The Church's annual collection for the Holy Land gives hope to Christians and the promise that holy sites will continue to welcome pilgrims for centuries to come.
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In his call for collection “Pro Terra Sancta” (For the Holy Land, in Latin), Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, draws attention to the situation Christians in the Holy Land after two years of pandemic. The annual collection that helps Christians in the East brought in nearly 5.5 million euros (over $6 million) last year.
“For two consecutive years, the Christians of the Holy Land have celebrated Easter and Christmas in a certain isolation, without the warmth and brotherly friendship of the pilgrims who visit the Holy Places and the local communities,” laments Cardinal Sandri in his letter distributed by the Holy See Press Office on March 24, 2022.
“Families have suffered more for lack of work than for the immediate effects of the pandemic,” he explains, while the collection for the Holy Land will, as every year, be carried out on Good Friday in dioceses around the world.
Established by Pope Paul VI in 1974, this initiative aims to develop links between Christians in the world and the Holy Land and is “the main source of sustenance for the life that takes place around the Holy Places,” explains the press release.
The donations collected are divided between the Franciscan Custody in the Holy Land (65%) and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (35%).
In 2021, 5,516,000 euros ($6,062,789) were collected, a figure down sharply compared to previous years (more than 8,200,000 euros in 2020 and around 6,950,000 euros in 2019).
Several projects benefit from this fund. Thus, in 2021, 223 students taking courses or training through the Congregation for the Oriental Churches received scholarships. Schools in the Holy Land have also received aid. Spiritual or cultural places have also benefited from the collection, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where a restoration project has been launched.
Other territories are also supported through this annual collection. More than 420,000 euros have been sent to Syria to support projects. Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea also benefit from the fruits of this effort.
Editor’s note: Every year on Good Friday, a collection is taken up in Catholic Churches to support the work of the Franciscans working in the Holy Land. Christians there rely heavily on the help that comes to them from this worldwide collection.To donate now visit the website for the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.