VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2007 (VIS) - As is customary at the beginning of Lent, Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, has sent a letter "to all of the pastors of the Universal Church" requesting "assistance for the needs of a portion of the Church which is both forever old and forever young, ... Catholic Christians living in the Holy Land."


  In his letter, published in English, Spanish, French and Italian, the cardinal recalls how the first collection for the Holy Land dates back "to the pontificate of Martin V. In 1421 he promulgated norms to regulate the gathering of offerings. ... This collection has since been marked by pontifical approval; was confirmed by various succeeding pontiffs, and was applied directly and with utmost solicitude for the aid of the Christian community in the Land of the Lord.


  "The Congregation for Oriental Churches," he continues, "shares in this concern, and always stands in solidarity with Christians in the Holy Land and those throughout the Middle East. We are aware, too, that the political and economic crisis of this area has not yet been resolved and shows evidence each day of unspeakable suffering. This situation impresses upon all of us that there is an absolute and urgent need to support our brothers and sisters in this land, and to do so in every possible manner. In particular, we continually invoke upon them that peace which comes only from the Most High."


  Benedict XVI, writes Cardinal Daoud, "recalled this obligation during his visit to Turkey" when he said "we ask peace for Jerusalem and for the entire world." The prefect also emphasizes the grave responsibility of "the universal Church with regards to the Mother Church of Jerusalem.


  "Therefore," he continues, "all Catholics of the world must offer their prayers and expressions of solidarity, including economic solidarity, to the Christian community of that blessed Land. Despite their countless difficulties, these Christians offer day by day, and in silence, an authentic witness to the Gospel."


  The cardinal concludes his letter by saying: "It is appropriate also to acknowledge the Latin Patriarch, the Custody, ... the Oriental Catholic Churches and all of the institutes and organizations operative in this territory. To each I express profound gratitude. It is a gratitude filled with confidence that the particular Churches of the world will continue to respond favorably to this vital cause of the Holy Land.


  "The heartfelt appreciation of the Holy Father is also extended. He assures his prayers and blessing for all of the Churches and upon all of the benefactors of the Land of the Lord."


CEO/HOLY LAND COLLECTION/DAOUD                                 VIS 070306 (450)

Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice-blessed are those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain the good things announced in the Gospels. For what profit will it be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor of man is like the blossom of grass. For the grass departs and the blossom dies, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.

St. Nicon "Repent Ye"