This year Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land celebrates its 25th anniversary. Founded in 1994, FFHL has dedicated its efforts toward our mission of preserving Christianity in the Holy Land. In decades past Christianity thrived in the Holy Land, but 25 years ago we saw the true danger of extinction faced in this region. The importance of the Holy Land for Christianity is unquestionable. It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ and all Christians. It is the roots of our religion, the place every Christian can call home. But those living in the Holy Land face political and economic despair. Seeking better futures, Christians are leaving the Holy Land in droves. From humble beginnings, we asked ourselves how could this exodus be stopped, and thus FFHL was born.
Acting under the charge of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, FFHL has focused efforts on educational and humanitarian programs. We know that if we can provide the same opportunities and quality of life sought elsewhere, Christians will be able to stay and grow in the Holy Land. With these incentives and safeguards, Christians can plant strong roots and build the foundation for their families to live a Christ-centered life in the place Jesus called home.
We also started leading pilgrimages of faith to the Holy Land. These pilgrimages give United States based Christians the opportunity to experience the connection with Christ first hand and renew their relationship with God. It also provides unique insight into the life of Christians in the Holy Land, by immersing pilgrims into their culture and surroundings. When pilgrims depart, they become a voice for the Holy Land and ensure that our Christian brothers and sisters are not forgotten.
In 2019, we now have thirteen programs running and facilitate annual pilgrimages. Over the last 25 years we have awarded scholarships, created children’s programs, built housing, offered job placement and worked to restore the relics of Christianity. As a non-profit organization, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of our donors and tireless efforts of volunteers. We thank all those who have contributed their time, money and prayers to preserving the Living Stones of the Holy Land.