Why Holy Land Franciscans
800 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church entrusted the guardianship of the Holy Land and other shrines of the Christian religion to the Order of St. Francis. This work has grown to include support of schools and missions in the Holy Land, as well as care for refugees and other needy people throughout the region.
Today, it is an honor to serve in the land we call Holy, to follow in the very footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth; to work as a missionary where He Himself preached and taught, to serve the needs of native Christians and pilgrims, and to stand guard at the Holy Places in the name of Christianity.
Pope Paul VI described the Holy Land as the Fifth Gospel, as a means of attaining a fuller, living understanding of the meaning of Holy Scripture. These considerations in the course of centuries have prompted thousands to forsake all for God, giving themselves wholly to his service, even to the point of laying down their lives.
The Franciscan presence in the Holy Land continues to bridge the East and the West, the Eastern Churches and the Catholic Latin Church. It is, and will continue to be, an important cultural presence in the Middle East, in the name of the Catholic Church. And Friars serving in the Holy Land will continue to be prophets of peace and ministers of reconciliation.
But those who become Franciscans for the Custody of the Holy Land must be prepared for a life of self-denial and service to others.