Thanksgiving Masses for St. Teresa of Calcutta in Jerusalem and Nazareth
HOLY LAND – On Sunday September 18, 2016, the Latin Parish in Jerusalem celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass for St. Teresa of Calcutta at St Saviour parish church. On the same day, a solemn mass in honourof the saint was also celebrated in Nazareth.
The Mass was presided by Most Rev. William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem and Palestine, and concelebrated by Fr. Francesco Patton,OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, and Parish Priest Fr. Feras Hijazin, with participation of priests and the presence of the Missionaries of Charity serving in Jerusalem, Nablus, Bethlehem and Gaza, religious men and women and the parishioners of St. Saviour.
The celebration began with the entrance procession of Priests led by the Missionaries of Charity. The Liturgy was celebrated in Arabic, Italian and English. In his homily, Bishop Shomali reminded the assembly how St. Teresa lived the words of Jesus according to St. Matthew (25: 13 -46). He also mentioned her visit to the Seminary in Beit Jala in the 1980s. It was an opportunity to learn that her work and mission were out of love of God and Jesus Christ, because she saw in the poor the image of Jesus.
The Patriarchal Vicar concluded his homily by accentuating two things: the fact that we have a strong saint, who served us during her life and continues to do that after her death, because saints are our intercessors and older brothers and sisters. Moreover, she sets an example of loving the poorest of the poor. “Let’s start by loving our parents, our neighbours and whoever seeks our help”, said Bishop Shomali.
In addition to the bread and wine, the following which were significant in the life of St. Teresa were brought to the altar during the offertory procession: her picture, relics, Cross, Sari which is the habit of the Missionary Sisters of Charity, Constitution of the Congregation, rosaries, a basket of grapes, a huge loaf of bread and flowers.
Fr. Feras thanked Bishop Shomali for celebrating Mass and all the priests present. He also thanked all who had participated in the preparations of the event. The Mass was animated by two choirs, “Fursan Al-Quds” (Knights of Jerusalem) and “Al-raja’” led by Mr. Hani Qretim and Mr. Jacob Ghazzawi.
A Thanksgiving mass was also held in Nazareth and was presided by Most Rev. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Nazareth, in presence of the faithful and religious men and women. During the ceremony, a religious profession of one brother of the Contemplative branch of the Brothers took place. Furthermore, the Patriarchal Vicar blessed the new Perpetual Adoration Chapel and the house of the Missionaries of Charity.
It was the year 1970 that the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity arrived to the Diocese of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. They were in charge of running different caring centers and nursing homes for the elderly and disabled people. Their apostolic work benefits the families where they live, especially the poor, the children and the needy. the Holy Land is also the home of the Contemplative branch of the Brothers .
In November 1982, St. Teresa visited the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem, Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Nablus and Gaza. un 1982 and during the siege of Beirut, she was able to convince the conflicting parties to accept a ceasefire in order to save thirty seven sick children trapped inside the city. When she visited Gaza and was asked if she bears any weapons, her answer was: “Yes, my prayer books.”
Source: Deacon Samir Hodaly, Abouna.org and Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Photos: Nadim Asfour/ CTS