08/17/2015, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Msgr. Marcuzzo: To help Christians, come on pilgrimage to the Holy Land

30% of Christians live from religious tourism. The visits help Christians not to feel alone and to avoid the need to emigrate. Fears of insecurity are irrational, because 'from Dan to Beersheba', from north to south, security is very tight. Do not confuse the rest of the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, ...) with the Holy Land. The pilgrimage proposed by AsiaNews.

Nazareth (AsiaNews) – We must not "abandon the Holy Land to his fate", "pilgrims must continue to come to the Holy Land! It is safer here than in Italy and Europe "is the appeal that Msgr. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, has just launched from the pages of Terrasanta.net. AsiaNews is republishing this appeal to help readers understand the importance of the pilgrimage we are organizing to the Holy Land from October 29 to November 5 later this year.

 Msgr. Marcuzzo, who lives in Nazareth, believes that pilgrims are not going to visit the holy sites because they are “imprisoned by fear”. This fear "is absolutely unfounded." The bishop notes that people confuse "massacres and kidnappings that happen ... in Syria, Iraq, Libya and even now in Tunisia" with the situation in the Holy Land, where instead, '' from Dan to Beersheba 'there is a total security and a general peace. "

As well as reviving their faith from the "rejuvenating source ", pilgrimages are a tool to support the life of Christians in the land of Jesus’ birth. At least 30% of the Christians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem live from their earnings in the religious tourism industry. "This - says Msgr. Marcuzzo - means in practice, that when there are pilgrimages that at least 30% earn a living, but when there is a crisis in pilgrimages that 30% is exposed to unemployment and therefore, directly or indirectly, to emigration".

The visit to the holy places also comforts the Christian communities, seeing that "a busload of pilgrims arrive, they say or think: 'Oh, they are here! They have not forgotten us, they still love our land, they will share  our lives with us at least for a few days’.... Strengthened by their presence and their love for us, we too, can move forward ".

Often - continues the bishop - people wonder "what can we do to help the Christians of the Holy Land?". Our experience in the Holy Land suggests the following response: there are several ways, but the 'easiest' and most effective in helping the Holy Land is by going there on pilgrimage.  A pilgrimage is good for both the pilgrim and the local Christian, and is not an added burden for anyone".

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