Br RAMZI SIDAWI, ofm
Treasurer Custody of the Holy Land
"The Custody of the Holy Land was founded 800 years ago by St. Francis of Assisi. His purpose was and still is to guard and preserve the Holy Places, where Jesus, Son of God, became flesh and lived and fulfilled the mysteries of salvation and redemption. The same places where his Mother, the Virgin Mary, also lived.
For 800 years and until today the work of the Friars has been extended to the entire Middle East. With the humility, poverty and simplicity of the friars, solidarity is still one of our main commitments today, especially towards the Christians living in this Holy Land.
One of the main sources of support for the mission of the Custody of the Holy Land is the day dedicated by the Pope to the collection of offerings from all the Catholic churches in the world to be destined for the service of the Holy Land, a collection that is called the "Good Friday Collection".
Due to the difficult conditions of the whole world this year it was decided to postpone this collection until Sunday, September 13. This collection is the first and most important source of support for Christians in this land.
The collection is used for schools and to support Christians, to create job opportunities and to provide the Christians with a welcoming home. In this way, living stones are preserved and local Christians are helped to remain in this land, to live their faith with courage. The friars also work to preserve the Holy Places where Jesus was incarnated and to allow all Christians from all parts of the world to come to these Places to pray and revive their faith, and to be blessed by the Stones and the Earth that Jesus Christ touched.
I hope that as one Church, universal, united and in solidarity, we will help each other. I ask God to bless all those who love and give with joy and peace.