cellophane with a picture of Pope Francis, and, finally, counting and packing the rosaries into cartons to be shipped to Panama.
Tahrir, one of the people who produces the rosaries, said after that visit, "When I think that these olive wood rosaries of Bethlehem will be in a million homes around the world, I thank God that I am so lucky to be working on this project."