Guardian of the Holy land places | Custodiae Terrae Sanctae

Guard the Holy Places

The Franciscan friars of the Custody received the mission of preserving the Holy Places of Christianity in the Holy Land, by papal mandate with Clement VI’s Gratias Agimus Papal Bull.

Pope Francis has also recently renewed this mission with a letter he sent on October 17, 2017, in commemoration of the 800-year anniversary of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land: Joining my venerable Predecessors, beginning with Clement VI, who with the Gratias Agimus Bull entrusted the Custody with the Holy Places, I would like to renew this mandate, encouraging you to be joyous witnesses of the Risen Lord in the Holy Land.

Guarding the places sanctified by Jesus’ presence is carried out in concrete ways: 

  • The friars have the task of leading celebrations in the sanctuaries, according to the annual liturgical calendar and of maintaining the structures functioning properly.
  • The maintenance of the Shrines is entrusted to the Technical Office of the Custody of the Holy Land, which is based in Jerusalem.
  • Moreover, for centuries, the friars of the Custody, have welcomed pilgrims who, on foot or on their own means, come to the Holy Land.

Liturgical resources

For centuries the Custody of the Holy Land could only express itself in the language of prayer and liturgical celebrations. There was not much space for evangelisation or pastoral ministry. In recent times we have more room to reflect the multiform nature of our mission. Nevertheless, the liturgy remains a fundamental dimension of the Custody’s service.

The friars use special liturgical aids for pilgrimages and celebrations in the Holy Places.

Click here to access the page of Resources for Masses in the Shrines of the Holy Land also in other languages.

Proper Masses of the shrines

Missae Propriae Sanctuariorum

Time of Advent

Time of Christmas

Time of Lent

 Easter Triduum

Time of Easter

Other resources

Benedict XVI to the Holy Land - May 2009

Benedict XVI to Cyprus - June 2010

Francis to the Holy Land - May 2014