The Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land have an 800-year-old tradition of offering hospitality to pilgrims.
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For more than 800 years, Franciscans Friars have welcomed Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. As protectors of the holy sites, they have helped travelers who have come from all over the world to draw closer to God by walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
In addition to serving as custodians of the Holy Places, the Franciscans of the Holy Land also offer comfortable accommodations to pilgrims, located near the holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Tiberias, and on Mount Tabor, in Ein Karem.The Casa Nova in Jerusalem, for instance, is located just a few steps from the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.
These hostels, which are normally full to capacity, were completely emptied by the coronavirus pandemic that curtailed travel to the Holy Land.
According to Br. Carlos Molina, director of the Casa Nova hostel in Nazareth, this situation has caused great hardship.
“It means that there was no economic income for the Casa Nova. There was no income for the works of the Custody, nor to support the sanctuaries, but above all there was no income for the workers of Casa Nova,” says Molina.
In addition, the pandemic forced the Vatican to postpone the Good Friday collection, which supports the work of the Franciscan Friars in the Holy Land.
“We are in difficulty because all the offerings that came from Good Friday helped us a lot to support the Christians of the Holy Land and all the Casae Novae,” says Br. Antonio Szlachta director of the Casa Nova in Bethlehem.
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. The funds will also help the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land continue to preserve and protect the Holy sites, and welcome pilgrims as they have for centuries.
To learn more about the Casae Novae hostels, watch this video: