The collection for the Holy Land Has Been Moved to September

Posted on Apr 5, 2020

This collection is the one that allows us not only to take care of the Holy Places, but above all to take care of the local Christian communities.

The 2020 Holy Week will be a very atypical one. The rites of the Easter Triduum will be celebrated without the participation of the faithful. For this reason, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has deemed it appropriate to postpone the Holy Land Collection which is usually offered on Good Friday to Catholics all over the world.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation, explains that, with the approval of Pope Francis, the Collection has been postponed until Sunday, September 13, near the liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast “commemorates the discovery of the relic of the Cross by Saint Helena and in fact the beginning of public worship in Jerusalem with the construction of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre”.

The Collection for the Holy Land was born from the will of the popes to maintain a strong bond between all the Christians of the world and the Holy Places, and it is the main source of sustenance for life around them. As Brother Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, explains about the Chapel of Calvary.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Holy Land Custos

“This collection is the one that allows us not only to take care of the Holy Places, but above all to take care of the local Christian communities. This year there is this pandemic of Coronavirus. Most Christians are forced to follow the celebrations from home: and therefore it is impossible, materially, for Christians to help their brothers and sisters financially through an offering, on Good Friday.”

A great challenge for the whole world and for the Holy Land, which sees its sanctuaries closed and without pilgrims.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Holy Land Custos

“I understand very well that this is a difficult time for everyone, but I invite Christians all over the world to be in solidarity with us who live in the Holy Land, with our brothers and sisters who live in the Holy Land. And I would like to remember that if elsewhere the pandemic has affected the economy here it affects us in a double way, because our life is very much linked to pilgrimages. Now there are no more pilgrims, there is no longer the possibility of welcoming those who come from other countries, and therefore also our local Christians are in difficulty because most of them at the moment are unable to work in the absence of pilgrimages and for the pandemic.”

The Franciscan presence in the sanctuaries is a point of reference for pilgrims travelling through the Holy Land, and even in these difficult times, it is close to the whole world mainly through prayer.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Holy Land Custos

“In the sanctuaries, our communities, which are mostly small communities, continue to pray daily, to pray for the whole world. Almost all the places in which we find ourselves are also places that refer to healings made by Jesus. We not only need to heal from pandemics and viruses, we need to heal in a much deeper way from what is our selfishness, from the illusion of being able to do it alone, of being able to save ourselves, while the very experience of this pandemic tragedy teaches us that solidarity must grow not only among individuals but also among peoples, among the nations of the world.”

“A few days before the beginning of Holy Week, Brother Francesco Patton’s Easter wish is addressed to the whole world, in particular “to the people and families who are suffering from the Coronavirus pandemic”.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Holy Land Custos

“Easter reminds us that Jesus is stronger than anything, stronger than any evil including physical illness, including death. Obviously Easter reminds us that Jesus did not conquer death by avoiding it, dodging it, but he conquered death by going through it, and so many of our brothers and sisters find themselves living this moment in communion with Him here, on Calvary, and many of them are making the passage from this world to the Father. But even the moment of death is illuminated by Jesus’ Easter, and it does not become the end of everything for a Christian. This moment becomes being taken by the hand of the Lord and led into the embrace of the Father, who awaits us in the heavenly Jerusalem.”