Inauguration of the first chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Jesus Crucified in the Holy Land
IBILLIN – On 18 April 2015 the Greek Catholic Church in Galilee inaugurated the first chapel dedicated to “St Mary of Jesus Crucified’ in her homeland, the Holy Land.
This is the first chapel dedicated to the future Palestinian saint in the Holy Land. There are two in the whole world. The Betharram Fathers have already consecrated two churches to Blessed Mariam, one in Brazil, in Brumadilho (Minas Gerais), constructed by Fr. Dante Angelelli, and another in their seminary at Adiapodourne (Abidjan), in the Ivory Coast.
In Ibillin, the festivities started with the celebration of Mass, presided by Greek Catholic Archbishop of Galilee, H.E. George Bacouni, and concelebrated by Latin Patriarchal Vicar in Israel, Bishop Giacinto Boulos-Marcuzzo, with a number of priests and a crowd of faithful.
A big procession followed after Mass, through the streets of the small town, which is the birthplace of Blessed Mariam.
“We all give thanks, first of all, for this divine gift: the sainthood of Mariam Bawardi, a daughter of this parish – as Archbishop Bacouni, said in his homily. It is a grace that we do not deserve, but it is a free gift from the Lord. Let us give thanks to God who has given us this chapel, dedicated to our new Saint”.
This celebration was also an occasion to enhance the very good ecumenical relations in this small village in the North of the Holy Land, thanks to the brotherly presence of the Greek Orthodox Parish Priest, Fr Saba Haj, who said: “St. Mary of Jesus Crucified lived out the virtues of Christian love, faith and hope. We have such a need of these virtues in this difficult period. The Saint offered herself to God in spite of difficulties, hardships and different experiences and thanks to her determination, faith and strength, inspired by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, she was able to remain faithful to her vows and constantly live a Christian life.”
In a small meditation on the life and virtues of Blessed Mariam, the Greek Catholic Parish Priest in Ibillin, Fr. Michel Tu’meh said with admiration, that “despite the fact that she was given virtue and that she lived with graces given to her by God, she always felt imperfect!”.
Mr. Zuheir Khoury, head of Ibillin Pastoral Board, could not conceal his pride to be son of this same village like the future saint: “We are so happy here in Ibillin: centuries after the coming of Jesus Christ, Mariam Bawardi will be proclaimed saint. How happy we are to be natives of this city, the city of the Saint of Ibillin, her hometown, and where she received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.”
The chapel will remain open 24 hours a day, and will become an open shrine to all those wishing to pray for the Saint to intercede for peace in her homeland.
Blessed Mariam Bawardi was born in Ibillin in 1846, died in 1878 at the Carmel which she founded in Bethlehem, coming with a group of Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Pau, in southwestern France.
Mariam lived her Christian faith and her Carmelite vocation in a heroic and admirable manner, remaining rooted in her Eastern identity. This East where Christian monasticism was born in the third century.
Pope Francis will proclaim the sainthood of the Blessed Mariam, and Blessed Marie Alphonsine, co-founder of the Rosary Sisters in Jerusalem, during the Pontifical Mass which he will celebrate in Rome on May 17.
Several events will take place in the Holy Land. On May 16 two prayer vigils will take place in the evening, at the Carmel of Bethlehem and at the Rosary Convent in Mamilla. All the local faithful in the Holy Land, foreigners and pilgrims are invited to participate in this special event for their spiritual good, in union with the Mother Church in the Holy Land. Come in large numbers and with fervor!
Source : CMC
Photos : Nazareth Vicariate