In a letter prepared for distribution to dioceses, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) endorsed the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and four other organizations: the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Catholic Relief Services, Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Announcement

**United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Endorses HCEF Efforts to Support the Mother Church**

In a letter prepared for distribution to dioceses, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) endorsed the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and four other organizations: the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Catholic Relief Services, Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  

The Christians of the Holy Land are not converts from Judaism or Islam.  They are the descendents of those who first believed in Jesus Christ.  They live in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other places in the Occupied Territories and Israel.  They are Arab Palestinian Christians – Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant.  The percentage of Christians in the region has shrunk to 2%, and it is becoming likely that, unless conditions change for local Christians, the Christian population will be eliminated from the region with the next decade. 

The USCCB letter describes the impossible living conditions faced by all Palestinians: the persistent conflict, the strict curfews, the road closures, and the unemployment.  Almost half of Palestinians live on less than $2 per day.  22.5% of Palestinian children under the age of five are suffering from malnutrition.  Israeli security regulations make the delivery of humanitarian aid unimaginably difficult.

HCEF is endorsed as an agency whose programs address the needs of the Holy Land Christians directly by providing emerngency aid, promoting reconstruction, creating jobs, helping to revive the local economy, supporting education, and assisting local churches.  

Unite with HCEF to help Holy Land Christians!
* Pray for all those who are suffering under the curfews, who are homeless as a result of the home demolitions and violence, who are hungry or ill, and who are assaulted at checkpoints or by the larger-scale Israeli offensives.  Pray also for those who commit atrocities (be they Israeli or Palestinian) — that they may seek reconciliation rather than commit violence.

*Make a contribution to one of HCEF’s ongoing programs or arrange for an HCEF representative to speak in your church about these programs.  Any effort you can make will help to provide financial, moral, and spiritual support for Palestinian Christians to endure their deplorable living conditions.  HCEF seeks to replace despair with hope, fear with security, and humiliation with human dignity.

*Tell your pastor and/or bishop about HCEF’s programs.  Direct people to the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to see the letter by Bishop Wilton Gregory (President, USCCB) that endorses HCEF and asks Catholics in the United States to consider how they can support Holy Land Christians.  The link to the website is http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/mideast.htm.  (To read the letter, click on “Sample Appeal Letter/Diocesan Column”.)


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 The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is a tax-exempt, Section 501c3 non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of Christians in the Holy Land by developing bonds of solidarity with Christians in the United States, providing humanitarian assistance to relieve suffering, offering educational support, and assisting with local job creation. 

HCEF, PO Box 6687, Silver Spring, MD 20906. 
Tel: (301) 951-9400;  Fax: (301) 951-9402;  Toll Free (866) 871-4233
www.hcef.org;   email: news@hcef.org