Virtual Pilgrims Asked to Help Holy Land Communities

Initiative of Solidarity

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PESARO, Italy, FEB. 11, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- Would-be pilgrims who fear to travel to the Holy Land are being asked to contribute aid to help the Christian communities suffering from the drop in religious tourism.



The idea is the brainchild of the Pesaro diocesan Office of Pilgrimages, in collaboration with Caritas-Pesaro, Caritas-Italy and Caritas-Jerusalem.

"The virtual pilgrimage of solidarity" consists of contributing the corresponding expenses of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land -- about $700, or at least a portion of them -- to attenuate the extreme poverty of Christian peoples in Palestine.

"It depends on us, Christians of the West, who have benefited from their witness of faith, to find the concrete means to express the fraternal bond that Palestinian parishes need," the director of the Office of Pilgrimages, Giampiero Cernuschi, explained.

"We cannot say that we didn't know it. They expect our visible and concrete response," added Giorgio Giorgetti of Caritas-Pesaro.

The funds received will support four objectives: assistance to the unemployed and creation of new jobs, medical treatment and rehabilitation of minors wounded in the conflict, school expenses for students without means, and support for families in difficulty.

In addition, the diocese is organizing "real" pilgrimages. The first, led by Bishop Angelo Bagnasco last month, was a success and another is being planned for this month.

"The help that pilgrims can contribute, not just financial, is great," organizer Marco Farina said.