Vatican Official Urges Catholics to Support Traditional Good Friday Collection for Holy Land
Desecrated statue of Christ should move Catholics to recognize the pain of brothers and sisters in the Holy Land
Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, has called on Catholic bishops around the world to encourage their followers to support the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land. The archbishop said that the desecrated face of a statue of Christ in a Jerusalem church should inspire people to recognise the pain experienced by many living in the Holy Land, where violence and natural disasters regularly occur.
Funds collected support Christian communities in the Middle East
The Good Friday collection, which has a long history within the church, is divided between the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and the Dicastery for Eastern Churches. The former, which receives 65% of the funds, works in conjunction with the Franciscan communities in the Middle East to provide a range of services to Christians throughout the region. These include supporting schools, scholarships for students studying in Rome, humanitarian aid and the upkeep of shrines, including the Church of the Flagellation. The latter, which receives the remaining 35%, provides support to seminaries, advanced education for priests and nuns, Catholic schools, and other institutions across the Middle East, including Bethlehem University.
Franciscans provide humanitarian aid in war-torn Syria
Archbishop Gugerotti’s call to support the Good Friday collection also highlights the severe impact of both natural and man-made disasters on Christians living in the region. In addition to the ongoing conflict in Syria, the region has recently been hit by a series of devastating earthquakes that have caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. The Franciscans and other religious orders are currently providing shelter, food, and other vital aid to those impacted by the disasters. The Good Friday collection plays a crucial role in supporting the work of these organisations, to help build and maintain resilient Christian communities in the Middle East.
Report Highlights Importance of Collection
The Vatican has published a summary report, which details where the money from the collection was allocated in 2022. Just over $9 million was collected, and it was distributed to support institutions and communities across Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The report emphasises the critical role that the Good Friday collection plays in supporting the church’s work in the Middle East, from supporting advanced theological studies to providing critical aid and assistance to those affected by conflict and natural disasters.