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Holy Land appeal


The spread of the coronavirus has resulted in a drastic drop in pilgrimages to the Holy Land as Easter celebrations are cancelled.

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Sacred places such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem have been restricted to gatherings of 10 by public health regulations.

“The feeling is that of a dramatic moment, clearly a moment of emergency, because we’ve witnessed this reality in recent years only during wars or moments of physical danger,” said Brother Francesco Patton ofm, Holy Land custodian.

“Now the danger is this virus, which is now widespread throughout the world and it is right, at this time, to protect people’s health.

“It is right to temporarily suspend pilgrimages, and it is also right that we are the ones praying in the holy places for all those who cannot come to visit them, for all those who are suffering because of the pandemic, for all those who are giving their lives in caring for the sick.

“Let us pray, because these are nevertheless places that bring us back to the mystery of salvation and to the many healings that Jesus himself has worked.”

The cancellation of Masses around the world is expected to have a huge impact on the annual Good Friday collection for the people of the Holy Land. The appeal supports the Franciscan friars’ custody of the Holy Land.

The Friars will make their celebrations accessible via live streaming.

“This allows people to stay in contact. Those who have been here as pilgrims can somehow see these places again, join spiritually in the celebration held here,” said Brother Patton.

“It is important that we make a different kind of pilgrimage, which is the pilgrimage of prayer, one of the very strong dimensions of a pilgrimage.

“A constant, daily, unceasing prayer, so that the pandemic will stop and so that we can find a remedy…an unceasing prayer for the sick, for the nurses, the doctors…and for the people who are suffering.”

Donations to the Good Friday Holy Land appeal can be made online at or to the Commissariat of the Holy Land which are gratefully received at 47 Victoria St, Waverley NSW 2024 and are acknowledged. However, donations are not tax deductible being for overseas work.


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