04 April 2017

Collection for the Holy Land: encouraging Christians to stay

The Good Friday collection, the proceeds of which are used to support the Christian presence in the Middle East and protect the sanctuaries, will be held on April 14.

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The Collection that will benefit the Christians of the Holy Land ... An initiative that dates back to the time of St. Paul, when he urged Christians to help the Church of Jerusalem.

Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
"Paul VI established for the whole Church that the Good Friday Collection be dedicated to the Holy Land, worldwide. These holy places are for us an indelible testimony of the passage of Christ as a man of the world, therefore our Good Friday must be the day in which we open our hearts to the needs of our brothers in the Holy Land, because today, unfortunately, the Holy Land is bleeding in Syria, in Iraq and in many other places where Christians suffer.”

Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
"A large part of this collection goes to the Custody of the Holy Land, that is to the Franciscan friars who truly preserve and protect the holy places."

The Custody of the Holy Land in figures: the Franciscans are the 'guardians' of 55 Redemption shrines. Among these: the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Basilica of the Nativity and the sanctuaries of the passion of Jesus: the Dominus Flevit, Gethsemane and the Holy Sepulcher. Currently, the Custody is present with 260 missionaries and 24 parishes.

Peace through education, building a culture of hospitality: these are some of the challenges that the Custody faces in its 15 schools, located throughout the Holy Land, with almost 12,000 students. The scholarships for college students and the subsidies for those who struggle are essential.

Bursar of the Custody
"This is a field that takes up a lot of our resources because our schools, especially in Palestine, have no other subsidies than the constant help of the Custody of the Holy Land, which we are able to obtain through the Good Friday collection."

Among the schools of the Custody, there is also the Magnificat Institute.

Director Magnificat Institute - Jerusalem
"I think the most beautiful way to define the Magnificat is that it is a school of music that breaks down barriers. There are more than 200 students with about 27 teachers and the best thing here is that Christians, Jews and Muslims study together, without discriminating or labeling students or teachers.”

With the Good Friday Collection, for several years, the Custody of the Holy Land has been committed to supporting the local Christians and has encouraged them to stay, offering them a home or renovating the existing one. They are in fact 630 houses for fthe families and 4 houses for the sick and the orphans.

For a number of years, the Custody of the Holy Land has heavily invested in corporate communications through two publishing houses and the Christian Media Center.
The Custody is also in possession of six shelters for pilgrims.

Father Francesco Patton, in his message supporting the Collection, stressed that
"2017 is a special year for the Franciscans of the Holy Land because it marks the eighth centenary of the Franciscan presence in these holy places.

In the letter addressed to bishops around the world, Card. Sandri highlighted the importance of promoting pilgrimages, 'essential resource' for the Christian population of the Holy Land. "The journey to the holy places and on the footsteps of Christ - said the prefect of the Congregations for the Oriental Churches - is not only a revival of faith and a rediscovery of its origins, but also an instrument of the new evangelization."

Custos of the Holy Land
"The invitation is to come here as pilgrims, in other words, as people who trust God and who wish to have a special encounter with God. Come to these places with an open heart, knowing that here God will talk to you, that He will say something special to you, silently perhaps, in His unique way. Come to renew your faith because the source of our experience of faith is here.”