Hospitality of pilgrims: Casa Nova
The apostolate of the Friars Minor is not limited to the care and safeguarding of the holy place, which of course takes up a large part of the energies of the religious.
Since ancient times they have also ensured that pilgrims arriving to the Holy Land were welcomed in appropriate hospices adjacent to the monasteries. Over time in a number of sanctuaries, including Bethlehem, these hospices became true and proper lodgings and took the name of Casa Nova.
In 1908 the construction of a new Casa Nova was begun near the Crusader monastery. In view of the large number of pilgrims, it proved necessary to enlarge the structure and this was carried out by the architect Giovanni Muzio, with the inauguration taking place in 1986.
John Paul II lodged here during his pilgrimage in 2000.
In addition, since 2004 the Franciscans have managed the Palace Hotel on Manger Square.