Nazareth celebrates first anniversary of Bl. Marie Alphonsine’s beatification
On the Solemnity of Christ the King, Sunday, November 21st, the faithful of Nazareth joyfully commemorated Bl. Marie Alphonsine’s beatification a year ago, in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, was the main celebrant for the Mass, joined by seven concelebrants including Rev. Ricardo Bustos, OFM, Guardian of the Franciscan Friars in Nazareth. Present were the Rosary Sisters, Sisters of Nazareth, representatives from other religious communities, and about 700 faithful from different parishes. The choir was directed by Youssef Khell.
Bishop Marcuzzo first called for solidarity in prayer with our brothers in Iraq. He then spoke about the Synod for the Middle East and the Apostolic Exhortation “Verbum Domini.”
He stated in his homily that the Word of God, conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. With this hypostatic union, Jesus Christ, in his very humanity, is King of the Universe. This is a source of hope, for history or humanity will move forward under the guidance of a pastor and even a king. We have the Alpha and Omega, a Pleroma, a high point of convergence, achievement and fulfillment.
We, as citizens and soldiers of the Kingdom of peace, truth, justice and love follow the divine king, to serve him faithfully by our commitment and our Christian witness.
As Bl. Marie Alphonsine witnessed by her life, in joy, faith and love, she followed and fulfilled the will of God, giving of herself to God, and serving others in humility and in silence. It has thus become a sign that holiness is possible for everyone.
At the end of Mass, the Bishop announced a new pastoral and liturgical event. The Holy Father called on the faithful to be united with him as he designated the first Sunday of Advent to be dedicated to prayer for the Unborn and reflection on Life.
Although this call has no direct connection with the feast of the Bl. Marie Alphonsine, the faithful recognized a meaningful coincidence. She has not only saved many lives through miracles attributed to her intercession, but also left a legacy which provided for a number of girls, an opportunity for good education in the schools and apostolate of the Rosary Sisters.
Before the final blessing, the Bishop incensed the picture of Bl. Marie Alphonsine for the veneration of the faithful. The original photo was taken in 1892 in Nazareth, at the deathbed of Rev. Joseph Tannous, co-founder of the Rosary Sisters.
The faithful expressed their gratitude and congratulations to the Rosary Sisters. A buffet of pastries and goodies to celebrate the special occasion was shared by everybody in the courtyard of the Basilica. A prayer card of Bl. Marie Alphonsine was distributed to everyone.
(A summary of the article in French by M. Baron)