Around $2.4 million went on extraordinary aid to countries such as Syria, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Lebanon.
“The Middle East continues to live in instability and tension. There are people who have no food, others who lack medical treatment, children and youth without schools, and then those orphaned, wounded, and widowed by war,” the report said.
“The Congregation pays particular attention to the needs of these people and works to rebuild social structures through the local Eastern and Latin dioceses, as well as by soliciting the Catholic agencies involved in the aforementioned countries.”
“Ensuring the means necessary for a dignified life for those returning to Iraq and Syria and for refugees in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan, requires the collaboration of all people of goodwill.”
In a report on its activities in 2021, the Custody of the Holy Land noted the strain on its finances.
It said: “Ever since the end of February 2020 we have found ourselves without pilgrims, and this means serious economic difficulties for the local Christian communities, for the Christian families, and also for the Custody.”
“In the meantime, we are trying to continue the mission that has been entrusted to us, knowing that Divine Providence which has willed our presence here will continue to take care of us.”
Cardinal Sandri noted that Pope Francis had invited Catholics to live in greater solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the Middle East during his visit to Iraq last year.
“Looking therefore at Christ who touched our human reality to its depths, letting ourselves be inspired by the gestures of closeness made by Pope Francis in his apostolic journeys and accepting his invitation to live solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Holy Land, let us give new vigor to the practice of the Collection for the Holy Land,” the 78-year-old Argentine cardinal said.
“In Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and in many other shrines and monasteries, prayer is offered for the Church all over the world, and we are invited to remember with the heart and with a small gift all those who pronounce our name before the Lord, giving thanks for our generosity,” he said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.