Holy-Land Catholics Earmark Funds for Iraqis of All Creeds

Annual Good Friday Collection Will Go to Those Affected by War

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JERUSALEM, APRIL 14, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The annual Good Friday collection that is gathered from Christian communities in the Holy Land will go to help the people of Iraq this year.



The traditional "Day for the Needs of the Church in the Holy Land" collection will help those affected by the war.

Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, patriarchal vicar of Nazareth, said that the decision "is a concrete sign of closeness and solidarity with the Iraqi peoples stricken by the conflict."

"What is collected as the result of self-denial and fasting, from ecclesial communities in the Holy Land, will be sent to Caritas-Jerusalem and Caritas-Baghdad, to be allocated immediately to the needs of our Iraqi brothers, regardless of creed," the bishop told the Italian Catholic agency SIR.

"What is important is not the amount we are able to send or the material or financial void filled, but the communion and heartfelt closeness it implies," he added.

The bishop also made an appeal: "May pilgrims return to the Holy Land. May they visit and pray again in the holy places. It is the best way to witness the Church's closeness to our ecclesial communities, which run the risk of feeling increasingly alone and abandoned."

In keeping with the decision of Popes in recent times, on Good Friday a collection is taken up throughout the world for the needs of Catholic communities in the troubled Holy Land.

Catholics in the Holy Land also take part in this collection, and it is their contribution which will be allocated this year to the Iraqis.