Jerusalem Procession Closing the Marian Month
JERUSALEM – The end of May is an opportunity for many parishes organize processions in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Sunday, May 29, 2016, the Arabic-speaking parish of Jerusalem gathered to celebrate Mother Mary through the streets of the Old City. See our photos below!
The month of Mary was brought to a close on Sunday evening, May 29, at the parish of St. Savior in Jerusalem, with a Mass celebrated by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, concelebrated by Fr. Firas Hijazin, OFM, pastor of the parish, with the entire Arab-speaking Christian community of Jerusalem. The Mass is usually followed by a procession through the streets of the Christian Quarter, to the Co-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate after a stop at the Christian Brothers’ College before returning to the courtyard of St. Savior Monastery for the final blessing. The procession was led by the scouts, present at every religious ceremony, followed by the statue of the Virgin Mary carried by young girls dressed and veiled in white in honor of the Mother of God, according to a long-standing tradition. Bishop Shomali preceded the statue itself, bearing an icon of the Virgin, venerated by the faithful at each stop, with a sign of the cross or kissing the image.
In his homily, Bishop William Shomali spoke about the life of Alexis Carrel, author of several books including one devoted to prayer ( “Prayer”, 1944), a winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and also a witness to miracles in Lourdes (France). In “Prayer”, Carrel described prayer as “man’s effort of trying to communicate with an invisible person, Creator of everything that exists, supreme wisdom, power and beauty, Father and Savior of us all.” Bishop Shomali also stressed the importance of family prayer, too often neglected in favor of modern technology and means of communication; nevertheless, prayer is “a vehicle for peace and unity in the home.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary has a special place for Eastern Christians, who do not miss an opportunity to indicate their filial love. On the Sundays of May, it is very common to see children dressed in blue and wearing a white veil, in the arms of their mother, a sign of the parents’ devotion to Our Lady. Processions were held throughout the diocese on May 28 and 29 – in Tel Aviv and Nazareth, bringing together different communities around the Virgin Mary, to sing and pray the rosary.
Article and photos by Thomas Charrière