Top Franciscan appeals to friars to stay in Holy Land despite threats

Father Massimo Fusarelli, leader of the worldwide Franciscan order, has appealed to his fellow Franciscans to stay put in the Holy Land despite rising tensions and threats to physical safety due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking in an April 18 interview with the Franciscan-run Custodia magazine, Fusarelli said after a recent visit to the region that the members of the Franciscan order living in the Holy Land were “better than I thought,” despite the current circumstances.

He said his first words to friars living in the region were, “Please, brothers, stay here.”

“Many are going away, from both the peoples of this land. Even the Christians are leaving. We are remaining. Of course, we do not have our families or our children here, perhaps it is easier for us. But staying here is a very great sign,” he said.

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