At the request of Pope Francis, parishes of the Diocese of Trenton and around the world will participate in the annual Pontifical Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land, held this year on March 30.
For more than 800 years, the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land have taken responsibility to care for the holy places, as well as caring for the Christians living in the Holy Land, now predominantly occupied by Jewish and Islamic populations.
Proceeds from the Good Friday Collection are applied to numerous programs. The Franciscans staff and maintain holy places, enabling residents and visitors to deepen their faith and connection to Christ. Last year’s collection supported 29 parishes, four homes for orphans and three academic institutions; helped keep schools open for more than 10,000 pre-K throughout grade 12 students; supported 120 men preparing to be priests or brothers; helped rehabilitate 80 homes for Christian families; provided senior care facilities in Bethlehem and Nazareth; created 1,500 jobs in the Holy Land for Christians, and preserved 54 shrines connected with the life of Jesus and the prophets.
In addition, Franciscan archaeologists pursue ongoing research at the holy places and unearth historical artifacts, and the friars operate a media center which tells the story of the area in seven languages. The wars, unrest and instability have been especially hard on Christians; in this time of crisis, the Pontifical Good Friday Collection provides humanitarian aid to refugees.
For more information about the collection or the work of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, see: www.myfranciscan.org/good-friday.