UK Church Launches Friends of Holy Land Charity

Parishes Groups Work With Latin Patriarchate

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BIRMINGHAM, England, NOV. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A new charity aimed at supporting Holy Land Christians was launched this week in the Archdioceses of Birmingham and Liverpool.



Over 100 parishes were represented at the launching events, a press release from the bishops' conference of England and Wales reported.

Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, attended the celebrations in both cities, and celebrated Mass in the cathedrals.

He affirmed, "It is very encouraging to visit this country and see the love and friendship that exists for our people."

"It is not easy living in the Holy Land at this time and we need support from fellow Christians from around the world," the prelate said. "The Friends of the Holy Land is a great initiative and I wish it every success in its planned development."

He assured his listeners, "We will always be happy to welcome the 'friends' to our land."

Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool stated at the reception after Mass, "This is a great initiative and has my whole-hearted support."

Greatest aid

He continued: "We need to encourage those who are representing Christians from all over the world in the land of the Lord's birth, death and resurrection.

"Do consider what you can do in your own parish or deanery to progress this work. In this way we can make contact with the parishioners, the schools and the other institutions as well as assisting directly those who are in great need of humanitarian aid."

The prelate affirmed that the "greatest thing we can do is to pray for them," which is "something every individual is able to do."

Parishioners are encouraged to consider forming a Friends of the Holy Land group in their own parish.

Representatives from the pilot groups of the charity affirmed that over the months they have found great interest and support in this work. The Archdiocese of Westminster will be the next location to welcome the charity.

The initiative was established with the "backing and blessing" of the bishops' conference to assist the Holy Land Christians in cooperation with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the press release noted.

Its objectives are to "raise awareness of the difficulties experienced by the Christian community in the Holy Land, to encourage and to provide for prayers to be offered for their intentions and to create financial support to aid their well-being."

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On the Net:

Friends of the Holy Land: http://www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk