.- The Franciscans in the Holy Land, who've been charged by the Vatican with preserving Catholic sanctuaries in the area throughout the last 800 years, have launched a new website offering more information about the sacred sites as well as pilgrimages to the region.
“It is the love and care for the places of the incarnation of Jesus that create the desire for all Christians to feel closer to the Holy Land,” Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, major superior of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, said in a March 21 announcement.
“The renewed internet site meets this desire,” he said, explaining that it will continue to inform the faithful around the globe who are interested in “the life of the Holy Land and its community.”
The new website, available in six languages, details the historical significance of the Franciscan's work to preserve the places where the Christian faith originated in the Middle East. The site also explains the importance of each sanctuary and provides information on pilgrimages to the area.
Since the 13th century, the friars have been tasked by the Vatican with having “custody” over the holy sites within areas of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Cyprus and Rhodes. The job involves coordinating and directing the reception of faithful who make pilgrimages to the Holy Land to pray at the shrines.
“The present site will be a 'work in progress,' growing gradually in time,” Fr. Pizzaballa said. “In addition to the life of the Custody of the Holy Land, the Places of Salvation that the Franciscans have looked after with passion for 800 years will be presented with more detailed information.”
For more information, visit: www.custodia.org