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Life Support: Good Friday collection will support Middle East Christians
Carol Glatz

Life Support: Good Friday collection will support Middle East Christians

By Carol Glatz/OSV News

VATICAN CITY. Pope Francis plans to launch a humanitarian project in Gaza or the West Bank with the possible help of the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land, said the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches.

“The outbreak of the war in Gaza, after the events of October 7, paralyzed the Holy Land. The lack of pilgrims and tourists has put thousands of families in difficulty,” the dicastery said in its annual appeal to bishops around the world asking them to urge their people to generously support this year’s collection. “The Holy Father intends to carry out a project with humanitarian purposes in Gaza or the West Bank, which can help the population resume a more dignified life and create job opportunities once the war is over,” said the appeal published March 8. “This project could be realized with the offerings of the faithful from all over the world who participate in the collection for the Holy Land.”

The “Pro Terra Sancta” collection is the main source of material support for Christians and the faith in the Holy Land, it said, and it is a way “for the universal Church to express solidarity with the ecclesial communities of the Middle East.”

The collection “is not merely a pious tradition for a few,” wrote Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the dicastery, and Maronite Father Michel Jalakh, secretary, who was named an archbishop by Pope Francis March 8.

“Everywhere in the Catholic Church, the faithful have an obligation to offer their contribution,” they wrote, “because, apart from the custody of the holy places that saw Jesus, there are still Christians living and operating in the Holy Land, amid many tragedies and difficulties often caused by the selfishness of the powerful of the world.” However, they wrote, “many of them cannot take it anymore,” and they are leaving everything behind to flee “because they see no hope.

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