Since May 2020, 30,000 Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher on the various continents have held even more in their hearts the brothers and sisters of the Holy Land severely affected by the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. Despite challenging conditions worldwide, their generosity did not diminish. In recent months the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher was able to send, in addition to the ordinary aid provided each month, around 3 million euros to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem to meet the humanitarian needs of its faithful.
“There is, in fact, no region of the world that has not been affected, to some degree, by the COVID-19. […] The Holy Land, which finds its lifeblood for the economy of thousands of families in religious pilgrimages and tourism, has also been seriously affected.” So, the Grand Master, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, described the situation in May, in the note accompanying the creation of a particular “COVID-10 Humanitarian Support Fund” by the Grand Magisterium of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Order of the Holy Sepulcher, which has as its institutional aim – Cardinal Filoni recalled – support to the Mother Church of Jerusalem, to the schools it manages, and to charitable and social initiatives, has taken to heart new needs by establishing this Fund for the collection of extraordinary grants. After this communication, around two million arrived specifically for the COVID-19 Fund and one million for more general humanitarian expenses. The figure foreseen by the budget at the beginning of the year was much lower.
The Governor-General of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone comments: “During the lockdown days, we reached out to the heads of the Lieutenancies who, despite having to cope also with the needs caused by the health emergency in their respective countries, wanted to feel close to the brothers and sisters of the Holy Land so harshly affected. We are grateful that the extraordinary support to the COVID-19 Fund has not replaced the regular commitment of our members to contribute to the daily life of the diocese of Jerusalem but added to it.”
The contributions sent to the Holy Land made it possible to respond quickly to a series of urgent needs. The General Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Sami El-Yousef, briefly describes the actions taken: “Thanks to the aid received from the Order for humanitarian purposes, we have been able to support more than 2,400 families in over 30 parishes for their basic needs in terms of food shopping vouchers, hygiene products, children’s products, medicine and utility bills. Parish priests collaborated with the local authorities to ensure an equitable distribution of resources.” “Besides,” – he continued – “1,238 families in Jordan e 1,180 families in Palestine received assistance to pay school fees.” The situation in the Holy Land, as in various other countries, continues to be critical, and in the coming weeks and months, the funds sent will continue to be used not to abandon those who continue to be in a state of need.”
“Thanks to the support of the Grand Master with the Grand Magisterium, our appeal to the Knights and Dames went far beyond our expectations and gave us the necessary breathing room to manage this emergency with greater serenity. We were all amazed and struck by the immediate response and by its scope,” declared Archbishop Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, recounting how the Christians of the Holy Land felt supported by the worldwide Knights and Dames at this challenging time
 Over the past ten years, the Order of the Holy Sepulcher has sent more than 120 million contributions for the needs of the Holy Land, of which 14 million in 2019 alone.
Cover Photo: ©Nadeen Bayadi