At the Service of the Holy Land | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

At the Service of the Holy Land


At the Service of the Holy Land

“I am Giuseppe, aged twenty-seven from Bari.”

“Nando from Molise and I studied in Florence.”

“I’m Davide and I come from a village in the Province of Como.”
"My name is Alessandro, I come from Brescia and I’m 25."
Giuseppe, Nando, Davide and Alessandro: these are the young men who arrived in the Holy Land last March to perform a program of community service set in motion by the University of Bari. It is the second year that the Pugliese Academy has offered, to its young graduates, this opportunity to dedicate a year of their lives in voluntary service of great educational value. And the tasks assigned by the Custody are among the most diverse.

“I am doing the cataloging for a preliminary study of lamps of the Byzantine period.”

“I was assigned to the technical office of the Custody and have started to make an inventory of all the artistic and architectural material on their property.”

“My task is to catalog all the volumes published from the 15th to the 18th centuries."

“Myself and another guy have to catalog the archaeological material in the museum.”

Then there is the fact of being in Jerusalem, which makes the work more rich and fascinating. As a cultural activity contributing to the preservation of the historical property of the Custody of the Holy Land, this community service certainly helps to preserve the Franciscans’ immense heritage in this land. But it also furnishes the opportunity, not given to all, to be close to the places of Christ.

“I never thought of being here, so close, working every day in holy places, passing in front of them and entering them as if they were my home.”

“Well, it’s a chance to experience something unique, both from a professional and a human point of view.”
“Of uniting a commitment to the community with a strong religious experience.”
“Then there is a completely different human aspect, which is unique because the chance to work here, in Jerusalem, is granted to very few."

And one just has to look at their faces to see the great value of an opportunity of this kind. It is an experience that not only contributes to their bank of knowledge, but also adds memories that no curriculum could ever contain.

“The first thing I would describe is the view of the sunset with the Dome of the Holy Sepulchre.”

“All the people I met during these six months have given extra value to my experience here in Jerusalem."
“The hands that I have shaken, all the people I came in contact with and got to know.”

“The smiles of the people.”