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Jerusalem: Holy Land Custos launches appeal for Good Friday collection

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Jerusalem: Holy Land Custos launches appeal for Good Friday collection

Every year on Good Friday, a collection is taken up in Catholic Churches around the world to support the work of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land who have the unique responsibility of maintaining the Holy Places and preserving the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

For the Collection for the Holy Land this year, Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, has launched an appeal in a video message, encouraging the faithful to generously support this important service to the universal Church. His appeal was made on Wednesday, the eve of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

“Please help us again this year, according to your possibilities and generosity of your heart, so that we can continue to help those in need,” Br. Patton said in the video message.

The Collecta pro Terra Sancta, born of the Popes’ wishes for a bond between all Christians of the world and the Holy Places, received a decisive boost through Paul VI’s 1974 Apostolic Exhortation “Nobis in Animo”. The offerings collected by the parishes and the Bishops are sent by the Commissars of the Holy Land to the Custody of the Holy Land.

However, the ongoing health emergency of covid-19 and the multi-faceted challenges that it entails has also affected the Holy Land with the lack of pilgrims and the lack of jobs to local Christians, among other things.

Yet the Franciscan Custody has continued in its mission of service it has been entrusted. In the parishes, they continue to take care of Arabic, Hebrew and Greek-speaking Christians, migrant workers and refugees.

All of these costs, Br. Patton explained, “is largely covered by the Good Friday Collection every year.”

“Help us to help others! May the Lord bless and reward each and every one of you. Thank you,” he exclaimed.

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Iraq: Cardinal makes case for religion, state separation

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Iraq: Cardinal makes case for religion, state separation

One month after Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq, Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako has outlined his vision for the country going forward, making the bold suggestion of enforcing a stricter separation between religion and the state.

In a written reflection on the pope’s historic March 5-8 visit, Cardinal Sako called the papal trip “an ideal opportunity that all Iraqis must take advantage of to return, with all their confessions and religions, to themselves and their patriotism.”

This, he said, involves “turning the page from the past and opening a new page for reconciliation,” strengthening a sense of national fraternity, respecting differences, fighting for peace, rebuilding the country’s crumbling institutions and allowing displaced people to return to their homes.

Speaking on the importance of human fraternity as the basis of a peaceful coexistence, the cardinal insisted that “Iraqis, in principle and by constitution, are citizens with equal rights and duties, and citizenship cannot be limited to religion, creed, region, race, or number.”

“Citizenship is a universal right for everyone,” he said, adding, “We must discover new horizons for our fellow citizens, so that everyone feels that Iraq is their home.”

In this regard, he suggested that perhaps now is the time “to separate religion from the state and build a civil state, as the Christians West has done for a long time, and as the state of Sudan is doing in these days!”

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Cameroon: Pope mourns as Africa loses foremost cardinal

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Cameroon: Pope mourns as Africa loses foremost cardinal

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the death of Cardinal Christian Tumi, the African nation’s first Cardinal created by Pope St. John Paul II in 1988.

The Cameroon’s lone cardinal passed away on Good Friday, April 2, in a clinic in the Cameroonian city of Douala.

Pope Francis sent a telegram on Easter Sunday to express his condolences for the Cardinal’s death.
The Pope’s message was addressed to Archbishop Samuel Kleda, the Archbishop of Douala and Cardinal Tumi’s successor.

“On learning with sorrow of the death of our brother Cardinal Christian Tumi, I wish to express my condolences and my union in prayer with the College of Cardinals, the family and friends of the deceased, as well as with all those who mourn him,” wrote the Pope.

He added that Cardinal Tumi “left an unforgettable mark on the Church and on the social and political life” of Cameroon.

Cardinal Tumi served from 1979 as the Bishop of Yagoua, then as the Archbishop of Garoua, and finally as the Archbishop of Douala until his retirement in 2009.

Pope Francis said the late Cardinal always committed himself “courageously to the defense of democracy and the promotion of human rights.”

He also praised Cardinal Tumi’s desire to promote peace and reconciliation “in his old age.”
“He was a faithful collaborator of the Popes, assuming various offices in the Roman Curia,” wrote Pope Francis. “May the Lord welcome His servant into His peace and joy!”

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United States: Easter, God’s remedy for grieving hearts – Cardinal preaches

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United States: Easter, God's remedy for grieving hearts - Cardinal preaches

The risen Christ on Easter offers hope to people experiencing sorrows in their everyday lives and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory said at an Easter Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“Easter is an unfolding experience of hope – hope at the very moment of grief,” Cardinal Gregory said in his homily, adding that “Easter is God’s remedy for the grieving heart.”

The Washington’s archbishop noted that in the face of the current global pandemic, he as a priest continues to grieve for the sorrow of people who must bear the loss of their loved ones in isolation, as people died of COVID-19 without family members being able to be with them.

He said he knows that he will encounter the loss of more family and friends, and that he himself will die one day.

“Still, Easter promises me and it promises you that the fear and grieving that those moments will surely offer are not our ultimate human destiny,” he said, adding, “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to grieve; she came away filled with hope and with joy.”

Gregory said Easter “brings together many people who long to change their own sorrows to joy, their own doubts into hope and their own fears into faith.”

The message of Easter, he said, is that Christ is risen and death has been defeated.
“Easter gives us something to say in the very face of death – and that is Life and Alleluia

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