FFHL President to Travel United States Raising Awareness of Christian Plight in Holy Land

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Fr. Peter Vasko undertakes eight week journey to increase awareness and generate support for struggling Christians in the Holy Land

Fr. Peter Vasko, OFM

The Church is facing a great challenge, and that is the on-going exodus of our Christians from the Holy Land.

Fr. Peter Vasko, OFM and President of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), will travel throughout the United States during September and October in order to raise awareness and support for marginalized Christians in the Holy Land.

Born in New York, Fr. Vasko entered religious life with the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He has been president of the FFHL for more than 20 years.

Reflecting on the history of the Franciscans and the work of the FFHL, Fr. Vasko commented, “This year the Franciscans celebrate our 800-year presence in the Holy Land, and during this time we have faced many challenges. Today, however, the Church is facing a great challenge, and that is the on-going exodus of our Christians from the Holy Land, which is the cradle of Christianity.”

Palestinian and Israeli Christians suffer from a 70% unemployment rate, and those who are employed are often under-payed. In addition to struggling against a high cost of living, Christians also face political and social pressures which force hundreds of Christian families to leave the Holy Land each year.

“If this persists,” Fr. Vasko stated, “we will be left with empty religious monuments and museums with no living, worshipping community. As Franciscans we are committed to maintaining the Christian presence in this land called Israel and Palestine.”

The Franciscans safeguard the sacred Christian sites of the Holy Land, and their very presence in the region helps to promote peace. The FFHL was founded in 1984 to help stem the Christian exodus from the Holy Land. It strives to accomplish this objective through educational scholarships, housing renovations and subsidies, and cultural programs that promote peace and diversity.

Fr. Vasko arrived in the United States on September 2nd and spent several days in his home state of New York. His eight-week-long visit will include benefit dinners in Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, IN, and Washington, DC, as well as stops in Texas, California, and Florida, to name just a few. He will meet with current and potential benefactors in an effort to increase awareness of the Christian plight in the Holy Land, and to generate support for the efforts of the FFHL. His journey will conclude on October 28th, when he will depart New York for Tel Aviv.

To learn more about Fr. Vasko’s Fall Apostolate visit, to schedule an in-person or phone interview, or to learn more about the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, contact Stephanie Engelman via email at media(at)ffhl(dot)org or by phone at 1-855-372-0580. For additional information about the work of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, visit http://www.FFHL.org.

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Stephanie Engelman
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