The diocese celebrates Our Lady of Palestine
DER RAFAT – On October 25, 2015, the Catholics of the diocese celebrated Our Lady of Palestine which was an occasion to pray for peace in the Holy Land.
The feast day of Our Lady of Palestine is an important event for the Christians of the Holy Land. About 300 people had gathered this year in Der Rafat for a solemn mass animated by seminarians of Beit Jala.
The rain couldn’t wipe the smiles off the faithful, who this year were fewer than previous ones because of the current situation in the Holy Land, they came and prayed joyfully for the diocese’s patron saint.
Moreover, the day was an occasion to pray for our Patriarch, HB Fouad Twal, who is in Rome for the Family Synod. Mgr. Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Nazareth presided over the mass in the church of Der Rafat, in presence of Mgr. William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, Mgr. Bathish, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General Emeritus, Fr David Neuhaus, patriarchal vicar for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics and Mgr. Tom Burns, Bishop of the diocese of Menevia in Wales who is on pilgrimage with an English delegation of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
In his homily, Mgr. Marcuzzo drew attention to the importance of Virgin Mary in the lives of Palestinians not forgetting to mention the impact she had on Mary Alphonisine and Mariam Bawardi, the two Palestinian Saints who were canonized this year.
The celebration was followed by meal prepared by the sisters of the covenant with the help of two families, one Muslim and the other Jewish, who worked together to prepare for the joyous day.
The shrine of Der Rafat, built in 1927 at the initiative of HB Barlassina, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, was entrusted to the French community of the Sisters of Bethlehem. Our Lady of Palestine, the protector of the Holy Land is venerated officially since 1933, a date which the Holy See recognized and approved.
Our Lady of Palestine prayer was written by HB Barlassina in 1926.
O Mary Immaculate, gracious Queen of Heaven and of Earth, behold us prostrate before thy exalted throne. Full of confidence in thy goodness and in thy boundless power, we beseech thee to turn a pitying glance upon Palestine, which more than any other country belongs to thee, since thou hast graced it with thy birth, thy virtues and thy sorrows, and from there hast given the Redeemer to the world.
Remember that there especially thou wert constituted our tender Mother, the dispenser of graces. Watch, therefore, with special protection over thy native country, scatter from it the shades of error, for it was there the Sun of Eternal Justice shone. Bring about the speedy fulfilment of the promise, which issued from the lips of Thy Divine Son, that there should be one fold and one Shepherd.
Obtain for us all that we may serve the Lord in sanctity and justice during the days of our life, so that, by the merits of Jesus and with thy motherly aid, we may pass at last from this earthly Jerusalem to the splendours of the heavenly one.