“A dream that we Franciscans hope to make a reality”: the Terra Sancta Museum presented to the public in Milan

Giacomo Pizzi24 May 2013

“The time has come to leave your name in history.” The meeting to present the Terra Sancta Museum concluded with this challenge. It comes, to say the least, at a moment of great economic difficulty. While all are preoccupied with preserving the little that they have, “we seek to encourage everyone to once again open their heart”.

The official launch of the fundraising campaign took place on Tuesday 21 May at the Piazza Belgioioso in Milan. In the prestigious hall made available by Banca Intesa all the various experts involved in carrying out this ambitious project spoke about their activities. “It would take days to describe all the treasures hidden away in the storerooms of the Custody”, observed Gabriele Allevi, the museologist in charge of the project, who went right to the point in his short presentation, rapidly running through the most important works that will be exhibited. “The Museum will be arranged on two sites”, added the architect Giovanni Tortelli, “one at St. Saviour’s Monastery (where the Custodial Curia is located) and the other along the Via Dolorosa (popularly known as the ‘Way of the Cross’), with a total of approximately 2,500 square meters.” “There remains much work to be done”, noted Massimo Capuani in his presentation of the feasibility study carried out by Deloitte. “We have to raise €3.5 million to complete the works”.

Representing the Father Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Father Renato Beretta declared that the project was “a dream that we Franciscans hope to make a reality”, in order that in a land where violence seems to have the upper hand the method of St. Francis will once again carry the day. “It is to him that we are looking for carrying forward this project, to his humility that was more useful than many Crusades”. This humility was able to build, and to heal the wounds of History. “Along with poverty”, he continued “and not the facile pauperism to which we have become accustomed, but rather a judicious use of our resources.” Some results are already visible. Guido Della Frera, an entrepreneur from the Brianza region and one of the first supporters, declared that “This is a very important project that needs to be embraced at an international level. I am proposing it to you because supporting this work has impassioned me more than anyone.” It is the enthusiasm to contribute to the training of local Christians, of leaving one’s mark on that land where “all of us were born”, the satisfaction of finding exactly the right place for discoveries that up to now have remained unknown, handing them over, as heritage, to History.