In a troubled world of conflicts and challenges, it is crucial to remember our shared humanity and strive for peace and prosperity. Recent events in the Holy Land, as reported by Angelus News on November 7, 2023 have highlighted the urgent need for humanitarian aid, affecting countless lives.
However, despite the ongoing turmoil there are still individuals and organizations committed to making a difference.
Denise Scalzo, councilor for the Western Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a founder of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), is one of the dedicated individuals working tirelessly to bring peace to the Holy Land and those that have been deeply impacted by the unfolding crisis. Having visited the Holy Land more than 100 times since 1991, Scalzo’s work focuses on preserving a Christian presence in a region marked by complex tensions and historical strife.
FFHL plays a vital role in this initiative, supplementing income from the Holy Land collection, which churches worldwide collect on Good Friday for the Franciscan ministry in the land of Jesus and the earliest Christians. This foundation provides crucial humanitarian and educational assistance to communities in the Holy Land, regardless of faith or ethnicity. From scholarships to music education and housing support, FFHL’s programs touch every aspect of community life.
One remarkable program, “Children Without Borders,” brings together young Christians, Muslims and Jews through soccer teams, promoting peaceful interactions and friendships. Additionally, the foundation sponsors the interfaith Children’s March for Peace in Bethlehem, uniting children from diverse backgrounds in a powerful display of unity.
It is important to note that FFHL’s efforts extend beyond providing aid; they are dedicated to dispelling stereotypes and promoting understanding. As Denise Scalzo wisely puts it, “Saying that all Palestinians are like Hamas is like saying that all Italians are like the mafia.”
The situation in Gaza is particularly dire, with residents facing extreme hardships exacerbated by blockades imposed since Hamas took control in 2007. The Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, along with other Catholic organizations, strives to alleviate suffering and provide much-needed support to the most vulnerable.
However, the challenges are immense, and the clock is ticking. The Christian community in the Holy Land faces an uncertain future, with estimates suggesting their numbers could dwindle drastically within 50 years without substantial intervention.
In light of these urgent circumstances, it is imperative that we come together to support the Holy Land and its people. In times of crisis, the compassion and generosity of individuals can make a lasting impact. Let us set aside our differences and work towards a peaceful and hopeful future for the Holy Land and its people.
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To learn more about how you can help, please visit the following links
● Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land Humanitarian Programs