Tag Archives: bingo

and the angels held their breath

25 Mar

z 070 Beit Jala Annunciation Church Greenberg 08

The Catholic parish in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) is the Church of the Annunciation. Today, March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, is the parish’s patronal feast day. Adding to the celebration is the fact that it is the birthday of their pastor, Father Ibrahim. A big day it was this year. The school children had a day off from classes. The teachers had a retreat day with Bishop Shomali. There was a special Mass. There was a parish dinner. And there was tembola – bingo! z 072a the Sanctuary

It is said that, when Gabriel appeared to Mary in Nazareth and asked Mary if she were willing to be the virgin mother of God’s own Son, there was a moment of suspense between the question and the answer – and the angels in heaven held their breath!

At tembola (bingo) after dinner today in Beit Jala at the Church of the Annunciation another angel of God, Jouelle, held her breath. She was waiting for number “19” to be called. She would have had a “full house” (a cover all). But someone else called “khallas” (stop) before her last number was called.

 Beit Jala feast day March 25, 2014 02

Jouelle, you did not win the prize at tembola. But I hope that seeing your picture on my blog helps you to feel better.

Now, get ready, Jouelle, to shout, because here comes …

Beit Jala feast day March 25, 2014 03

khallas!

12 Mar

bingo

In Beit Jala (Bethlehem) March 12 is Old Age Day or the Feast of Old People.

There probably is a better translation of the actual name of the day, but that is how my Palestinian friend, Waseim, refers to the occasion in English. To be fair to him, I would not be capable of translating and speaking about “Seniors Appreciation Day” in Arabic.

At the Catholic parish there is a gathering for those we call the seniors. The parish priest mingles with the group. Of course, there is lunch. And the tembola cards come out. Tembola is a Palestinian version of bingo. When they “bingo,” they yell, “Khallas (Stop, Enough, End).”

Along with the Mass, there are others things that seem to be universal in our Catholic Church: our love of older people, older people’s enjoyment of being in each other’s company, their commitment to their parish, their affection for their parish priest – and tembola!