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VATICAN CITY – The Congregation for the Eastern Churches has issued an appeal for the annual Holy Land collection, which takes place in churches around the world on Good Friday, Apr 14.
“Today, as we know, living the Christian faith in the Middle East is not at all easy,” the Congregation stated in a letter to bishops dated March 1 and released March 18. “Especially in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, where Christian communities have experienced an ‘ecumenism of blood,’ individuals are daily pressured to abandon their land, or even their faith.”
The letter continued:
Nor does freedom reign in the other countries of the region, where Christians are often subjected to forms of oppression and discrimination that undermine their living conditions … Constant prayer is the first and greatest assistance they seek. Also required, however, is concrete economic aid.
The Congregation reported that $7,249,693 (US$5,275,601.56 + €1,833,339.20) was distributed from last year’s collection. Just over half of the funds were used for the education of seminarians and priests; the remaining funds were disbursed to schools, dioceses, and “extraordinary and emergency subsidies” in the wake of ISIS terrorism.
This initiative has been an annual tradition in the Church since its institution by Blessed Paul VI.
According to Blessed Paul VI, the collection was created “not only for the Holy Places but above all for those pastoral, charitable, educational, and social works which the Church supports in the Holy Land for the welfare of their Christian brethren and of the local communities.”- CNA/EWTN News/CWN