The Lenten Holy Land collection will be moved to September because of the suspension of public Masses in many places in the world due to the coronavirus. Source: CNA.
The collection is usually taken up in churches during Good Friday services. Good Friday falls this year on April 10.
According to a press release from the Congregation for Eastern Churches yesterday, Pope Francis approved moving this year's collection to Sunday, September 13, since many countries will not be holding public Good Friday services this year.
The Holy See has overseen the Church's annual collection for the Holy Land since 1974, when St Pope Paul VI established Good Friday as the ordinary day for it to be taken up by parishes and bishops around the world.
The collection goes toward the maintenance and upkeep of the holy sites as well as supporting the lives of Christians in the Holy Land.
“Christian communities in the Holy Land, also exposed to the risk of contagion and living in contexts that are often already very tested, benefit every year from the generous solidarity of the faithful from all over the world,” the release stated.
The Holy Land collection helps the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land and other jurisdictions to be “able to continue their evangelical presence, in addition to maintaining schools and the welfare structures open to all citizens for human education, peaceful coexistence, and care above all for the youngest and poorest.”
The September 13 date was chosen for the collection because it is near the September 14 feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the release said. The Exaltation of the Cross commemorates the discovery of the relic of the cross by St Helen and “the beginning of public worship in Jerusalem with the construction of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.”
This will make the collection “a sign of hope and salvation rediscovered after the Passion,” the statement said, adding that it is a sign of “solidarity with those who continue to live the Gospel of Jesus in the land where 'it all began'.”