Cradling Christianity, a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit, held its first in-person fundraising event since the pandemic on September 26, 2022 at Columbus Our Lady of Victory Church to benefit the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL). Since 2006, Cradling Christianity has been a faithful supporter of FFHL, helping to raise more than $1 million to date for full college scholarships for young Christians in the Holy Land.

Event chairs, Kris and Dee Pellissier shared, “We believe that one of the important ways to slow down the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land is by providing a college or vocational education at no cost for these deserving young scholars who are economically disadvantaged through no fault of their own. Our own FFHL Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2019 changed our lives and we hope to help change the lives of the Christian youth there by our work here through Cradling Christianity.” Thanks to the generosity of Cradling Christianity, 99% of students who have received a college or vocational scholarship have remained in the Holy Land.

This year’s event began with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Earl K. Fernandes, Bishop of Columbus, prior to the dinner. He was one of the honored guests for the event along with Father Peter Vasko, OFM. The event also featured keynote speaker Msgr. Frank Lane, a retired priest from the Columbus diocese who now lives in Cincinnati. Msgr. Lane has served as a parish priest, an instructor at the Pontifical College Josephinum, a military chaplain and as a spiritual director at The Athenaeum of Ohio – Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati. He also hosts a weekly series on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio in Columbus and southern Ohio. Msgr. Lane’s presentation was entitled “Christianity in the Holy Land: An Epic Tale.”

During his remarks, Fr Peter F. Vasko, OFM expressed his gratitude to the past chairs and many supporters from Cradling Christianity saying: “I would like to thank each of you in the Columbus area for the generosity that you have given over these many years through Cradling Christianity.  You have made a difference in so many ways for the beleaguered Christians in the Holy Land. It only takes one candle to light the darkness and you have certainly lit many candles to lighten the darkness of so many of your brothers and sisters in the Land of Christ. Our Lord is very pleased with you for your charity.”

FFHL wishes to thank the Pellissiers, the 2022 event co-chairs, as well the planning committee including Gene and Judy Alfonsi, Frank and Pegi Courtney, Andy and Suzanne Davalla, Dan and Jenny Fusco, Gary and Becky Owens, John and Lisa Schechter, Edward and Pamela Sprigler, and Rick and Rita Wanner for all their efforts that culminated in a great success.

We would also like to thank Cradling Christianity’s past Chairpersons for their service and continued support since it’s foundation in 2006: Gene and Judy Alfonsi, Charles and Venetia Bramlage, Don and Monica Brown, Russ and Pat Howard, Chuck and Ardith Mers, and Ron and Barb Rowland.