An appeal to Christians all over the world to return to visit the Holy Land has been launched through Vatican Radio by Fr Ibrahim Faltas, Franciscan Custos of the the Basilica of the Nativity. Fr Ibrahim said: "Pilgrims have not been visiting for at least three years. Seventy-five percent of the population of Bethlehem work in the area of tourism which has been at a stand still. You can imagine the situation, especially the economic situation of the people which is truly dramatic". He said: "I want to make an appeal to Christian all over the world to return as pilgrims to the Holy Land. This assistance is very helpful and is a great support for the people. It is a great help and a very strong encouragement for the local Christians, remembering that nothing has ever happened to a pilgrim". "Conquer your fear and return to the Holy Land. You must pray for us and visit our children who are in difficulty and feel badly. When a brother doesn't feel well, you go to visit him". Source: VID (VID arose from the International Conference of Young Religious Rome, 1997, whose slogan was VIDIMUS DOMINUM)
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