Good Friday collection will benefit Christians, shrines in the Holy Land

The dome of the Edicule, the traditional site of Jesus' burial and resurrection, is seen after restoration work at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem March 23, 2017. (CNS/Debbie Hill)

Saying “the Christian community in the Holy Land is urgently in need of our help,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has asked for generous donations to a collection to be received during Good Friday liturgies in parishes across the diocese on April 19.

“This collection is absolutely vital,” said the bishop in a letter describing the Holy Land Collection. “Without the encouragement and support of Catholics throughout the world, the Church in the cradle of Christianity would endure difficulties even greater than those currently faced.

The collection, taken up at the request of the pope, is administered by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land — an administratively autonomous province of the Franciscan order — and the Congregation for Eastern Churches. The congregation monitors how all funds are used and supports projects in the Holy Land, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

The Franciscan Custody is responsible for most of the shrines connected with the life of Jesus as well as for providing pastoral care to the region’s Catholics, running schools, operating charitable institutions and training future priests and religious.

Part of its emergency funding efforts to Eastern-rite and Latin-rite dioceses in the Middle East, the congregation said, includes helping Iraqis and Syrians who are slowly returning to their homelands, as well as their fellow citizens still living as refugees.

“With continuing violence that is occurring in the Holy Land, it is urgent that we provide financial support for our Catholic presence there,” wrote Bishop Jenky.

Maintenance and restoration work carried out at Holy Land shrines thanks to gifts to last year’s collection included projects at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.

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