Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – “the Holy Land expects the brotherhood of the universal Church and desires to reciprocate it in sharing the experience of grace and suffering that marks her journey.... The Christians of the East are experiencing the actuality of martyrdom and are suffering because of the instability or absence of peace. The most disturbing sign of this is their inexorable exodus.” So writes the Prefect for the Congregation of Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, in his letter to the Bishops of the world concerning the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land.
The Cardinal emphasises that “indeed a few positive signs in some situations do not suffice to invert the sorrowful tendency of Christian emigration which impoverishes the entire area, draining it of the most vital forces constituted by the young generations.” Thus it falls on each one of us to join in the Holy Father's incessant work to encourage Christians in Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and other eastern countries.
The Good Friday collection, continues the letter, “is inherent in the cause of peace, of which the brothers and sisters of the Holy Land desire to be effective instruments in the hands of the Lord for the good of the whole of the East”, moreover the collection “remains the ordinary and indispensable means of promoting the life of Christians in that beloved Land.”
“The Congregation for the Eastern Churches acts as spokesperson for these Churches' needs for pastoral care, education, social assistance and charity,” notes Cardinal Sandri, who concludes by repeating Pope Benedict's exhortation to us, “to go beyond the gesture, although it is praiseworthy, and of concrete help. The relationship must become more intense in order to attain a 'true spirituality anchored to the Land of Jesus'.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2011)
The complete text of the letter, in various languages