In a letter sent to bishops throughout the world, Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, invites Catholics to support the Christians who live in the Holy Land, especially by means of the annual Good Friday collection. The letter reads: 'The Land of the Lord continues to be the scene of a conflict that has lasted for decades and deprives Catholic communities and institutions of the adequate means to maintain and promote religious, humanitarian and cultural activities. This distressing situation leads to poverty and unemployment, with serious consequences for families and for the entire population. It also increases the disturbing phenomenon of the constant exodus of Christians, especially young couples for whom there is no prospect of a safe and dignified future. 'However, the presence of Christians in the Holy Land is more necessary than ever for the peaceful future of the area, as it is also for the good of the whole universal Church, which ought to find in the Holy Places living communities that profess the Gospel faith.' In his letter, the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches goes on to recall Benedict XVI's audience with participants in the meeting of the Assembly of Organizations for Aid to the Eastern Churches (ROACO) in June 2005, during which the Holy Father 'emphasized in any case that 'certain positive signs in recent months strengthen the hope that the day of reconciliation between the various communities working in the Holy Land will not be long in coming; for this', he said, 'let us unceasingly pray with trust'. This is the responsibility incumbent upon the universal Church with regard to the Mother Church of Jerusalem, 'to which,' as the Pope said, 'all Christians have an unforgettable obligation.' 'Thus, it is a duty of all Catholics throughout the world to accompany the Christian communities of that blessed Land with prayer and concrete solidarity.'
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