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Vatican’s Good Friday Holy Land collection to address humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Vatican’s Good Friday Holy Land collection to address humanitarian crisis in Gaza

This year’s annual financial appeal of the Holy See for the Holy Land will be allotted to addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

According to Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas War in Gaza on October 20, 2023, has paralyzed the Holy Land.

 “Pope Francis has never ceased to express his closeness to all those affected by the conflict in the Holy Land,” said the cardinal in a letter.

“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,” he said. 

The Hamas-run health ministry reports that the conflict has claimed the lives of over 30,000 civilians.

The cardinal also noted the rapid decrease in tourists and pilgrims visiting the area, which could prove detrimental to small businesses in Gaza.

The Pontifical Collection for the Holy Land, called “Pro Terra Sancta,” has been overseen by the Vatican since 1974. Pope Saint Paul VI designated Good Friday as the day for collection in all parishes around the world.

The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which has been caring for important Christian sites in Israel for more than 800 years, receives 65% of this fund. They also utilize this financial aid for various humanitarian and social activities, as well as providing housing for the poor.

The Dicastery for the Eastern Churches receives the remaining 35% to support the education and activities of seminarians and priests.

According to the summary report from last year, the Pro Terra Sancta raised an equivalent of more than US$7 million.

This year, the Holy See has decided to use the Pro Terra Sancta fund to provide community aid and assistance to the Holy Family Parish, Gaza’s sole Roman Catholic church.

"With the breaking out of the way, the aid has been intensified to support the basic and primary needs of the population exhausted by the bombardments and overcrowded within the compound of the parish buildings," stated the dicastery's summary report. 

Among the beneficiaries are 135 members of the parish community, as well as 600 individuals who have lost their homes since the war began.

The Pro Terra Sancta fund has also aided 33 children suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, a group of rare inherited diseases that cause the skin to blister, through their collaboration with Caritas and the Latin Patriarchate.

Furthermore, Cardinal Gugerotti said that the Holy Father has expressed his gratitude to the Franciscan community, as well as the local Churches and countless charity volunteers, for their hard work of becoming witnesses of the Prince and Peace and encourages them to “pray for and make a contribution for the Holy Land.”- Luke Godoy


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