The German Association of the Holy Land (Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande, DVHL) shall serve as a bridge between the German Catholics and the holy places and the people of the Holy Land. The statutes define the Association’s organisation and responsibilities as follows:
According to § 2 of the statutes, the Association’s aims are:
The protection of the holy places and the promotion of the Catholic Church’s work in the Holy Land and the Middle East.
The pursuit of the German Catholics’ interest in the Holy Land and the Middle East.
The promotion of an ongoing cooperation between the different Christian denominations in the Holy Land and the Middle East.
The organisation of pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
The promotion of theological and exegetical studies in the Holy Land.
The promotion and implementation of youth work projects to enhance intercultural and interreligious understanding.
The support of needy persons in the Holy Land through charitable donations.
The German Association of the Holy Land is an charitable organisation. It is predominantly a non profit organisation. It is authorised to issue donation certificates accepted by German financial authorities. There is a regional DVHL group in each German diocese; its respective chairperson is “assigned by the bishop for a six year term upon proposal of the Board of Directors. Reappointment is possible. […] The chairperson’s task consists of promoting the Association’s aims in his/her diocese by the means of appropriate advertising […].” (§ 3)
According to § 4 of the statutes, the Association can be joined by anyone “who is committed to the Association’s aims.” Admission is granted by the Secretariat-General. An application form can be found here.
The Association’s representatives and administrative organs
President (§ 5)
The Association is presided over by the Archbishop of Cologne.
Vice-president (§ 6)
The General Assembly chooses a Vice-president for a six year term upon the President’s proposal. Reappointment is possible. The Vice-president’s task consists of representing the president in the Association’s day-to-day business management. He/she is a member of the Administrative Board.
Curate (§ 7)
The General Assembly chooses a priest as Curate for a six year term upon the President’s proposal. Reappointment is possible. The Curate is mainly responsible for the Association’s spiritual orientation. He is a member of the Administrative Board.
Board of Directors (§ 8)
The Board of Directors consists of the President and the Executive Board. The members of the latter are: the Vice-president as chairperson, the Secretary-General as well as another member chosen by the Administrative Board for a six year term. Reappointment is possible. The Board of Directors manages the Association’s businesses.
Management (§ 10)
The Association’s day-to-day business is managed by a full-time Secretary-General appointed by the President upon proposal by the Administrative Board. His/her duties and responsibilities are defined in a specific agreement approved by the Administrative Board.
The Administrative Board can appoint a Representative in the Holy Land who is bound by the management’s decisions.
Administrative Board (§ 11)
It is the Administrative Board’s task to advise and supervise the Association’s management. The Board’s members are the Vice-president, the Curate and four other members chosen by the General Assembly for a six year term.
Advisory Board (§ 12)
The Advisory Board supports the other administrative organs of the Association. It consists of seven members four of whom are assigned by the General Assembly to represent the dioceses of North, South, West and East Germany. The other three members are elected by the Association’s institutions in the Holy Land. One of them shall represent the Paulushaus/Schmidt’s Girl College, one Dormition Abbey and one the Nursing Home in Qubeibe.
General Assembly (§ 13)
The General Assembly consists of:
the members of the Board of Directors
the Administrative Board’s elected members as well as their elected replacements
the Advisory Board’s members
the Diocesan Groups’ Chairpersons
The Association’s Annual General Meeting deals with the following tasks (§ 16):
acceptance of the Secretary-General’s annual report on the Association’s activities prepared by order of the President
formal approval of the Board of Directors’ and the Administrative Board’s actions in the last financial year
election of the Vice-president and the Curate (both upon the President’s proposal), of the Administrative Board’s members and their replacements as well as the Advisory Board’s members