The Priory of Philadelphia recently had the privilege of hosting Father Peter Vasko, President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), during his visit to Philadelphia. Father Peter, who was in the United States to visit FFHL’s office in Washington, D.C., included Philadelphia in his itinerary. The event, held at the historic Jarrettown Hotel in Dresher, PA, consisted of a reception, dinner and fundraiser aimed at supporting the FFHL.

The evening, themed “Bringing the Holy Land to Philly,” proved to be a resounding success in generating both enthusiasm and revenue for the FFHL’s cause. Attendees, including members and friends of the Priory, were treated to an inspiring presentation by Father Peter on the need for continued scholarships to sustain and preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Father Peter shed light on the challenges faced by Christians in the Holy Land, such as limited access to education, housing, healthcare, job training and employment opportunities. Scholarships play a crucial role in providing stable employment in fields like hospitality, technology, and healthcare delivery. The GPUSA supports these scholarships through the Raymond Davis Templar Foundation (RDF).

Furthermore, Father Peter provided an update on the ongoing restoration project at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem—the tomb of Christ. FFHL, dedicated to strengthening and supporting Christianity in the Holy Land, has been involved in this restoration effort.

During the event, gifts and relics from the Good Shepherd Olivewood Company in Bethlehem were available for purchase, with proceeds contributing to the fundraising efforts. Father Peter blessed these items with Holy Water and prayers, adding a spiritual element to the evening.

The event not only raised funds during the evening but also received additional contributions afterward, totaling over $7,000. These proceeds will be directed to the FFHL through the General Raymond Davis Templar Foundation.

The Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, founded in 1994 under the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, aims to strengthen Christianity in the Holy Land by preserving holy Christian sites and supporting the basic human rights of the Christian minority in the region. GPUSA takes pride in contributing to and supporting the important work carried out by FFHL.

Members of the Priories of Philadelphia, Delaware, and St. King Charles the Martyr were in attendance, coming together to hear Father Peter Vasko’s presentation and show their support for the FFHL.

The event hosted by the Priory of Philadelphia served as a testament to the enduring commitment of individuals and organizations to preserve the rich Christian heritage in the Holy Land and support the Christian community living there. Through their collective efforts, they contribute to fostering education, empowerment, and sustainability for Christians in the region.