By Vatican News staff writer
Every year on Good Friday, a collection is taken up in Catholic Churches around the world to support the work of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land who have the unique responsibility of maintaining the Holy Places and preserving the Christian presence in the Holy Land.
For the Collection for the Holy Land this year, Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, has launched an appeal in a video message, encouraging the faithful to generously support this important service to the universal Church. His appeal comes on Wednesday, the eve of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
The Collecta pro Terra Sancta, born of the Popes’ wishes for a bond between all Christians of the world and the Holy Places, received a decisive boost through Paul VI’s 1974 Apostolic Exhortation “Nobis in Animo”. The offerings collected by the parishes and the Bishops are sent by the Commissars of the Holy Land to the Custody of the Holy Land.
Service in spite of challenges
In these times of the ongoing health emergency and the multi-faceted challenges that it entails, the Holy Land has also been affected with the lack of pilgrims and the lack of jobs to local Christians, among other things.
Nonetheless, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land has continued in its mission of service it has been entrusted.
Br. Patton explains that prayers have been intensified for the whole world “at the Holy Sepulchre, in Gethsemane, in Bethlehem, in Nazareth and in the other shrines.”
The Custos also notes that in the parishes, they continue to take care of Arabic, Hebrew and Greek-speaking Christians, migrant workers and refugees. In fact, through the Terra Sancta Schools, around ten thousand children, teenagers and young people are able to benefit from a good education.
He further highlights that the charitable commitment has intensified to meet the essential needs of the local population which has been tested not only by the Covid-19 pandemic but also by war and the absence of both social and health assistance.
All of these costs, Br. Patton explained, “is largely covered by the Good Friday Collection every year.”
Appeal for charity
In light of the situation, the Custos appeals for generosity from Christians all over the world.
“Please help us again this year, according to your possibilities, according to the generosity of your heart, so that we can continue to help those in need,” Br. Patton said in the video message.
“Help us to help others! May the Lord bless and reward each and every one of you. Thank you!”