I received the following request from Bishop Kettler through Fr. Bob Rolfes, Vicar General, earlier this week:
This year, due to the pandemic caused by the Corona virus, it was not possible for most parishes to take up the Good Friday collection dedicated to supporting Christians living in the Holy Land. In this regard, Pope Francis has accepted the request from the Commissariat of the Holy Land to move this gesture of sharing that concerns the whole Church to September 13, 2020.
The 13th of September was selected because it is the Sunday closest to the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross which is celebrated with particular solemnity in Jerusalem and other areas of the Holy Land. Therefore, the bishops of the United States are asking parishes to take up a collection on or near this September date… if you have not yet taken up the collection for Good Friday 2020, Bishop Kettler would ask you to take up the collection sometime in the next several weeks and to submit that collection to the Chancery as soon as possible.
The Holy Land continues to be a place where Christians feel welcome even if they are far from the Holy Land. Therefore, I would ask in your generosity to take up this collection in your parishes when it is feasible. I realize there are several collections taking place at this time that is why I am leaving it to your discretion as to which weekend would be the best for your parish to take up this collection.
Since I did not receive this request in time to announce the collection last weekend, I will plan to take up this collection next weekend, September 19/20, so that I can announce it this weekend as well as inform you through this bulletin article. Please note that the missionary organization that sells olive wood carvings hand made in Bethlehem (a second Holy Land ministry) was not able to sell their products this summer for the same reason. They are scheduled to come to our parishes every other year, and this was the year, but it had to be cancelled. Please be generous in support the Holy Land collection next Sunday.
I suspect we will be asked to take up at least some of the other special collections that were scheduled earlier this year. I will try to separate them as much as practical so that you are not flooded with special collection requests.