Pope Francis addressed the Church’s humanitarian arm for the Eastern Churches, known as ROACO, through them thanking the faithful throughout the world who donate to the projects and peoples they oversee.
He noted that the 2020 Holy Land Collection, traditionally carried out on Good Friday, only raised around half of its usual funds, saying this reduction likely stemmed from both the reduced attendance at Mass during lockdowns, as well as from the economic crisis generated by the pandemic.
“While the crisis may have encouraged us to focus on what is essential,” he said, “we cannot remain indifferent when we think of the deserted streets of Jerusalem and the loss of those pilgrims who go there to strengthen their faith, but also to express concrete solidarity with the local Churches and their people.”
Pope Francis urged Catholics across the globe to “appreciate the significance of this form of charity.”
He said Israelis and Palestinians are “peoples who we hope and pray will see the bow of peace that God showed to Noah as a sign of the covenant between heaven and earth, and of peace among peoples.”
Yet, lamented the Pope, “those skies have been darkened by missiles bringing destruction, death and fear!”
The Holy Father mentioned several specific situations of urgent need, including the problems in Lebanon.
I ask you to pray, and invite others to pray, for our meeting on 1 July with the Heads of the Christian Churches in Lebanon, that the Holy Spirit will enlighten and guide us.
As well, he considered the long suffering peoples of Syria. And he lamented the tragedy in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which is also affecting nearby Eritrea.
To donate to these suffering peoples, click here.