New Strategies Sought to Aid Holy Land Christians

Holy Sepulcher Order Holds Investiture in Taiwan

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KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, NOV. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, which has sent $51 million in aid to the Holy Land over the last decade, is seeking new strategies to help.



This was affirmed by Thursday by Agostino Borromeo, governor general of the order, in an address at Wenzao Ursiline College of Languages in Kaohsiung. Borromeo was in Taiwan along with Monsignor Hans Brouwers, chancellor of the order, for the investiture of new knights and ladies of the order in that region.

Borromeo explained that "the order has two purposes: spiritual development of its members and spiritual and financial support for the Christians living in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus -- the countries that make up what we call the Holy Land."

"From a Christian point of view, the practice of the theological virtue of charity cannot be excluded in an authentic journey of spiritual growth," he added.

Borromeo reported that "the order today directs most of its funding directly to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem."

He continued: "This covers, first of all, the maintenance of schools (salaries for teachers and administrative staff, coverage of the deficit caused by the non-payment of tuition fees from families in financial difficulties).

"In the second place, it covers the operating expenses of the patriarchal seminary in Beit Jala. And thirdly, it cares for the monthly expenses of the patriarchate (such as salaries for priests and lay employees, purchase of office supplies and electronic equipment and, more generally, the costs for the operation of the general administration)."

Humanitarian aid

The governor general stated, "Special attention has been paid in recent years to humanitarian aid and medical care for the benefit of the poorest families."

In this regard, he continued, "from 2001 to 2008, the order had sent about $4 million which had been locally distributed by the patriarchate and the nunciature."

Borromeo added that "last year, after the conflict in Gaza, an additional $500,000 had been sent for the reconstruction of houses and to aid the families involved."

He noted, "Beside its original task, the order also has the one of trying to create -- together with the patriarchate and all the other ecclesiastical institutions -- religious, social and cultural conditions which could help Christians to continue living in their homeland."

The governor general said that his order is developing new strategies to help the Christians in the Holy Land more extensively, such as "the construction of public housing, to the creation of medical clinics in locations far from hospitals and to the implementation of a system of micro insurance."

In particular, he outlined the idea of "granting micro credits to be given to those who are willing to start small family businesses or crafts."

For this, Borromeo said, "it might be necessary to get in touch with big western -- or eastern -- companies to see if they could be interested in transferring some stages of their production processes in the Holy Land, where the labor costs are surely lower than in their homelands."