Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination group have cancelled their annual pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine. Over the last twenty years the pilgrimage usually takes place in January of each year. The pilgrimage is undertaken with the aim of supporting the Holy Land’s local Christian communities through prayer, pilgrimage and persuasion.
For 2021, the Holy Land Coordination will meet online from 16 to 21 January, and a smaller delegation will visit the Holy Land when the pandemic situation eases, possibly during the summer.
The dwindling number of Christians that live in the Holy Land rely heavily on tourism and pilgrimages, and these have been decimated by the pandemic, resulting in the loss of many livelihoods. During their virtual meeting, bishops will discuss future prospects for those hit hardest by the pandemic.
The group represents bishops from Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales as well as countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, The United States of America and Canada.
The Irish bishop-members who took part in the 2020 pilgrimage were Bishop Noel Treanor of Down & Connor and Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ of Raphoe.