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Damage caused by an air strikes in Gaza (Caritas Jerusalem)

This year, the Vatican’s annual Good Friday financial appeal for the Holy Land highlights the urgent humanitarian crisis facing the beleaguered population in Gaza and the Pope’s plea for peace. Source: CNA.

“The outbreak of the war in Gaza, after the events of October 7, paralysed the Holy Land. The lack of pilgrims and tourists has put thousands of families in difficulty,” Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti, prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, said in a letter released on March 8.

The Vatican has overseen the Pro Terra Sancta fund, or the Pontifical Collection for the Holy Land, since 1974, when Pope Paul VI designated Good Friday as the day for the collection to be taken up by parishes around the world. 

Typically, 65 per cent of the funds collected are earmarked for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which has maintained the holy places of Christianity in the region for more than 800 years. The Franciscan Custody also uses the funds for humanitarian and social activities, including help in defraying “the health costs of families and for their basic necessities” as well as providing housing for needy people and young families who “pay symbolic rents”. 

The remaining 35 per cent is given to the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches to support seminarians and priests as well as educational and cultural activities.

This year’s appeal comes against the backdrop of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has had a devastating effect on the civilian population. 

“With the breaking out of the war the aid has been intensified in order to support the basic and primary needs of the population exhausted by the bombardments and overcrowded within the compound of the buildings of the parish,” the summary report stated. 

Cardinal Gugerotti said Pope Francis “intends to carry out a project with humanitarian purposes in Gaza or the West Bank, which can help the population resume a more dignified life and create job opportunities once the war is over”. 


Vatican’s Good Friday Holy Land collection to aid humanitarian efforts in Gaza (By Matthew Santucci, CNA)


Good Friday Collection ‘helps Christians remain in Holy Land’ (Vatican News)