To encourage local talents in the field of composing religious hymns, the Catechetical Office of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem organized a competition between Christian schools in Jerusalem and the Palestinian areas on this topic.
Twenty-one schools from the three regions participated in the competition, namely:
Jerusalem: Sisters of St. Joseph School, Terra Santa, Our Lady of the Pillar, Schmidt, the Coptic school martyr Damiana, Lasallian Brothers school with its two branches.
Ramallah: The Arab Episcopal Evangelical school, Latin Patriarchate (Al-Taybe – Nablus- Ramallah), Lutheran school, Our Lady of Annunciation for the Greek Catholics.
Bethlehem: Latin Patriarchate - Beit Jala, Sisters of St. Joseph, Lutheran school Dar Al Kalima, of Rosary Sisters, Greek Catholic school - Beit Sahour, Talita Qumi - Beit Jala.
A committee was formed of specialists to evaluate these hymns, namely: Father Armando Perucchi, the Franciscan founder and president of the Music Institute “Magnificat” in Jerusalem, Father Najeeb Ibrahim, who is also from the Franciscan Order and editor-in-chief of the magazine “Peace and good” issued monthly by the Franciscan Fathers Press in Jerusalem and Mrs. Hania Sudah Sabbara is a director and teacher at the aforementioned institute.
The Catechetical office organized three celebrations according to regions (Ramallah, December 27, 2007; Jerusalem, December 28, 2007; Bethlehem, December 29, 2007) to announce the winners in each region and distribute prizes to those who deserve it. students from each school performed the hymn that entered the competition, and at the end of the ceremony, the jury announced the results, distributed the prizes to the winners.
This Christmas was so special for the schools, students, their teachers and families,
this initiative was the first of its kind in the region. To keep the memory of this festival alive the Catechetical office documented the three celebrations, in CD & DVD format, and distributed them to schools and students.
Sr. Virginie Habib