06/24/2004, 00.00
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The Pope: May help for Christians in the Holy Land never fail

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Let the Church's help for the Christians in the Holy Land never fail, for "they have been tested by lasting violence and many problems that have caused economic impoverishment, social strife, and human and cultural discouragement." Today John Paul II has once again urged Christians throughout the world to live in "effective solidarity" with their brothers and sisters who survive under difficult circumstances in the land where Jesus was born.

Indeed, the Christian community is going through trying times made worse not only by the violence associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also by the sudden drop in the number of pilgrims whose presence traditionally provided the means for economic survival. The net result has been a growing rate of emigration. Even those who have not left are tempted to take to the roads of exile leaving the places Jesus knew so well without a living Church. Hence the urgent need for economic assistance so that this apparently irreversible exodus may be stopped.

"The traditional Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land provides an important opportunity to express the solidarity that binds all believers in Christ," the Pope said today upon meeting the assembled participants attending the Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (Riunione delle opere in aiuto alle Chiese orientali or ROACO), a body linked to the Congregation on behalf of Catholic Oriental clergy. "My venerable predecessors have always recommended that all Christian communities take care of the Mother Church in Jerusalem. We must keep on praying for peace among the peoples who live in the Land of Jesus," the Pope reiterated. According to him, this way "we can help fulfill the most urgent needs and nourish the spirit of hospitality and respect for one another. In turn this would encourage the spirit of reconciliation. All this cannot but help building the hoped for peace."
Today the Pope thanked ROACO for the help it has provided to the Christian communities of the Oriental Churches "who are now going through trying times as a result of ongoing strife, terrorism and other difficulties." He concludes that, "in addition to the generous deeds in favour of Iraq's populations, you have shown a special concern for the Greek Catholic Church of Romania."

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