Feast of St. Mariam Bawardy celebrated solemnly in Galilee
Holy Land – On August 26, 2016, St. Mariam Bawardy’s feastday was celebrated all over the Holy Land, especially inside the monasteries of the Carms and Carmelites. In Galilee, two celebrations in Horfeish then in Ibillin had preceded Mass, which took place on August 27th at the Carmel of Nazareth.
Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah and Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Nazareth, had carried out a small preliminary pilgrimage to Horfeish, native village of the saint’s family, a few days before the feastday. They were accompanied by Latin parish priests, Fr. Elias Tabban, Fr. Samer Haddad, Fr. Nidhal Kanzua, several members of the Melkite parish council and one Druze Sheikh. Together they visited the new and old Melkite village churches as well as the burial site of the saint’s father, next to the latter’s. A time of prayer came to close this pilgrimage in the village, still inhabited by many members of the Saint’s family.
In Ibillin, the native village of St. Mariam Bawardi, the group “the true life in God”, directed by Mezied Yacoub, held on August 24th an evening of prayers, and many parishioners participated. This evening, which took place on the site of the saint’s home, was animated by the local choir, directed by conductor Zahi Grayyeb, and by the Shepherds Choir of Beit Sahour, directed by Geoge Salsa.
On August 27th the Carmelites in Nazareth invited the faithful to a Mass celebrated by Bishop G.B. Marcuzzo, concelebrated by Fr. Firmin Bourghinat, scj, chaplain, and Fr. Paolo, pfj, confessor. Many friends of the Carmel and of the Saint attended. The singing was carried out by the Basilica choir directed by Fr. George Lewett, ofm.
In his homily, the bishop, talking in Arabic and in French, emphasized on the “special relationship in general between mercy and Carmelite spirituality and more particularly the strong ties between mercy, life and witness with St. Mariam Bawardi”. Referring then to the recently published booklet by the Carmel of Bethlehem ”Mariam of Galilee, Prayers and Hymns”, he outlined how, the latter living deeply in mercy, “all the Saint’s prayer was very apostolic and pastoral, how the overall offering of herself to God was for the Church, the Holy Father, the Community, the Order, the priests and the salvation of souls”.
At the end of the mass, bishop Marcuzzo blessed the audience with the Saint’s relic, a tissue marked by traces of blood of her stigmatas. Faithful and Carmelites exchanged wishes and shared in a cordial buffet offered by the “Ladies of the Mercy”
Text : Friends of the Carmel of Nazareth
Photos : W.P. & S.A.