On July 22 the representatives of the General Assembly of the Association pro Terra Sancta met in Jerusalem. For the first time the new Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton participated to the Assembly. Fr. Patton is also the new President of the Association. In addition, three new members were appointed: Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, Fr. John Luke Gregory and Fr. Bruno Varriano.
The meeting was the an opportunity to update the new Custos on current activities of the Association. The two Councilors of the Assembly, Tommaso Saltini and Carla Benelli, exposed the three Areas of Intervention of the Association: the Conservation and Development projects (in Bethany, Sebastia – nisf Jubeil, Terra Sancta museum etc.); Support and Education projects (support for Charities promoted by religious and Christian communities in the Holy Land; Music and meeting, Education and dialogue i.e. schools, libraries and study activities); and interventions in aid to Emergencies in the Middle East (the welcome to refugees in Lebanon , Jordan , Rhodes and Kos; aid to the small Christian community in Gaza; emergency centers and supporting the hospital of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, in Aleppo, Syria).
“We must not only take action where there are emergency situations, as in Syria” the Custos said, stressing on the importance of education and vocational training, “but we must do all that is necessary, to avoid new situations of crisis. This is what our mission is here, for example”. For this reason Fr. Patton then asked to specifically support the work of the Terra Sancta Museum. “The project represents an opportunity to increase the awareness of locals and pilgrims, of their own history in order to make them feel true heirs of Christian history.”
“All that is openness and promotion of culture helps to promote peace, to build peace” he added, thus providing an indication for the work of the Association in the coming year.