In a few days we will celebrate Easter together with our Christians of the Holy Land and with pilgrims from all over the world. Here in Jerusalem the Lord died and rose again for us. It is before His empty tomb that we feel our faith strengthened and our hope renewed.
Our task as friars minor of the Custody of the Holy Land is precisely that of taking care of the blessed and holy stones which are the sanctuaries and at the same time of the "living stones" which are the local Christians and pilgrims. It is our duty to give everyone the opportunity to see and touch the places where Jesus lived, died and rose again for us. They are the places that remind us that what the Apostles announced to us is true and what the Church has handed down to us over the centuries to give meaning and fullness to our lives.
Making sanctuaries more welcoming, carrying out pastoral and social activities is a service that we do with our heart and in the name of the whole Church. We are also at the service of a Church wounded by so many years of conflicts and wars and now also by the devastation of the earthquake.
All of this, of course, has a cost and a large part of this cost is covered annually by the Good Friday Collection and by the generosity of the faithful around the world, by your generosity. On this occasion, we friars of the Custody of the Holy Land make ourselves beggars and turn to your generosity so that Good Friday may be a day of universal solidarity, a day in which Christians from all over the world concretely take care of the Mother Church of Jerusalem.
Please open your hearts to generosity and your hands to solidarity. Thanks to your help, we too will be able to continue to take care of this Holy Land and its children.
Fr Francesco Patton OFM
Custos of the Holy Land