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A Thanksgiving Mass for the Canonizations : “Humility is the foundation of any spiritual structure”

A Thanksgiving Mass for the Canonizations : “Humility is the foundation of any spiritual structure”


JERUSALEM – In late afternoon of Saturday 6 June 2015, His Beatitude Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Mgr Fouad Twal presided over a High Thanksgiving Mass at the Dominican St Stephen’s Basilica following the Canonization of two Palestinian nuns Mariam of Jesus Crucified Bawardi and Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas.

Following Thanksgiving Mass celebrated in the wake of the Canonizations in Rome, and a ceremony held in Ramallah last week, the chain of Masses goes on, this time in Jerusalem, at the Dominican St Stephen’s Convent.

This prestigious Convent, which houses the Biblical & Archaeological School of Jerusalem, was founded in 1882 at the heart of East Jerusalem. In this same convent, St Marie Alphonsine Ghattas was admitted on 4 October 1890, on the eve of the feastday of St Mary of the Rosary, in the Third Dominican Order.

As a matter of fact the Order of St Dominic and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary hold jointly a historical relationship. The Order and the Congregation are both attached to the prayer of the Holy Rosary, as a school of prayer and meditation. The meditation of the Mysteries of the life of Christ, with the Holy Virgin. Many pictures show St Dominic kneeling, next to St Catherine de Sienne (herself is a Dominican Tertiary of the XIVth century), receiving the Rosary from the hands of the Holy Virgin. This picture is seen in all houses, convents of the Sisters of the Rosary. As to the postulator of the cause of canonization of Marie-Alphonsine at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Fr Francesco Ricci is Dominican too.

Mass was concelebrated by several other Bishops including the Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem Mgr William Shomali, Melkite Bishop Joseph Jules Zerey, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel, Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, and Bishop Emeritus Mgr Kamal-Hanna Bathish.

A large crowd of parishioners from Jerusalem and its suburbs came to attend Mass together with Carmelite Sisters, Carmelite Friars and Sisters of the Rosary. Monks and nuns from the Holy City and the areas came in to share in the joy of the local Church where each follows Christ according to the charisma of his/her own community.

In his homily the Patriarch recalled that the two saints were “gifts of God for the Holy Land and the entire Middle East. Gifts of the Church of Jerusalem, Mother Church, to the Christian world. They intercede for us, for our peoples and our countries”.

“Mother Marie-Alphonsine, said the Patriarch, was able to establish, thanks to its obedience to the Holy Virgin, the only religious congregation of the diocese, and to build schools to absorb young girls in most of the parishes where she had served. These schools, very simple in the beginning, were the core of a social revolution which contributed to the promotion of the Oriental woman”.

As to St Mariam of Jesus Crucified, Patriarch pointed out : “She has founded the Carmel in Bethlehem and has again deepened the roots of the Carmel in the Holy Land. It is in the Holy Land that the Order was born in the XIIth century. It is for us a source of joy which the foundation of the Carmel in Bethlehem brought about at the same time as the revival of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, knowing that the Rule of the Order was written by our Saint predecessor Patriarch Albert of Jerusalem (Albert Avogadro), in 1209”.

“ The humility is the foundation of any spiritual structure”, the Patriarch finally concluded, referring to the heroism in which the two new saints lived this virtue in an Evangelical spirit.

We wish to remind our readers that other Thanksgiving Masses are scheduled in the diocese throughout the coming Summer. Next appointment: a Mass at the Sisters of the Rosary, at Marj El Hamam (Amman) on Friday 12 June.

Firas Abedrabbo