“In 2020, the Christians of those lands suffered an isolation that made them feel even more distant, cut off from vital contact with the brethren from various countries of the world,” he said.
“They suffered the loss of work, due to the absence of pilgrims, and the consequent difficulty in living with dignity and providing for their families and children. In many countries, the persistence of war and sanctions compounded the effects of the pandemic.”
The Holy Land collection was moved in 2020 from Good Friday to Sept. 13, because of the suspension of public Masses in many places due to COVID-19.
The cardinal explained that last year’s collection “fell short, due to the added difficulties involved in carrying it out in many countries.”
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In a report on its activities in 2019-2020, the Custody of the Holy Land noted the strain on its finances.
It said: “At this point in time we have been without pilgrims from the end of February 2020. This means grave economic difficulties for the local Christian communities, for the families of our Christian faithful, and also for the Custody itself.”
It added that the collection’s postponement meant that it was still “quantifying the result” and did not know when the resources would be available.
Using the collection’s official Latin title, Sandri wrote: “May this year collection pro Terra Sancta be an opportunity for everyone not to ignore the difficult situation of our brothers and sisters of the Holy Places but rather to lighten their burdens.”
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