We must not “abandon the Holy Land to his fate”, “pilgrims must continue to come to the Holy Land!
Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, has urged all to visit the Holy Land. He said, “It is safer here than in Italy and Europe.” Bishop Marcuzzo lives in Nazareth. He holds a view that, pilgrims do not show interest in visiting the Holy Land because they are “imprisoned by fear”.
This fear “is absolutely unfounded.” He adds, people confuse “massacres and kidnappings that happen … in Syria, Iraq, Libya and even now in Tunisia” with the overall situation in the Holy Land, where instead, ” from Dan to Beersheba ‘there is a total security and a general peace. ”
He stated that over and above the pilgrims not only revive their faith from the “rejuvenating source “, but are a tool to sustain the life of Christians in the land of Lord Jesus’ birth.
“At least 30% of the Christians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem live from their earnings in the religious tourism industry. This 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,” he said.
He went on to say that, “The visit to the holy places also comforts the Christian communities, seeing that a busload of pilgrims arrives, they say or think: ‘Oh, they are here! They have not forgotten us, they still love our land, and 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 -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,” he concluded.