Nazareth invites the whole world to be joyful
NAZARETH – On Sunday April 3, 2016, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the first Vespers and Sunday Mass in the town where the Word became flesh.
The Patriarch entered solemnly into the Basilica of the Annunciation on Saturday April 2, accompanied by scouts, pilgrims and the consecrated from St Antonio’s Oratory until the gates of the church, where first Vespers were sung.
The Mercy mass was celebrated on the following day in the Basilica, in presence of Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Nazareth, Bishop Kamal Bathish, Emeritus Patriarchal Vicar, and many priests and local faithful. A group of 190 young Italians was also present, accompanying the musical group “The Sun”, directed by Fr. Mario Dogwood.
In his homily the Patriarch invited people to pray for the sake of the world. “After Easter holidays, let us pray to Jesus, who overcame sin and death, in order to change people’s conscience and those of leaders who support terrorist groups. Let us pray to change their intolerant attitudes, so that hostages and prisoners may be liberated, for the sake of the dignity, rights and sanctity of human life”. Patriarch Fouad Twal addressed his words to the town of Nazareth: “This Annunciation is a feastday for the town of Nazareth, for all its inhabitants, whether Christians or Muslims. Annunciation is a source of joy for the whole world. I send out an appeal to this town, so that social links remain solid, so that its inhabitants remain united both in the happiest as well as in the most tragic moments”.
Quoting chapter 12 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, His Beatitude underlined the deep qualities which characterized Christians, especially of Nazareth: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
At the conclusion of mass, the celebration went on in the courtyard of the Basilica with the traditional exchange of greetings.
Photos : ©LPJ/Andres Bergamini