VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is the
report for 2009-2010 of the projects completed by the Custody of the Holy
Land of the Order of Friars Minor.
The Vatican press office
published the report today in conjunction with an appeal from Cardinal
Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, to
support the Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land.
The Custody of the Holy Land continues incessantly its path
for the protection and preservation of the Holy Places in Jesus’
Land. Its mission is to keep alive the liturgy in the places of worship,
to take care of pilgrims, to enhance apostolic works, and support the
Christian Community; for these reasons, in the years 2009/2010 the Custody
gave special attention to the planning and the fulfillment of the following
I. Holy Places -- Pilgrims
1. Ain Karem -- Sanctuary
of St. John the Baptist (the sanctuary commemorates the
birthplace of St. John Baptist).
Construction of the
surrounding wall, for an overall total of
340 meters (1,115 feet), to limit the perimeter of the
property of the Custody.
2. Bethany -- The Sanctuary of Bethany
(the Sanctuary was built next to Tomb of Lazarus).
The project was
divided into two parts: renovation of the sanctuary and construction of
the new garage.
3. Bethlehem -- St. Catherine’s Parish Church
(St. Catherine’s Church, adjoining the Grotto of the Nativity).
End of the project of renovation of the lighting system inside
St. Catherine’s Church.
the restoration works, in the rooms of Casa Nova Pilgrim House, due
to the increasing number of pilgrims visiting
-- St. Saviour Monastery (location of
the Custody of the Holy Land and the seminary).
includes the rehabilitation of the Theological Study, the restoration of
some areas of the convent.
-- Dominus Flevit Sanctuary
phase of the restructuring plan of the Convent of Dominus
Flevit, of the shrine, the gardens and the spaces dedicated to the
reception of pilgrims
-- Sanctuary of the Flagellation: Studium
Restoration of the "Hall of the Crusaders", at
the Sanctuary of the Flagellation.
Enlargement of the Library of
the Studium Biblicum Francescanum. The project includes also the
installation of an elevator to facilitate the access to disabled
5. Magdala -- Church of Mary Magdalene (Al-Majdal,
identified with the site of the ancient town of Magdala, reputed to
be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene).
Perpetuation of the
preservation works in the archeological site of Magdala, where important
archeological remains have been found. It was necessary to remove the
mosaic pavements, which from now on should be protected against the
elements. Over the site is under construction visitor route, in order to
make pilgrims understand the day life of the city in the time of
6. Jaffa -- St. Anthony’s Church
Final phase of
the restoration of the whole convent and of the rooms of the Latin
7. Mount Tabor -- Sanctuary of the Transfiguration (where
the Transfiguration of Christ took place).
Designing of the project
of restoration of the Shrine of the Transfiguration at Mount
8. Nain -- Nain’s Sanctuary (Jesus resurrected a
Designing of the project of restoration of
the Shrine that commemorates the Miracle of the resurrection of the
widow’s son. Only recently the Custody has got back the full
possession of the area.
Demolition of the buildings surrounding the
Church, to allow the startup of the project of reconstruction of the
Convent for the Nuns.
9. Tabga -- Sanctuary of the Primacy of St.
Construction of new sanitary facilities and other restoration
works at the Shrine of the Primacy of St. Peter.
10. Mount Nebo
(Jordan) -- Moses Memorial Sanctuary (Memorial of Moses).
phase of the works of reconstruction and conservation of the mosaics at
the Memorial Shrine of Moses the Prophet.
Second phase of the
construction of the new Basilica of the Memorial.
Final phase of the recreation of the Kidron Valley, for
the reception of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
II. Holy Places --
1. Works in favor of youth
Funding system for 360 four-year university scholarships. The
facilitations are divided between different universities: Bethlehem,
Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Haifa, Bir Zeit, Amman and
Craftsman’s laboratories. The project is made to
support 10 small craft businesses by the purchase of spare parts,
equipments, devices to improve the security measures.
in favor of families
the Family Counseling Parish project that supports the
main needs that families can have.
House. Perpetuation of the project dedicated to more than 20
youth between 6 and 12 years old, coming from poor families or with
different kind of troubles. A youth worker, a social worker and a
psychologist are available to receive and assist them.
Assistance. Development of this project that aims to ensure
medical assistance to families in financial straits, by providing a partial
or total coverage of medical expenses.
Rehabilitation of the houses belonging to families in need. The
restoration is done by unemployed workers. Besides helping the families,
we guarantee periodically many working places.
Jerusalem: Conclusion of the rebuilding of the Church of
S. James in Beit Hanina, perpetuation of the works of construction of
different areas dedicated to sport activities in the Parish center, such
as: a soccer field, 2 basketball courts and a swimming
Nazareth: Realization of football fields and playground areas,
for the children of the Parish center in Nazareth.
and preparation of a project for the construction of a Parish center and a
school. Structures not available at the present, but deeply wished by the
Jericho: Construction of the Parish Hall adjoining
the Shrine of the Good Shepherd.
and rehabilitation of the existing spaces of the school
Planning and development of the project of building a theatre at the Saint
Joseph Terra Sancta Girls School.
Jericho: Second phase of the
building of a new school, bigger than the former, to face the increasing
number of requests.
Jordan: Project for the construction of a sport
centre at the Terra Santa School of Amman.
5. Housing development
for poor and for young couples
Beit Fagi: Last phase of the
housing development project S. Francis-Beit Fagi. Here and now have been
assigned 69 apartments to the Christian families of
Jerusalem: Rehabilitation of about 70 houses located in
the Old City of Jerusalem.
Bethlehem: Perpetuation of the
rehabilitation and maintenance of the houses for the poor owned by the
Jaffa: The Franciscan Neighborhood. Housing
development project, for 124 apartments for the Christian families of the
Nazareth: Housing Project in Nazareth. Project for
the construction of a residential complex. Besides the construction of a
Chapel and different social areas, will be constructed about 80 apartments
for young families.
6. Other Cultural Activities
Every year the
Custody of the Holy Land supports the Faculty of Biblical Science and
Archeology of the Studium Biblicum Francescanum of Jerusalem. The Custody
provides to 30 students coming from different Dioceses, scholarships for
the duration of all the studies.
Franciscan Media Center. A new
way of communication through an updated web site that, with the support of
television networks, aims to broadcasts all the events related to the Holy
Places and the local community.
Magnificat. In a few years of
activity, the Magnificat has become a school of music that prepare youth
coming from different cultures. Magnificat institute advance research
activities and promote cultural events both at local and international
In addition to the works developed and planned for the Holy
Land, must be mentioned also the other action taken in Syria and Lebanon.
Such as: Completion of the restoration of the Parish Church at Saint
Francis convent in Aleppo and conclusion of the renovation works in