When it was announced in January that the Archbishop Vincent Nichols was to be elevated to the College of Cardinals, the faithful of the three dioceses with which he had been most closely connected made a collection to honour the event. The Cardinal asked that this be offered in his name to the suffering Church in the Holy Land through the charity that he had helped to found, Friends of the Holy Land, and on 14 May, Cardinal Vincent presented the charity with a cheque for £85,000.
Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) is extremely grateful for the Cardinal’s generosity. ‘This is a magnificent sum, and we cannot thank the Cardinal enough for his kind and thoughtful gesture’ said Jim Quinn, FHL’s Chairman. ‘We have long benefited from Cardinal Nichols’ encouragement, support and advice, and in fact he was closely involved in our foundation in 2009, when Archbishop of Birmingham. This very generous gift is a further mark of his concern for the Christian people and communities of the Holy Land. Friends of the Holy Land will use it carefully to make a difference to their lives. We are deeply touched and inspired by it, and thank him most warmly.’
Friends of the Holy Land concentrates on smaller, sustainable projects that quickly make a big difference to local Christian families, especially the most vulnerable. The charity’s projects fall into four main categories, education, employment, health and housing, and FHL plans to use the Cardinal’s gift on a project to build ten affordable apartments for Christian families in the Bethlehem area and on improving water storage for local families in the same area.
Cardinal Vincent reaffirmed his support and prayers for Christians of the Holy Land. He invites all the faithful in the Diocese to pray with Pope Francis during his visit to the Holy Land.
A Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place on Sunday 25 May at Westminster Cathedral, as well as parishes around the Diocese. The Holy Hour will take place from 3pm to 4pm, to coincide with Pope Francis' meeting with Christian communities in the Holy Land. We are all invited to pray with Pope Francis in his mission of peace and with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.
Cardinal Vincent said: “We are inviting every Catholic parish in England and Wales to hold an hour’s prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on that Sunday afternoon to coincide with the very time when Pope Francis is in Bethlehem and will be meeting the Christian communities in Bethlehem. We wanted to give very clear and profound support in that way in reaching out in prayer.”