Lisbon, March 31, 2021 (Ecclesia) – The Holy Land Commissioner in Portugal calls for the solidarity of Catholic communities in the Good Friday Collection, which aims to support people “without other means of subsistence” in the region where Jesus was born.
“The important thing is that this aid reaches these communities, most of them have no other form of subsistence. Franciscans live on international aid, through the intentions of the Eucharist, through the offers that are given generously or through this Friday offer ”, said Father João Lourenço today in an interview with the Ecclesia Program, broadcast today on RTP 2.
The Franciscan religious points out that, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this service in the Holy Land “is deeply affected”, resources are scarce and, for more than a year, there have been no visits from many countries where they were from pilgrims, who contributed “generously”.
The territories that benefit from this Good Friday Collection are Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
Father João Lourenço also recalls that support for Christian communities is “very weak” due to lack of resources and “limitations of a political nature, social upheavals, internal wars” in some of these countries.
According to the priest, the service of Franciscans in holy places begins with “caring for resident Christian communities”, mainly of Catholic origin and Latin rite, and several Eastern Churches are also “twinned” in this same task in territories where they are “a minority”.
A second aspect is to “preserve geographically, architecturally”, the places that bring to mind the presence of Jesus and the apostles, such as that of Saint Paul in Syria.
“This task is associated with welcoming pilgrims, visitors, who can visit places in the Holy Land,” explained the specialist in biblical studies.
Father João Lourenço also points out a “great cultural task”, that is, preserving Christian culture and the Custody of the Holy Land promotes various activities, such as a scientific academy on Biblical Sciences, archaeological research, schools, preparation of young candidates for religious life and priestly, a music institute, support for the elderly.
The Holy See informs that, in 2020, because of the pandemic, an emergency fund, of more than half a million dollars, was created to help “the poorest” in the region, financing 303 projects in 24 countries under the competence of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
PR / CB
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