Churches around the world called to give practical help to Holy Land Christians

Churches around the world called to give practical help to Holy Land Christians
Letter of Card. Sandri to bishops around the world for traditional Good Friday Collection. Support for “specifically pastoral mission, which at the same time offers a praiseworthy social service to all without exception. In this way, fraternity, which can overcome division and discrimination, increases and gives renewed impetus to ecumenical dialogue and interreligious collaboration,” which is the work of peace.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “The loneliness that is at times strongly felt” by Christians in Holy Land can “be overcome by our fraternity” and support for the mission of the Church in those places, although “a specifically pastoral mission, at the same time offers a praiseworthy social service to all without exception. In this way, fraternity, which can overcome division and discrimination, increases and gives renewed impetus to ecumenical dialogue and interreligious collaboration,” which is a work of peace”.

In these terms, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches has asked bishops of the world “to place themselves at the side of the Christians of Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine, as well as the countries near to them – Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Egypt – which together make up that blessed Land”.

The collection for the Christians of the Holy Land, the cardinal writes, comes at a time in which “we share the Holy Father’s preoccupation “for the people of those countries where hostilities and acts of violence continue, particularly Syria and the Holy Land” (Address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 9, 2012). Soon after, His Holiness again interceded fervently for Syria, renewing “the pressing appeal to put an end to the violence… for the common good of the whole of society and the Region” (Angelus, Sunday, February 12, 2012)”

Recalling that the collection takes place traditionally on the Friday before Easter Card. Sandri said that “this year, Good Friday seems more fitting than ever as a sign of the needs of both pastors and faithful, which are bound up with the sufferings of the entire Middle East. For the disciples of Christ, hostility is often the daily bread which nourishes the faith and sometimes makes the echo of martyrdom. Christian emigration is exacerbated by the lack of peace, which tends to impoverish hope, changing it into the fear of facing alone a future that seems to exist only in the abandonment of one’s own country. “

” Nonetheless, as was the case for the Gospel’s grain of wheat (cf. Jn 12:24), so the trials of Christians in the Holy Land prepare without doubt a brighter tomorrow. The dawning of this new day, however, requires support now for schools, medical assistance, critical housing, meeting places, and everything else that the generosity of the Church has devised. What great faith we discover in young people, who, in witness to the Beatitudes and their love of country, have committed themselves to work for justice and peace through non-violent, evangelical means. What a justly proud and firm faith is communicated by those who offer words of reconciliation and forgiveness, knowing that this is the only true response to violence and even to the abuse of power. We have the duty to restore the spiritual patrimony which we have received from these Christians’ two millennia of fidelity to the truth of the faith. We can and must do this by our prayer, by concrete assistance, and by pilgrimages. The Year of Faith, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, will provide particular motivation for us to direct our steps towards that Land, journeying first in our hearts through the mysteries of the life of Christ in company with the Holy Mother of the Lord. “.

The cardinal’s letter is attached to a report of the Custody of the Holy Land which “continues incessantly its centuries old path, of conservation and protection of Holy Sites in the Land of Jesus, to keep the liturgy in churches alive, to assist the pilgrims, intensifying apostolic works to support the communities of Christians. ” The document contains a list of projects and works programmed and executed in the years 2010/2011.

 

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