Holy Land celebrates Feast of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified
Many worshipers gathered this week end in memory of a young Palestinian Carmelite, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified. On the vigil of the feast, Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo celebrated Mass in Nazareth and the following day, Bishop Maroun Lahham led the celebration in Bethlehem.
On August 25th, Bishop Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, presided at a Mass in honor of the “Little Mariam,” whose feast is celebrated on August 26th. She was born on January 5, 1846 in Ibillin, near Nazareth. Many priests concelebrated, including Father Philip Hourcade, scj, chaplain of the Carmelite monastery, and Father Milton Altamiranda, Haifa Carmelite Vicar General. 120 and 130 faithful joined in the celebration. The songs were inspired by the choir ‘Ranin al Nagam’ (Melodious Echo) from the parish of Reineh.
Bishop Marcuzzo testified to the growing popularity of Blessed Mariam. Many people asked for her canonization. For this process to happen, ” the collaboration of man is also necessary. It is for us to know and to share what we know about her holiness. We, especially the sick can pray and ask for healing through her intercession. ”
This year a conference was held to find and plan ways to promote the canonization of the Blessed and take advantage of all the treasures and legacy she has left behind. The Bishop spoke of ” faith in Blessed Mariam“ as a way to prepare for the next Synod on the New Evangelization, and the Year of the Faith. He quoted her words: ” Remember that faith is to believe that God is in you, that God is in the one next to you, that God is everywhere.”
After a short presentation about the Virgin Mary and Blessed Mariam, the Bishop blessed the crowd with her relic steeped in the blood from her stigmata. The relic was devoutly venerated by the faithful. Father Elias Odeh. From Reineh, presented the Carmelites of Nazareth with framed certificates of communion in gratitude and joy for the gift that Carmel was the local Church in the Blessed Mariam Baouardy.
The evening ended with a convivial gathering organized by the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy group. Rabab Zeitoun sang a new hymn to honor Blessed Mariam: “Ya zahrah zghirah sharqyiah” (O little oriental flower) which he wrote and set to music by Zaher Louaï.
On Sunday, August 26th, Bishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan celebrated Mass in honor of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified in the Carmelite convent in Bethlehem. The Carmelites of Bethlehem was founded by Blessed Mariam in 1875 where she died three years later, on August 26, 1878. About 40 priests and more than 400 people from Bethlehem, Nazareth, Haifa and surroundings joined the Carmelites for the celebration with representatives from almost all of the religious communities in the Hoy Land. “This year, we feel that Blessed Mariam is becoming better known,” says Sister Anne-Françoise, Mother Superior of the Carmelites of Bethlehem. “It is a special grace to make us close to God, for we have to stand firm in our faith. What is important to most inhabitants of Bethlehem is to see that in the midst of trials, Blessed Mariam knew to keep the faith.”
” A little girl has become Blessed. This is the logic of God. God loves the small. ” With these words Bishop Lahham began his homily. Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified is a model for everyone, her smallness was born in grandeur. The Bishop invited everyone to seek the intercession of Blessed Mariam so we can respond to God’s call ” that invites us to share one day in the glory of her littleness becoming great by the grace of God. ”
Amélie de La Hougue