by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — The Good Friday collections in New Zealand will, once
again, be used this year for their twofold Holy Land purpose.
The New Zealand commissary of the Holy Land, Fr Anthony Malone, OFM,
told NZ Catholic that the money collected on Good Friday will be used for the shrine church of Cana, in Galilee, and the sponsorship of 20 university scholarships for Christian students.
Fr Malone said that on some occasions even other Christians
have given money for the Holy Land collection. “It doesn’t
happen very often, but some ecumenical-minded ministers know the role of the commissary and, if they are given funds on Good Friday, then they send them.”
Fr Malone explained that the Franciscans have had the responsibility of maintaining the shrines of the Holy Land since 1345. Then, in 1847, the office of commissary came into existence when Pope Leo XIII made worldwide collections mandatory for the support of
the Holy Land. The pope made the Franciscans responsible
for ensuring that the money collected was forwarded to the
Fr Malone said his order appointed him commissary for New Zealand at the end of 2013 and, following confirmation by Rome, he informed New
Zealand’s bishops that close to $150,000 from the 2013 collection had been sent from New Zealand to the Custos of the Holy Land.