After a two-year break from tourism and pilgrimages to the Holy Land due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Adriana Sigilli, director of an Italian travel agency, has launched an initiative to encourage the restart of pilgrimages to the Holy Land. ADRIANA SIGILLI Diomira Travel Agency “Many people are still afraid to return to the Holy Land. What blocks the most is a little bit the paperwork that you have to go through. I’ve been thinking about how to get pilgrimages back to the Holy Land.
My idea, my proposal that I feel like launching from here, in this context, right in front of the Holy Sepulchre, would be to create covid – free corridors between Italy and Israel, between Europe and Israel: the two countries are friends, the Holy Land, the Holy Places are in Israel in Palestine.” HB PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins “All initiatives aimed at encouraging the resumption of pilgrimage to the Holy Land, even with special corridors, especially for those who cannot afford large expenses, are welcome! We must find, even as a Church, all possible ways, through our institutions, our homes, to help pilgrims find a welcoming environment, affordable even economically so as to resume ordinary life for both pilgrims and our Christian community.” Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, emphasized the importance of this type of initiative both because of the presence of facilities suitable for pilgrims and because it contributes to a dignified life for local Christians.
Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm Custos of the Holy Land “The local Christian community living in the Holy Land needs pilgrims, waits for pilgrims, and desires pilgrims to return. Let us think of Bethlehem. Christmas is approaching: it is important that the local faithful can celebrate, but important that they can celebrate together with the faithful, brothers in faith, who come from all over the world.” Fr GIUSEPPE Milan “To return after so long to the Holy Land is a precious gift because here are the roots of our faith, there is the presence, the life of the Lord, the history of the Church. It is really a return to the sources. After so long, this is a precious gift at this time.
So even this gesture that we are doing is just a way to be able to give life to the pilgrimage that is a prayer, a form of life that allows us to enjoy the beauty of the Lord.” Facilitating the entry of pilgrims to the Holy Land is essential, both for locals and for the pilgrims themselves. HB PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins “We are preparing for Christmas. We have already lived two sad Christmases without pilgrims and without much liveliness: we hope that next Christmas will see many pilgrims, that it will bring back life in the Holy Land and also many opportunities such as giving work again to the many Christians of the Holy Land.”