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Help preserve the places where Jesus lived Print E-mail
Editorial
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Easter is early this year (Sunday, April 1), so we will soon be starting Holy Week on Palm Sunday, March 25.

At this time, our thoughts and prayers turn to what happened in Jerusalem during Our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection.

We will be reliving the events of that week during the liturgies of Holy Week in our churches. It is a special time for us as Christians, and hopefully we will attend as many services as possible.

Reliving Holy Week

During Holy Week, we may envision what happened in Jerusalem: Jesus’ triumphal arrival with palms waving, his last supper with his apostles, his suffering and death on a cross. We may see these events as part of history, viewing them almost with a sense of nostalgia.

However, our faith makes us realize that these events are not only in the past. We reenact them every year — and every day of our lives — as we journey with Jesus in the triumphs, crosses, deaths, and resurrections we face.

Preserving holy places

In addition, the places where Jesus lived and died are still physically present in the Holy Land. If we have the opportunity, we can visit these places and be even more immersed in the life and death of Jesus Christ.

As a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, I have a special interest in the preservation of these holy places.

Our order dates back to the First Crusade, when its leader, Godfrey de Buillon, liberated Jerusalem from Muslim control. Eventually, members of the order returned home. However, they kept alive the ideals of the order, including propagation of the faith, defense of the weak, and charity towards other human beings.

Continuing challenge

In the 14th century, the Vatican placed the Christian places in the Holy Land under the protection of the Franciscan Friars Minor. The Equestrian Order continues to this day to help the Franciscans support the Christian shrines and other places in the Holy Land.

This is a challenge, since the number of Christians in the Holy Land has decreased drastically. In the mid-19th century, Jerusalem had a Christian population of 22 percent. Today, less than two percent are Christians.

However, the Holy Land Franciscans continue to preserve the sacred places and much more, including parishes, schools, homes for the elderly, and other charitable works.

A great part of the support for these ministries is obtained through the annual Good Friday collection. This is the only collection taken in all Catholic churches around the world on Good Friday.

I encourage people to attend the Good Friday service at your parish and make a contribution to this important collection. Please help preserve the holy places where Jesus walked for future generations to visit.

Please see the article (click here) in this week’s Catholic Herald by Joan Carey, who writes about her recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector of the Cathedral Parish in Madison, and Fr. Scott Jablonski, pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Lodi and Dane.

The account of their experiences is inspiring and educational. It makes me more determined than ever to support the Good Friday collection.

 
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