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Br Jack Curran FSC in Vatican City this week (Vatican Media)

A Bethlehem University official has appealed for prayers and assistance, with the Israel-Hamas war causing “extraordinary” difficulties for its students. Source: Vatican News. 

Fr Jack Curran FSC, Bethlehem University’s Vice-President for Advancement, is in Rome for a meeting of aid agencies serving the Eastern Catholic Churches.

He spoke to Vatican News’ Fr Adrian Danca about the toll that the Israel-Hamas war is exacting on students at BU, and ways that staff are trying to adapt.

Br Curran said that the situation for students at BU has been “really quite difficult for many years”, but that problems have “intensified extraordinarily” since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October last year.

He stressed, in particular, the lack of ability to enter and leave the West Bank or move from town to town within it.

To arrive in Bethlehem from Jerusalem, where 40 per cent of BU students live, Br Jack noted – a journey of just eight kilometres – was “impossible for five months.”

Br Curran said that this situation had forced Bethlehem University’s faculty and staff to “find new ways to engage the students.”

This meant, he said, focusing on the essentials of their mission: “To provide a human and Christian education to the students”, forming their character and helping make them better citizens.

He said that their goal was to nurture within their students the mindset that “the future is a future of hope.”

Sometimes, he noted, this is quite difficult: “The intensity of the psychological pressure on our students and on our faculty is a great concern”.

For this reason, he said, “we’re trying to do what we can to maintain normalcy as best as possible, and to attend to the psychological and academic concerns of our students.”

Asked how individuals can support the work of Bethlehem University, Br Curran said that there is an “urgent need” for both prayer and concrete solidarity.

“This mission that we have as the only Catholic University in the Holy Land,” Br Curran concluded, “is amazingly important. It’s a great place for the Church to be.”


Students at Bethlehem University facing “extraordinary” difficulties (By Joseph Tulloch and Fr Adrian Danca, Vatican News)