At the request of Pope Francis, parishes of the Diocese of Trenton and around the world will participate in the annual Pontifical Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land. In a letter to all pastors, Bishop David M. O’Connell suggested this collection be rescheduled to occur on Palm Sunday, March 28.

The Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land have taken responsibility to care for the holy places for more than 800 years, as well as caring for the Christians living in the Holy Land, now predominantly occupied by Jewish and Islamic populations.

Proceeds from the Good Friday Collection are applied to numerous programs. The Franciscans staff and maintain holy places, enabling residents and visitors to deepen their faith and connection to Christ.

Last year’s collection supported parishes, homes for orphans and academic institutions; helped keep schools open for pre-K throughout grade 12 students; supported men preparing to be priests or brothers; helped rehabilitate homes for Christian families; provided senior care facilities in Bethlehem and Nazareth; created jobs in the Holy Land for Christians, and preserved shrines connected with the life of Jesus and the prophets.

In addition, Franciscan archaeologists pursue ongoing research at the holy places and unearth historical artifacts. The wars, unrest and instability have been especially hard on Christians; in this time of crisis, the Pontifical Good Friday Collection provides humanitarian aid to refugees.

For more information about the collection or the work of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, see: www.myfranciscan.org/good-friday.