Almost 800 years have passed since Francis came to this land in 1219. Since then our presence in this land -- called, with reason, "the fifth Gospel," because it was blessed with the presence of the Son of the Almighty and his holy Mother, and bathed with the blood of the Redeemer -- has been constant in despite of the many difficulties and the all kinds of persecutions....
The Custody of the Holy Land has been and should continue being a presence that bridges the East and the West, the Eastern Churches and the Catholic and Latin Church. It is, and should continue being, an important cultural presence in the Middle East, in the name of the Catholic Church. There are new challenges that we, Franciscans, face today in this land so dear to us. We cannot limit ourselves to be mere passive spectators in a world that changes faster and faster. In many occasions, during almost eight centuries of presence in land of Jesus, we have been creators of history in this land.
Why shouldn't this continue?We trust that the Providence, that has brought us to this land, would continue showing us the new paths that we are called to walk in order to respond appropriately to the signs of the times and the places. And that the brothers -- including you commissaries of the Holy Land -- that
work with much dedication and sacrifice in this beloved field of the Order of the Friars Minor enter into the climate of conversion and discernment, keeping always on the journey, to be able, in this way, to offer new answers to the new questions that are posed for us today.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Speaking of a Long-term Commitment
The Franciscans have been Custodians of the Holy Places for 800 years. The Minister General of the Franciscans gave an address in anticipation of their anniversary. Here is the opening and conclusion. And the American media thinks that 5 years is a long-term commitment! Read the whole thing at http://zenit.org for January 13, 2007. Or send yourself the article by clicking here.