March 17, 2016
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The news about the Middle East continues to be bleak for Christians being persecuted for their faith. Each year during Holy Week we are challenged by the Scriptures to see the light of hope amidst darkness and despair. How have we responded as disciples of Christ to follow in his footsteps? Holy Week is about finding hope from despair and, as St. Francis prayed, “that we may be instruments of peace.”
Christians living in the Holy Land struggle to live their faith and to be stewards of the sacred places as Christians arrive in pilgrimage day after day. Catholics worldwide are invited each year by the Holy Father to support our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land by making a donation to the Good Friday Collection. Keeping Christianity alive in the Holy Land is the urgent goal of the Church. In fact, the call to support the community in the Holy Land dates back to the days of St. Paul when he called upon various communities to support their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem.
Thanks to last year’s collection, some of the signs of hope included supporting 29 parishes, four homes for orphans, and helping to keep schools open for over 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students; 80 homes were rebuilt for Christian families; 1,500 jobs were created for Christians in the Holy Land and 54 shrines connected with the life of Jesus and the prophets were preserved for pilgrims.
Please be generous in this year’s Good Friday collection in your parish. A picture is certainly worth a thousand words so I invite you to visit www.myfranciscan.org to learn more about the good work made possible thanks to you response to this pontifical collection.
Pray for peace during this Holy Season so that we may preserve the past and offer hope for the future.
With every prayerful best wish, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester