Pope Benedict XVI expressed his
appreciation to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the main
Catholic organizations that supports the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in its
pastoral and humanitarian activities.
The organization has 24,000
knights in 52 countries worldwide.
The Pope said his thoughts were with
the Catholics of the Holy Land and their sufferings for the lack of peace, the
economic crisis and the political instability. He added that he keeps a special
spiritual closeness to the ones that are forced to move. Cardinal John
Grand Master, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre What we do is an attempt to give financial support to parishes, to the
schools, I think there are 65 parishes, there are more than 40 schools, there's
the Bethlehem university, anything to help the Christian minority to be able to
resist the temptation to move, because the Christians are generally the best
educated people in the society there and the temptation is to go elsewhere where
they can get a job, where they can have a decent home, and where they can make a
Although it is not official yet, the Pope is expected to visit
the Holy Land in 2009. The Vatican and the State of Israel have confirmed that
discussions are underway. Cardinal John Patrick Foley
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre We hope that in the
preparations and in the visit itself there might be the resolution of certain
problems that remain for the Christians, especially the Catholics in the Holy
Land, and that perhaps, as was pope John Paul II, pope Benedict XVI can be a
pilgrim of peace.
The Pope said he shares the pain of those communities,
and invited everyone to pray for the gift of peace in Middle East.