The Franciscan friars have served the people and sacred Christian shrines of the Holy Land for 800 years, since the Holy Land Province – now the Custody of the Holy Land – was established in 1217. St. Francis of Assisi himself visited the region in 1219.
Throughout the Holy Land
The Franciscan Friars’ work in the Holy Land is vital. As Pope Francis says, “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.” We preserve the holy places and make it possible for Christians to remain in the land of Jesus.
Persecution and conflict in the Middle East, and a declining Christian population make our work increasingly important. The ability of families in many of these regions to stay in their home countries is increasingly being threatened by national strife and terrorism and the lack of employment and education opportunities. We help care for children, families, refugees and others in need throughout the region, and keep Christianity alive the land made holy by the birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We are currently…
• Proving ongoing emergency funds to the people in Syria and Iraq
• Supporting 29 parishes, 4 homes for orphans and 3 academic institutions
• Operating 16 schools for more than 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students
• Providing university scholarships
• Relocating and providing homes to Christian families
• Rehabilitating destroyed homes for Christians families
• Provided senior care facilities in Bethlehem and Nazareth
• Creating jobs for Christians in the Holy Land
• Preserving 74 sanctuaries and shrines from the life of Jesus and the prophets
• Supporting more than 100 men preparing to be priests or brothers
• Assisting Syrian and Iraqi refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon by helping to pay for rent, food, heat, schooling and transportation.