Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, has written to all the Bishops of the Church, to encourage a generous response to the Good Friday collection.
This collection ‘Pro Terra Sancta’ was born out of the desire of the Popes to maintain a strong bond between the faithful across the world and the Holy Places. It is the main source of material support for Christian life in the Holy Land and a tool for the universal Church to express solidarity with the ecclesial communities of the Middle East. The theme for this year’s collection is ‘Consider the rock from which you were hewn’ (Isaiah 51:1).
The funds, traditionally collected on Good Friday, are administered by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land to preserve the Sacred Places and promote the Christian presence through its many pastoral, education, welfare, health and social facilities in Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
In the letter, Archbishop Gugerotti writes about the recent earthquake which principally effected Syria and Turkey and how ‘many of our brothers and sisters in faith and in humanity have faced a new exodus from their homes, this time no longer for fear of bombs or for what the invasion of the Plain of Nineveh had meant in Iraq, but because their very houses trembled.’
This combination of war and earthquake have left many people with no food, others with no medical treatment, children and youths without schools, and also orphans, wounded and widows with no one to look after them. This results in a need to ensure that the necessary means for living a dignified life are provided, as well as cultural, spiritual and psychological activities which can bring people together.
It is important for Christians to be attentive to this catastrophe and support this collection, because as Archbishop Gugerotti writes, ‘In Jerusalem are our wellsprings, and we want to remain united with the brothers and sisters who continue to testify to the Gospel there.’
Please support the collection generously in your parishes this Good Friday. Read Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti’s letter here.