Legacy – The Work of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land

Legacy – The Work of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land

Statistics show that if the current trends continue, within 60 years there will be no Christians living in the Holy Land. In response to this reality, theFranciscan Foundation for the Holy Land was founded in 1994 under the auspice of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Its purpose was then and continues to be the safeguarding of human rights in the Holy Land and the preservation of a Christian presence in the Holy Land by providing academic scholarships, subsidized housing and job opportunities. Giving young adults a degree helps them invest in themselves, their families and their country. It gives them the ability to secure good jobs and subsidized housing provides them a secure place to live.

All these efforts are coming to fruition because of the many generous hearts of Catholics, mostly in the United States.

It is essential that Christians live in the Holy Land because for Christians – this is the holiest spot on earth. After all, Jesus chose the Holy Land as the place where He would redeem mankind.

Msgr. Joseph Schaedel took his first trip to this holy land in the summer of 2012. He relates that he was having second thoughts about going as the time approached but once he got there, he was amazed at how much of an impact it had on him. He said “to read in the Psalms about Israel and Jerusalem and then to pray through those Psalms – I thought – I’m right here.” He has scheduled to return with a group of his parishioners on a pilgrimage in October of 2013.

A pilgrim who was so moved by her experience in the Holy Land recounts, “You’ve heard about Christ, you’ve read about Christ and then you are right where He was. There is just no explaining how all this becomes a person you knew.” She relates how walking through the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, she was flooded with the happenings that actually took place in that very spot so many years ago and yet still have such significance to us all today. Upon walking through the entrance, there is the anointing stone. Going a little further are the steps up to Calvary and then the actual tomb where Jesus was laid and from where He rose. It is hard to take it all in.

Feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to experience all this, she was also struck with sadness that there may soon come a time when these sites become museums with no active Christians celebrating their faith in this holy land. There can be no “Holy Land” without a Christian Presence of Jesus’ followers there and so she wonders “Why are not all Catholics fighting tooth and nail to make this a hallowed, holy celebrated land?”

Why are Catholics here in the states not more concerned about what is happening to this Church that Christ established? Mainly, because the average person just doesn’t know the struggles that our fellow Christians in the Holy Land face every day. They do not know until they go and see for themselves or until they hear from others who have been, or until we can get the truth out. If you would like to know more, please watch this video entitled “Legacy – The Work of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. And while there, check out our website www.ffhl.org to see how you can help.

By Deborah Roberts