More about Bethlehem
December 28, 2011

Since returning home I have read a newspaper article that reports much larger crowds than we saw. The article claims that 100,000 visitors packed the town, producing a turnout that was the highest in more than a decade.

I do not know how to reconcile the newspaper report with the more modest number – I would guess 2,000 at the most – that we saw in Manger Square from 3:00 to 6:00 PM.

It is true that I did not stay for the Midnight Mass conducted by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Church of the Nativity. Is it possible that as midnight approached, the crowd swelled in number to a much large size than was there at 6:00 PM? Or did the article give inflated numbers?

If I ever get to visit Bethlehem again on Christmas Eve, I would like to attend the Midnight Mass, if I can get in.