2012
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The Feast of Mary Queen of Palestine opens the Year of Faith

2012/10/29

A Solemn Mass in Arabic to begin the Year of Faith in the Holy Land.
The shrine of Deir Rafat a large number of local Christians, who came to invoke the Queen of Palestine for the Year of Faith, set forth by the Universal Catholic Church.

The Queen of Palestine blesses the beginning of the Year of Faith in the Holy Land.
Under the statue of the Virgin of the shrine of Deir Rafat, a large number of local Christians attended the solemn opening ceremony, which took place on October 28th, two weeks before the official date set by the Roman Catholic Church.
The date is symbolic, one that celebrates the Lady of Palestine, carefully chosen for the beginning of such an important year.
The liturgy, enriched by the various Catholic rites, symbols of many traditions, gestures wit diverse significances, lasted more than two hours.
Melkite, Syrian, and Maronite Catholics colored the Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, and was concelebrated by a number of bishops from all parts of this Land of God, together with the Archbishop of Oklahoma, H.E. Bishop Paul Coackley.

The shrine of the Queen of Palestine is located in Deir Rafat, 35 km from Jerusalem, in an area of ancient biblical references.
This shrine, build in 1927, was greatly supported by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Luigi Barlassina, at a time of great difficulty.
He wanted to establish a feast dedicated to the Queen of Palestine, in order to ask for her protection.
The date for the celebration of this feast was chosen as the Sunday after October 25th. In 1933, the Holy See officially recognized this feast, recognizing its significance as a means of special intercession to Mary for her native land.

Until 1948, it was an active parish surrounded by a populated Christian village; later it became a center of charitable and educational activities. Today the complex at Deir Rafat welcomes groups of pilgrims and hosts meetings for the local Christians.

The spiritual care of the shrine is under the Order of the Servants of Mary, assisted by the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem, and of the Assumption of the Virgin, and of Saint Bruno.
The Church is famous for the decorations on its walls and facades.
The greeting of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin of Nazareth, reproduced in 280 different languages, is like a chorus in unison, composed of the voices of the peoples of the world, together calling as one on this land’s most illustrious daughter.

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