Sunday, August 24, 1997, Bishop Luciano Giovannetti leads 600 faithful on the Diocese of Fiesole's first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At the gates of Bethlehem they are blocked: the Israeli army denies entry into the city.
Negotiations with the military are fruitless, so the pilgrims get off the buses and begin to celebrate the Christmas liturgy there, facing Bethlehem. More people join in, becoming more than a thousand.
The atmosphere is collected, singing and praying. Pilgrims exchange the gesture of peace with soldiers. Televisions and journalists arrive. Suddenly a Christmas "miracle" in the middle of summer: the order comes to open the gate. Joy explodes, in everyone. Pilgrims enter Bethlehem, welcomed as liberators, From this wonderful seed, after years of maturation, the fruit of the John Paul II Foundation is born.