March 26, 2023 / 10:24 a.m.
Pope Francis invites Catholics around the world to be generous in the Good Friday collection, next April 7, for the Holy Land.
“The Holy Father Francis, in line with what was affirmed by his predecessors, also entrusts this year to the Department for the Oriental Churches to ardently invite them to continue to be in solidarity with the Christian community of the Holy Land”, writes Msgr. Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Department for the Oriental Churches, in a letter sent to the bishops of the world.
This charitable action, the Archbishop specified, reminds me of what was done by “the Apostle of the Gentiles, Saint Paul, with the collection that he promoted for the church of Jerusalem.”
“In Jerusalem are our origins and we want to remain united and in solidarity with the brothers and sisters who continue to bear witness to the Gospel there,” stressed the prefect.
“I ask you with all my heart that the Good Friday Collection be generous on everyone’s part, as it is made up of so many small mites from the widow praised by Jesus in the Gospel”, exhorted the Archbishop.
Bishop Gugerotti recalled in his letter the recent earthquakes that occurred in Syria and Turkey in February, whose devastation has increased the drama of the war in the first nation that has been going on for more than 12 years. Both nations also receive a contribution from the Good Friday collection.
The prefect explained that many houses of Franciscan religious and other orders in Syria and Turkey “have become shops and shelters for those who have lost their homes.”
He also stressed that the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land continue to be “springs of hope through the care of the little ones, school formation, the accompaniment of mothers who are in difficulty, humble service to the elderly and sick”. .
They also offer “a home and a future for new families through housing construction plans and the creation of jobs, so that it is worth continuing to stay in the Places of Salvation.”
How is the Good Friday Collection used for the Holy Land?
The Franciscan Custody’s mission is to care for, protect and maintain the Holy Places of the Holy Land. For this reason, he usually receives 65% of the collection.
The other 35% goes to the Department for the Oriental Churches, which uses it for the formation of seminarians, supporting priests, cultural formation and subsidies for various private churches in the Middle East.
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In 2022, the collection raised $9,043,319 million. Little more than 4.1 million were used in the formation; while in various solidarity grants and studies of Christians and Muslims at Bethlehem University, 2.9 million were invested.
Christian communities in Jerusalem, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea received just over $1.6 million in regular grants and almost $300,000 in extraordinary grants.