The collection for the Holy Places is taken at Mass today, Palm Sunday. Bishop Seamus writes: The Holy Places of our faith are eloquent witnesses of the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. From those places, the Easter proclamation has spread throughout the world, and it continues to spread. A Christian community has remained in those regions down the centuries, even at the cost of great sacrifice and martyrdom. Since the first Pentecost, it has bravely shown the universal face of the Church to the world. Today, as we know, living the Christian faith in the Middle East is not all that easy. Especially in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, where Christian communities have experienced an “ecumenism of blood”, individuals are daily pressured to abandon their land, or even their faith. Keeping hope alive in such circumstances is both difficult and vitally important.