In his thirteen Letters, saint Paul frequently mentions the generosity of the different Christians communities that he set up in favor of the Mother Church : « it is a blessing to assist the faithful of Jerusalem » (2 Cor 8,3-4). The Good Friday Collection for the benefit of the Holy Places is in the keeping of this spirit. Since the Pastoral of Leo XIII dated December 26, 1887, all the popes have prescribed as mandatory, throughout catholicity, the Collection for the Holy Places of the Holy Land.
Distribution of Receipts
The bishops hand over the proceeds of the Good Friday Collection to their respective Holy Land Commissariats operating in many different countries. The Commissariats in turn forward the sums received to the Bursar’s office of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem. Ultimately, it is the Congregation of the Eastern Catholic Churches that oversees the sharing out of this financial assistance. The intermediaries are not authorized to make liberal gifts of their choosing. Currently the offering collected is shared out as follows: a portion is given to the Eastern Catholic Churches of the territory of the Holy Land; the rest is given over for the upkeep and repair of the Holy Places, i.e. some 50 shrines that are dear to the piety of Christians and pilgrims the world over; and for the pastoral, educational, social and cultural mission of the Custody of the Holy Land.
Participation of Canadian Benefactors
Thanks to the Good Friday Collection and the offering of the Canadian Catholics for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Holy Land Commissariat in Ottawa forwards each year all the donations made to the Custody of the Holy Land for the fulfillment of its mission and undertakings. The requirements of the Canadian authorities regarding the exit of funds from the country stipulate that the annual projects be submitted by the Custody of the Holy Land to the Commissariat and that a report be filed at the closing of each year by the Custody on the use of such funds and the monitoring of the authorized projects.
Reinforcing the Christian Presence
in the Holy Land
The Collection brings an indispensable support to the Christian minority of the Holy Land. The State of Israel and Palestine have a population of some 10 million people. So the 180,000 Christian inhabitants represent less than 2% of this population. To check the exodus from the Holy Land of Christians whose lives are rendered particularly difficult, the Franciscan Custody implements numerous initiatives. In addition to ensuring the guard of the shrines, the Good Friday Annual Collection allows the living stones to inhabit the Holy Places and in so doing bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ.