All the Custody's activity can be defined as apostolic and missionary. Although in the region where it operates often the direct announcement of the Gospel is not possible, the Custody never fails to offer its own spiritual good that is the teaching of St. Francis.
In any case, its presence in the Holy Land implies above all the pastoral care of the local churches. For a long time, the friars of the Custody were the only ones to look after the small groups of Christians in the Holy land, creating parishes and organizational structures for these communities.
The parish activity was of particular importance to bring the faithful closer and “back” to Christianity in various historical periods. The Custody still offers numerous resources for the parishes and for the work and activities connected with them. The various forms of pastoral activity by the Custody in the Holy Land include, for a great part, spiritual assistance (Masses, confessions, retreats, etc.) for the religious communities.
In regards to this area the Custody has 29 parishes and numerous churches and chapels here in the Middle East. Our parishes are as follows: 9 in Israel and the Occupied Territories, 4 in Egypt, 8 in Syria, 2 in Lebanon, 3 in Cyprus, 2 in Rhodes and one in Italy. They are administered by 70 religious.
Within the Custody's sphere of pastoral ministry resides other apostolates of a social nature: schools and 'colleges' (16), student housing (5), trade schools (3), parish organizations (18), rest homes for the elderly (2), orphanages (2), after school activities (7), women's workplaces(8), summer camps (7), clinics (3).
Bishops - 2
Friars, Priests – 205
Friars, Brothers – 92
Friars, Students – 28
Novices – 5
Total - 332