Since St. Francis of Assisi founded the Province of the Holy Land in 1217, Franciscan Friars have served as official custodians and guardians of the Land of Jesus’ Holy Places on behalf of the Catholic Church. The properties that they oversee include shrines in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and 74 other shrines and sanctuaries throughout the Holy Land.
In addition to these buildings made of stone, the Franciscan order sees it as their mission to protect the “living stones” of the Holy Land, the local Christians whose presence in the last hundred years has drastically diminished.
By providing quality schools and funding scholarships so young Christians can achieve their dreams without having to leave their homeland, the Franciscan Friars offer hope that the Christian presence in the Holy Land will continue.
Franciscan schools preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land
These 500 college scholarships help keep young Christians in the Holy Land
One of the most critical projects of the Franciscan Friars is that of providing housing for Christians in need in the Holy Land. They house about 2,050 people in more than 582 houses in Jerusalem, as well as 72 houses in Bethlehem.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican on April 2 postponed the traditional Good Friday collection to benefit Christian communities in the Holy Land. That collection will now take place in churches on September 13. Proceeds will support the continued presence of Christians in the Holy Land, by ensuring that they can continue to practice their faith, and educate their children.
To learn more about how the Franciscan Friars are helping keep Christianity alive in the Holy Land by providing housing to those who need it, watch this video: