The Franciscan Family Center was established in Bethlehem in 2004 to provide professional counseling to those Christian families who have suffered psychological trauma from the armed conflict in Bethlehem as well as providing educationally sponsored programs for children and adults. The Center collaborates with the Franciscan Latin Parish (St. Catherine‘s) in Bethlehem to promote services and assistance for Christian families.
FFC has also created programs for employment for the Bethlehem community as well as working with the marginalized Christian families to assist in upgrading their residences. The principal funding for the FFC comes from the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.
We strive to promote not only the development of strong family ties through mutual respect and support, but to restore and raise the dignity of families and individuals from both a spiritual and material perspective.
Our mission is to serve the community through education, faith sharing, building awareness and concern for each other through numerous programs offered by the Franciscan Family Center. We are here to uplift and restore dignity to the Christians of Bethlehem.
Traveling outside Bethlehem
is becoming increasingly problematic.
Restricted movement is adding to the suffering of those that need to
travel to work in Jerusalem
and its surroundings. Such conditions are causing further loss of jobs outside Bethlehem, while work opportunities in Bethlehem remain limited. Nevertheless, God’s grace shines over our big
project: The ‘Job Creation-House Renovation Project.’ Through it, many a young, married
bread-winner has been kept employed in order to sustain his family. This would not have been possible unless it
was for the generosity of our beloved benefactors.
In 2009 alone, this project provided for the renovation of
38 different houses. Throughout its 6
years of existence, this project funded the renovation of 276 separate
houses. In human terms, it translates
into providing 276 families with the essential dignity of being able to earn a
living through work. At present, we have
90 pending applications. As a rule, the
Center seeks to prioritize with families most urgently in need, in particular
those who live in paltry and restricted spaces, including having to live and
sleep all in one room, denied even a separate bathroom or kitchen.
In recent years, the Franciscan Family Center (FFC)
established a ‘Child Sponsorship Program’ thanks to the “Franciscan Foundation
for the Holy Land” (FFHL). This is necessary as many families are no
longer able to pay for their children’s tuition at Christian schools. As a result of acute unemployment during the
last few years, their limited incomes could only address the need for bare
Our Christian schools acquaint students with the values of
family life and those of a sharing society. Each school attempts to meet the needs of all
those who are deprived physically, morally or economically. Our curriculum prepares students to make the
right choices towards peace, solidarity and development as well as honing the
skills necessary for the work place including respect towards ethical and moral
Religious education remains one of the priorities of the
Christians living in the Holy Land. The Program seeks to encourage benefactors to
assist with the cost of tuition. At
present, we already help 70 boys and girls coming from low income
families. The Program strives to do this
with the knowledge that the only alternative is that our children would are
forced to attend government schools that follow a completely Muslim
curriculum. We do not wish to see
financial deprivation forcing our students to receive a curriculum that goes
against their religious culture.
Meanwhile, the Franciscan
is still providing counseling services on a daily basis for those looking for
refuge and respite. Also the Women’s Meeting has assumed wider dimensions.
The Marriage Preparation service is becoming increasingly
in demand with the result that, like last year, the course had to be organized
twice owing to the ever increasing demand of interested couples wanting to
Dear friends, I cannot but reiterate my sincere appreciation
and gratitude to all of you who support the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy
Land which in turn assists the many needs of the Franciscan Family
Center. Your kind support has been crucial and
rewarding. It has touched the lives of
so many families and has contributed immeasurably to their well-being and
Sr. Maria Grech FMM