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Justice François Kunc with Pope Francis in Rome (The Catholic Weekly)

Australian supporters of the Church in the Holy Land have pledged to redouble their efforts after hearing a shocking assessment of its future from Latin Patriarch Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa. Source: The Catholic Weekly

Justice François Kunc, the Lieutenant of the New South Wales Lieutenancy of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, recently returned from a meeting in Rome of the order’s leaders from around the world, called a consulta, where the cardinal offered a report from Jerusalem via Zoom.

“It was really dire, especially in Gaza, and the most sobering line from the Cardinal Patriarch was that he doesn’t think he will need the four patriarchal schools in the region after the war but he will have to build two orphanages — that’s the reality,” he said.

He said the cardinal’s “powerful and emotional presentation” shocked the room into silence.

“Here you have around 60 experts, essentially, going, ‘Oh, that really is extraordinary’ and people started immediately thinking through the implications of where aid will have to go and how much would be required.”

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre is a lay-led religious order of knighthood, conferred upon men and women from all walks of life by the pope in his capacity as the leader of the Catholic Church.

Its 30,000-odd members around the world, around 500 in Australia, have ancient links to the first crusaders in Jerusalem. The order’s mandate is to serve the church in the Holy Land, working to maintain its presence in the place where Jesus lived, died and was resurrected.

That means providing funding for Catholic schools, universities, parishes, hospitals, aged care facilities, social services and more throughout the large archdiocese which covers Israel and the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cypress.


Pledge to redouble Holy Land help (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)