Easter appeal to save 'Christian origins' in Holy Land



The Holy See has launched this year's Easter appeal for the support of Christians in the Holy Land, calling for support to preserve the 'Christian origins' of the region. The prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, called for the collaboration of priests around the world.

He writes: "The Year for Priests involves the beloved priests and seminarians of the whole Church, together with their respective bishops, in a commitment to the Holy Places. Let us, therefore, return in our hearts to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where the Teacher and Lord 'loved us to the end'; to that place where the Apostles with the Holy Mother of the Risen Crucified One experienced the first Pentecost."

 The Cardinal invited everyone to "work tirelessly to guarantee a future for Christians in the place where 'the kindness and humanity' of Our God and Father first appeared.

"The Pope has entrusted the Congregation for the Oriental Churches with the task of keeping alive interest in that blessed land", Cardinal Sandri adds. "In his name I urge everyone to reinforce the solidarity that has been shown so far. In fact, the Christians of the East have a responsibility that belongs to the Universal Church, in other words the responsibility to preserve the 'Christian origins', the places and people who are the sign of them, so that those origins may always be the reference of the Christian mission, the measure of the ecclesial future and its security. They therefore deserve the support of the entire Church".

A document drawn up by the Custody of the Holy Land and a note from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, details the projects undertaken using the 2008-2009 collection.

Apart from providing study grants for priests and seminarians from the Holy Land to study in pontifical universities, various restoration projects were carried out in, among other places: Ain Karem (shrine of the Visitation), Jerusalem, Bethany, Bethlehem, Haifa, Magdala, Nazareth, Mount Nebo, Mount Tabor and Nain.

Funds were also distributed to support parishes, families, schools and universities, and - through the Custody of the Holy Land - to various cultural projects, such as the faculty of biblical sciences and archaeology of the 'Studium Biblicum Franciscanum'  in Jerusalem, and the Francisca Media Centre, a new form of apostolate which uses television networks to divulge the message of the Holy Places and the life of the local Christian communities.

Source: VIS

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