Latin Patriarch launches new charity for Holy Land

Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal

Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal

More than 100 parishes from the Archdioceses of Birmingham and Liverpool were represented at the celebrations to launch the new national Friends of the Holy Land Charity at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham and the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool last weekend.

Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Bishop Philip Pargeter welcomed the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal who attended both celebrations and then celebrated Mass in the Cathedrals. His Beatitude expressed his great appreciation of all that was being done to assist the Christian Community in the Holy Land. “It is very encouraging to visit this country and see the love and friendship that exists for our people. It is not easy living in the Holy Land at this time and we need support from fellow Christians from around the world. The Friends of the Holy Land is a great initiative and I wish it every success in its planned development. We will always be happy to welcome the “Friends” to our Land.”

Many of the Parish representatives had travelled to the Holy Land on recent Diocesan Pilgrimages and had experienced first hand some of the difficulties experienced on a day-to-day basis by the local communities.

Pilot Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) groups have been setup in recent months in four parishes and representatives of the pilot Parish FHL Groups spoke of the great interest there had been in their work and the great support they had received from fellow parishioners. They commended the encouragement and contribution received from the National Team.

Archbishop Kelly, speaking at the Reception that followed Mass at Liverpool Cathedral, said: “This is a great initiative and has my whole-hearted support. We need to encourage those who are representing Christians from all over the world in the Land of the Lord’s birth, death and resurrection. Do consider what you can do in your own parish or deanery to progress this work. In this way we can make contact with the parishioners, the schools and the other institutions as well as assisting directly those who are in great need of humanitarian aid. Please do not forget that the greatest thing we can do is to pray for them … and that is something every individual is able to do.”

The next phase of the launch is planned for the Archdiocese of Westminster where the Archbishop, The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols is one of the Patrons of the Friends of the Holy Land, as is the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly.

National Chairman, Dr Michael Whelan, speaking in Birmingham said: “I am delighted at the encouragement and support that has been expressed for this initiative. Everyone is able to assist in their own way and make a contribution however large or small and when it is repeated in all parishes and by all our Friends across the dioceses then it can have a great impact. Please do what you can to contribute to our work.”

If you would like to form a Friends of the Holy Land Group in your parish, see:  email or telephone the National Office on 01926 512980.

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