The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem
By Lisa Zengarini
Dec 9 2023
In a message addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Pope Francis expresses his hope that newly released “Hear Angels Cry” Christmas song may inspire solidarity, and to pray for peace and reconciliation in war-ravaged Holy Land.
Pope Francis has expressed his appreciation for a fundraising song produced by a British band and a Palestinian Christian on Jesus’ Nativity, meant to convey the message that the light of hope irradiated by the Manger Square in Bethlehem will persist amid war and destruction in the Holy Land.
Proceeds from “Hear Angels Cry” for families in Gaza
“Hear Angels Cry” is a collaboration between singer Youstina Safar, a resident of Bethlehem and a student at Bethlehem University, and the London-based band Ooberfuse, and was produced in partnership with John Handal, a music producer from Bethlehem.
All proceeds will go to families enduring war in the Gaza Strip, benefiting in particular children who are paying the highest price of the ongoing the conflict ravaging the Palestinian enclave .
In a message addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), Pope Francis commended the song for drawing attention to “the sublime significance of the city where Jesus Christ was born.”
The message, sent on his behalf by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, holds up the Holy Land as the place that was home to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and therefore, “called to be a place of encounter, dialogue and hope for all.”
A shard of light in the darkness of war
According to singer Youstina Safar Hear Angels Cry aims to provide a shard of light in the darkness of war: “In the midst of despair, our song stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of hope in Bethlehem,” she explained.
Palestinian Christian leaders and the Municipality of the West Bank town have decided to call off all Christmas festivities this year as a mark of solidarity with their brethren suffering in Gaza, and to pray for peace in the Holy Land.
“While the traditional Christmas displays may dim this year in remembrance of lives lost in Gaza, our voices unite to affirm that hope will never succumb to darkness,” said Youstina Safar.
Pope: may the song inspire solidarity, and to pray for peace in the Holy Land
In his message, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the song, now available on Youtube, and on Spotify and Apple Music platforms, ”will inspire many people this Christmas to pray for a new flourishing of fraternal solidarity, reconciliation and peace in the Holy Land.”
Fundraising efforts for the suffering in the Holy Land can be supported by buying the song via Amazon. Proceeds will go to Friends of the Holy Land, a UK charity which is also registered in Palestine. Through its office in Bethlehem, it can get urgent and personalised aid to the families most in need in Gaza and the West Bank.