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The Latin Church of Jerusalem enters Lent

The Latin Church of Jerusalem enters Lent

JERUSALEM – On February 10, 2016,  Ash Wednesday, Patriarch Fouad Twal presided over Mass in the Patriarchate’s Co-Cathedral marking the start of Lent.

This morning Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the Ash Wednesday Mass in the Co-Cathedral in Jerusalem, concelebrated by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Bishop Kamal Bathish, Patriarchal Vicar Emeritus in the presence of the Latin Patriarchate and other Catholic organizations’ employees.

In his homily, the Patriarch focused on the three pillars of Lent, fasting prayer and almsgiving.  He emphasized that true fasting is not simply abstaining from certain foods or other material things but also to reject hatred, anger and all the sins that keep people away from God.  “During Lent we should work together to create an environment of mercy, where the spirit of God is with us.  Lent is a perfect time to prepare for the resurrection of Christ”.

He also invited the faithful to pray everyday for those who are suffering, especially during the celebrations of the World Day of the Sick, this year being held here in the Holy Land.  The Patriarch concluded his homily with a quote from  Saint Paul’s second Letter of to the Corinthians:  “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (5:20)

On the same day, a Mass celebration was also held in the Church of All Nations in Gethsemane, presided by Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel, concelebrated by Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land and Bishop Yohanna Petros Moshe,  Syriac Catholic Bishop of Mosul and several priests. The blessing and distribution of ashes took place at the beginning of the Mass, before the Holy Door.

Saher Kawas and Thomas Charrière