VATICAN CITY, The Holy See is reminding Catholic faithful that it is a duty to support Christians in the Holy Land with prayer and material help.
This reminder came in a Lenten letter from Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches, addressed to Catholic bishops worldwide.
“Despite their countless difficulties,” the Christian communities of the Holy Land offer daily “authentic witness to the Gospel,” the letter explained. Every year the cardinal reminds the Church of the collection for the Holy Land, held in most dioceses on Good Friday.
The Vatican congregation stands in solidarity with Christians in the Holy Land and those throughout theMiddle East, “where the political and economic crisis … has not yet been resolved and shows evidence each day of unspeakable suffering,” the cardinal said.
The collection reminds everyone of the “absolute and urgent need to support our brothers and sisters in this land, and to do so in every possible manner,” the letter stated. “In particular, we continually invoke upon them that peace which comes only from the Most High.”
According to Cardinal Daoud: “[All Catholics of the world must offer their prayer and expressions of solidarity, including those economic, to the Christian community of that same blessed land.”
“Despite their countless difficulties, these Christians offer day by day, and in silence, an authentic witness to the Gospel.”
The cardinal also expressed gratitude in the name of the Latin Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land, the Eastern Catholic Churches and all the institutes and organizations operative in this territory. It is gratitude “filled with confidence that the particular Churches of the world will continue to respond favorably to this vital cause of the Holy Land,” he said. “The heartfelt appreciation of the Holy Father is also extended. He assures his prayer and blessing for all of the Churches and upon all of the benefactors of the Land of the Lord.”
The letter is accompanied by documents that illustrate the work being carried out with funds from the 2006 collection, either by the Franciscan custody or the Vatican congregation.
The Congregation for Eastern Churches receives donations directly from apostolic Nunciature. These are then distributed on the basis of a percentage system.
Special attention is directed to scholastic institutions, such as Bethlehem University and Catholic schools. This category likewise includes expenses related to Jerusalem’s Secretariat of Solidarity.
There are also students who receive allocations — because of the Vatican congregation’s involvement with the Central Office for Foreign Students in Italy and priests who are enrolled in pontifical universities.
The collection for the Holy Land began in 1421, under Pope Martin V.