From Jerusalem to Nazareth, the diocese celebrating Consecrated Life.
HOLY LAND – The Presentation of the Lord to the Temple, which the Church celebrates on 2 February, is every year an occasion to celebrate as well consecrated life. In this Year of Consecrated Life, the celebration presided by Patriarch Fouad Twal in Jerusalem, just like the one presided in Nazareth by Mgr Marcuzzo, called on worshippers to deepen yet more the mystery of giving one’s life for love.
In Jerusalem, Patriarchate is jubilant
In a beautiful and prayerful atmosphere, a large number of religious, nuns, monks and consecrated persons from the Holy Land gathered round the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the Co-Cathedral Church, to celebrate the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple which is also the annual holiday of consecrated life.
As set in the missal, celebration started by a blessing of the light by the Patriarch flanked by concelebrants and dozens of religious and nuns who joined him in the courtyard of the Co-Cathedral. Following this ritual, which reminds consecrated people of their task to carry the light of Jesus Christ to the entire world, Patriarch and other officiating ministers went in procession up to the altar, passing in the midst of consecrated persons filling the church, all carrying candles lit by this same light blessed by the Bishop.
Hymns during the ceremony were inspiring, performed by Salesian seminarists who served as altar boys.
The Patriarch started his homily greeting “the larger consecrated family from the Holy Land”. ”You are welcome, he delightfully said, this is your day, your feast day, your year!!”
According to Patriarch, this light, received originally on baptism and religious profession, is meant to be “transmitted”, and that is one of the main aspects of consecrated life. If it is necessary that consecrated life be profoundly delightful and abundant, it remains however, as with each Christian life, marked by the Cross of Jesus Christ. “Because a consecration to a person or to an ideal goes against the overall thinking and modern culture: Many do not believe any longer in our Evangelical values, nor in the abundance of life given by love, in the spirit of the Beatitudes”, the Patriarch noted further. These misunderstandings of the world may have an equivalent in the innerside of the communities themselves. Remedy, according to Patriarch, lies in this spirit of “sweeping”, “peculiar to the one who is consecrated to God”. Because “a lot of our problems and misunderstandings inside the community, he said further, may be avoided, provided we accept to pull back, without noise”
The Patriarch ended his homily suggesting an objective for this year which is devoted to consecrated life: “encourage a mutual knowledge among Apostolic and contemplative communities, for a reciprocal enrichment”. On this occasion, the Patriarch spoke about the forthcoming meetings to take place with lay faithful of the diocese.
At the conclusion of the Mass, all attendants were invited to share a refreshment in joy and in a brotherly atmosphere.
In Nazareth, walking in the steps of the One who said “yes”
Some hundred religious and nuns, representing most of the religious congregations of Galilee, took part in the celebration, presided by Mgr Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, aided by a dozen of priests in the Lower Basilica of the Annunciation of Nazareth. Some fifty faithful took part in the mass, witnessing renewal of oaths by all consecrated. Everyone was able to do it in his own language which brought about, according to Mgr Marcuzzo, a “glossolalia slightly confused but harmonious and significant”. In the city of Mary’s “yes” the Bishop encouraged the consecrated “to stand as incarnate witnesses in our times, in our history, like the faithful yes of Mary of Nazareth”
Article : from Jerusalem , Firas Abedrabbo from Nazareth, our correspondent
Photos : from Jerusalem Andres Bergamini