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

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

In two things then was Abraham victorious: that he killed his son although he did not kill him and that he believed that after Isaac died he would be raised up again and would go back down with him. For Abraham was firmly convinced that He Who said to him, 'through Isaac shall your descendants be named,' was not lying.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis