The “Collection for the Holy Land” was born from the desire of the Popes to maintain a strong link between all the faithful and the Holy Places, and given a decisive boost by Saint Paul VI through the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Nobis in Animo’ (March 25, 1974). It is an instrument that the Church provides her children in other parts of the world to express solidarity with the ecclesial communities of the Middle East. The funds traditionally collected on Good Friday are the main source of material support for Christian life in the Holy Land.

The Franciscan Custody uses the Collection to carry out its important mission of preserving the Sacred Places, the stones of memory, and promoting the Christian presence, the living stones, through many pastoral, educational, welfare, health and social structures. The territories that benefit in various forms of support from the Collection are Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

As a rule, the Custody of the Holy Land receives 65% of the Collection, while the remaining 35% goes to the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, which uses it for the formation of candidates for the priesthood, the support of the clergy, educational activities, cultural formation and subsidies to the various ecclesiastical circumscriptions in the Middle East.

In summary, we report what the Congregation received in 2019 and how it was distributed:

Amount received in 2019 from the Collection                US$ 6.929.209,64
Amount received from the Custody for previous years  US$ 1.350.000,00
Total                                                                                 US$ 8.279.209,64

Academic, Spiritual and Human Formation of the Seminarians and Priests of the Churches under the Jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches

Thanks to the Collection, contributions can be made to seminaries, religious houses of formation and cultural institutions in the territories of competence, supporting in various forms (scholarships, university fees and health needs) young seminarians and priests, men and women religious and, depending on the funds available, and some lay people. About 300 students benefiting from scholarships are hosted in 7 colleges under the jurisdiction of the Dicastery in Rome. A new college that opened four years ago for nuns from different Eastern countries welcomes 32 female students this year. In addition, the Dicastery contributes to the sustenance of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, a higher academic institution with two faculties, Eastern Ecclesiastical Sciences and Eastern Canon Law, of which the Cardinal Prefect is Grand Chancellor.

Formation of seminarians, priests and nuns in Rome,

Maintenance of Colleges                                        US$ 2,310,681.00
Pontifical Oriental Institute (PIO)                            US$ 915,571.00
Extraordinary subsidies for cultural collaboration  US$ 50,000.00
Total                                                                         US$ 3,276,252.00

Subsidies for Educational Activities

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Custody of the Holy Land, the Eastern Catholic Churches of the Holy Land and Religious Institutes are committed to the education of young people in the Holy Land. Keeping in mind the particular circumstances faced by Christian students and taking into account the arrival into the Holy Land of thousands of school-aged children from Syria and Iraq, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has decided to increase the subsidies also for the current academic year.

The work of the Secretariat of Solidarity in the coordination and distribution of subsidies to educational institutions managed by the aforementioned institutions is also noteworthy. One of the prestigious Institutions that ensures academic formation is Bethlehem University. Almost 3,300 young people, mostly Palestinian Muslims, are trained intellectually and humanly with the hope of engaging in the construction of a country where mutual respect reigns and where human dignity is preserved. The commitment of the De La Salle Brothers in running the university is much appreciated.

Secretariat of Solidarity                                         US$ 990,000.00
Schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem     US$ 850,000.00
Bethlehem University                                            US$ 1,200,000.00
Total                                                                      US$ 3,040,000.00

Ordinary and Extraordinary Subsidies

This Congregation contributes to supporting the Churches placed under its competence with subsidies drawn from the Holy Land Collection. The Middle East continues to live in instability and tension. Those who have no food, medical treatment or school make themselves heard, as do the orphans, the widowed and the wounded.

The Congregation pays particular attention to the needs of these people and works to rebuild social structures through the local Eastern and Latin Dioceses, as well as by coordinating the Catholic agencies involved in the aforementioned countries. Ensuring the means necessary for a dignified life for those returning to Iraq and Syria and for refugees in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan, requires the collaboration of all people of good will. Furthermore, cultural, spiritual and psychological activities are encouraged that in various ways bring people closer, despite religious and ethnic differences.