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Speech therapists at the Paul VI Ephpheta Institute in Bethlehem teach hearing-impaired children to speak.   (photo: Steve Sabella) 

Palestine consists of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and has a total population of around 4.8 million people. About 2 million live in Gaza, and 2.8 million live in the West Bank. The Christian population is under 50,000, of whom around 1,300 are in Gaza.

Currently, the Palestinian Authority governs 38 percent of the West Bank with some degree of control over internal security and civilian-related matters. Israel exercises full civil and military control of 62 percent of the West Bank, especially in those areas with a high concentration of settlers, who numbers as many as 500,000 people.

High unemployment and poverty affect the Palestinians. Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip lack access to basic health care, food, potable water, education and other services as the political and economic situation continues to remain unstable.

The churches in Palestine are tiny, yet their outreach to the peoples of the West Bank and Gaza is huge. Thanks to your support, Pontifical Mission provides scholarships to university students; educates deaf children, teaching them to speak; supports youth activities, such as scout groups and Catholic youth organizations; provides health care to the poorest of the poor; refurbishes schools, churches and community centers; and coordinates worldwide Catholic aid activities.