Time for Postponed Holy Land Collection
Pope Francis sets Sept. 13 for collection usually held on Good Friday
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
September 3, 2020
DIOCESE—With Holy Week celebrations closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic in many countries including the U.S. and Italy, Pope Francis announced at the Vatican on April 2 that he was postponing the traditional Good Friday collection for the Holy Land to Sept. 13. 
 
The hope was that by postponing the worldwide collection, the pandemic would have subsided and churches would be fully open.
 
Following that directive from the Holy See, the Diocese of Rockford advised parishes in April to ask parishioners to hold their Good Friday offertory envelopes for Sept. 13. 
 
Parishes receiving envelopes or contributions for the Good Friday offering for the Holy Land were asked to forward them to the Diocese of Rockford where they have been retained to be sent to the Vatican all together and at the appropriate time, according to the Office of Finance and Administration.
 
Now that September is here, churches are indeed open, but are operating under the health and safety protocols of “Back in His Presence” to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Under those guidelines, in accord with state and local health agencies, parishes are limited in their capacities and a dispensation for those most at risk is still in place.
 
Parishes have been reminded to take up the collection keeping in mind that “The Christian communities in the Holy Land, while exposed to the risk of contagion and often living in very trying circumstances, benefit every year from the generous solidarity of the faithful throughout the world, to be able to continue their evangelical presence, as well as to maintain schools and welfare structures open to all citizens for education, peaceful coexistence and care, especially for the smallest and poorest ones,” the Vatican said.
 
The Vatican said that the date of the collection, which takes place on the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, “will be a sign of rediscovered hope and of salvation after the Passion that many people now participate in, as well as solidarity with those who continue to live the Gospel of Jesus in the land where ‘it all began.’”
 
According to the Commissariats of the Holy Land, gifts from the Holy Land collection each year assist in funding the following programs: 
 
Faith, Memory and Culture — The Holy Places
 
Holy Land Franciscans staff and maintain the holy places and shrines. This enables those who live in the Holy Land and those who visit to deepen their faith and their spiritual and cultural connection to salvation history.
 
Social and Charitable Activities
 
In order to assist Christians to remain in the Holy Land, including the poor and young couples, the Custody builds thousands of residential units. Additionally, they build senior care facilities. Medical assistance is provided for the needy.
 
Educational and Scientific Activities
 
The Franciscans operate and support schools open to all, regardless of religion or nationality. They provide scholarships for young men to answer the call to become Franciscan priests and brothers. Additionally, Franciscan archaeologists pursue ongoing research at the Holy Places.
 
Pastoral Activities
 
The Franciscans provide pastoral care in 29 parishes in the Holy Land offering worship, Christian formation, and necessary youth and family programs, especially in regions affected by war.
 
Liturgical, Ecumenical and Communications Programs
 
The Christian Media Center tells the story of the Holy Land through multimedia distributed throughout the world in more than seven languages. The friars organize liturgical celebrations for local Christians and pilgrims and share with other Christian communities in the Holy Land in ongoing ecumenical cooperation.
 
Contributions to the Holy Land Collection can be made in various ways. 
 
– Use the Holy Land envelope from their envelope packet if it is still available.
 
– Pay by check with a note in the memo field identifying the gift as a Holy Land donation by mailing it to or dropping it off at their parish office or by placing the payment in the offertory receptacle while attending Mass in person. 
 
– Place a cash donation in an envelope identified for the Holy Land collection and placing it in the offertory receptacle or hand delivering it to the parish office.
 
– Make a payment online on the parish giving page if available
 
– Make a donation directly on the Holy Land website at https://myfranciscan.org/donate/. 
Contributions can also be made by check made payable to the Diocese of Rockford with Holy Land noted in the memo field on the check. Those checks can be sent to Diocese of Rockford Finance Office, PO Box 7044, Rockford, IL 61125.
 
For more information or questions about the Holy Land Collection contact the Office of Charitable Giving at 815-399-4300.
 
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