On Good Friday, a pontifical collection is taken up in every parish in the United States. Catholics will gather to contribute to the annual collection with the proceeds supporting ministries and works in the Holy Land, largely under the direction of the Franciscans.
The Pontifical Good Friday Collection offers a direct opportunity for parishioners to be witnesses of peace. Their support is a sign of Christian unity, which helps protect the Holy Places. This annual Good Friday Collection unites all Christians with the Holy Land.
The Good Friday funds support Catholic schools, parishes and religious education in the Holy Land. The Good Friday collection also preserves the shrines for pilgrims and provides assistance, including housing and food, for the poor and needy.
Vatican Information Service recently stated Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, addressed a letter to all bishops worldwide in view of the collection for the Holy Land.
Every day, Christians in various regions of the Middle East ask themselves whether to stay there or to emigrate: they live in conditions of insecurity or suffer violence, at times for the mere fact of professing their, and our, faith”, he says. “Every day there are brothers and sisters who resist, choosing to remain there where God fulfilled in Christ His plan for universal reconciliation. From that land there departed those who, upon Christ's Word, brought the Gospel to the four corners of the world. It is there that the Church always rediscovers, with her roots, the 'great hope' that bears Jesus' name, but the current situation is truly delicate: it is enough to think of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the evolution that Egypt is undergoing, and the tragedy in Syria.” His letter continues, “On Good Friday we wish to raise to the Crucified the cry for peace for Jerusalem so that the world, starting from the land of Jesus, might become the City of Peace.
The Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, said, “It is important that the Christians all over the world support the church in the Holy Land, so we can continue our work.”
Last year’s Good Friday Collection provided support for the Holy Land in these ways:
• Supported 29 parishes, four homes for orphans, three academic institutions
• Helped keep 16 schools open for over 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students
• Provided 398 homes benefitting Christian families
• Helped rehabilitate over 100 homes for Christians families in the last five years
• Provided senior care facilities in Bethlehem and Nazareth
• Created 1,500 jobs in the Holy Land
• Preserved 74 sanctuaries and shrines from the life of Jesus and the prophets
• Supported over 100 men preparing to be priests or brothers