The prefect for the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, has made public a message to the bishops of the world announcing the traditional collection for the Holy Land, which will take place on April 10, Good Friday.
In the message, the Cardinal recalls that this collection supports “our Christian brothers and sisters of the Holy Land who, along with other inhabitants of vast areas of the Middle East, have long aspired after that peace and tranquility which are still so much under threat.”
“The universal Church follows with concern the unstable situation of the different serious problems, such as the absence of peace, as in the case of the joy of Christmas being overshadowed by the hostilities in the Gaza Strip,” Cardinal Sandri wrote.
He also noted that Christians in the Holy Land feel the support of the universal Church, especially from “Pope Benedict XVI who constantly comforts these Christians and all the inhabitants of the Holy Land with words and gestures of extraordinary urgency, coupled with his desire to make a pilgrimage in the historical footsteps of Jesus.”
Cardinal Sandri went on to highlight how the “open wound of violence” in the Holy Land motivates many Christians to emigrate, thus “depriving the Christian minority of better resources for the future. The Land that was the cradle of Christianity is at risk of being left without Christians,” he warned.
For this reason, Cardinal Sandri said, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, in the name of the Holy Father, looks out for the ecclesial community of the Holy Land and urges Catholics “to contribute materially as well to the sustaining of the Holy Places.”
To those who open their hearts to the traditional collection for the Holy Land on Good Friday, the Congregation assures them of the gratitude and prayers of the Holy Father, Cardinal Sandri said.
The funds received from the collection will go towards the renovation of convents and pastoral centers, the construction of new places of worship, a scholarship fund for young people, and an unemployment fund for the jobless and those who have recently graduated.
In addition, the collection also helps fund projects carried out in collaboration with the Franciscan Family Center, such helping poor children with education and food, the renovation of schools and the construction of almost 150 apartments.
A donation can be made to the Custody of the Holy Land by visiting: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/holyland