Feast of Our Lady Woman of Valor in Tel Aviv
TEL AVIV – On Saturday, May 9, 2015, Bishop Boulos-Giacinto Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, celebrated for the first time the mass of the Feast of Our Lady Woman of Valor in south Tel Aviv.
Bishop Marcuzzo had been invited to celebrate the feast, inaugurated this year, by Rev. David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew Speaking Catholics and responsible for the Coordination of the Pastoral among Migrants, whose center of activity in south Tel Aviv is named Our Lady Woman of Valor.
At the beginning of the mass, attended by hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers, Father David welcomed the Bishop and the many other guests who had come for this occasion. The mass was celebrated with joy and beauty, accompanied by hymns in the various languages of the migrant communities that use the center: Tagalog, Konkani, Sinhala, Ge’ez and Hebrew. This was the occasion to thank God for the many gifts He has showered on the center and its work since the opening of the center at the end of February 2014.
In his homily, Bishop Marcuzzo focused on the figure of the Woman of Valor, who appears at the end of the Book of Proverbs. He stressed that for Christians the ultimate Woman of Valor is Mary of Nazareth, mother of Jesus. He detailed the profile of the valorous woman, who provides for her family, takes care of her husband, educates her children and plays a leading role in society. At the end of his homily, the Bishop reminded the faithful that on Sunday, May 17, 2015, Pope Francis will canonize two valorous women from this Holy Land: Carmelite sister Mariam Bawardi and foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas.
After the final prayer, Bishop Marcuzzo incensed the icon of Our Lady Woman of Valor as Benedetto led the faithful in a hymn in Hebrew based upon the words of the Woman of Valor text from the Book of Proverbs.
At the end of the mass, Father David thanked the many guests from the diplomatic corps, from the religious communities in the Holy Land and especially the many, many people who work in the center as priests, religious, seminarians, lay volunteers and he pointed to the team that lives in the place: Father Mako and the sisters. He also pointed to the important work of the benefactors and the organizations that support the center. Finally, he presented a token of recognition and gratitude to Sister Aurelia, who is about to return to the Philippines after eleven years of service in the Holy Land.
After the mass, a delicious meal had been prepared by the team in the Center. While eating, the various communities and visitors could mingle and meet one another. Kuchinate, a workshop for African women refugees, was represented in the courtyard and baskets made by the women were on sale as a support for this very important project. (see the website of Kuchinate here)
Source : Saint James Vicariate