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2014
custodia.org

Blessing of the new chapel in the Cenacolo

Many were those who came on the afternoon of Sunday the 12th of October to participate in the blessing of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and its garden inside the Cenacolo (Little Cenacle) monastery.

Two years of dedicated work by the Italian artists Michele Canzoneri and Rosella Leone to create and arrange this new venue for receiving pilgrims. The theme was first chosen and discussed with the theologian Mgr. Crispino Valenziano and the monastery’s president, Fra Enrique Bermejo. The latter was very enthusiastic: “This is incredible for the Holy Land and the pilgrims! From now on they will have a new space with a lovely garden where they can pray, meditate… Now we have room to receive several groups at once.”

The celebration began with the blessing of the garden, following which the crowd moved toward the chapel, singing hymns and followed by the celebrant priests. Mgr. José Rodriguez Carballo OFM, former Minister General of the Franciscan Order presided over the mass that was celebrated in the presence of Apostolic Nuncio Mgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Father Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa, and Custodial Vicar Fra Dobromir Jasztal. Many male and female religious, representatives of the Armenian Church and even the ambassador of Spain attended in witness to their friendship. The chapel was filled, and some people had to follow the mass from a small adjacent room.

Mgr. Rodriguez Carballo’s homily centered on the Franciscan’s mission in the Holy Land. He thanked the artists for having allowed this little chapel to become a site worthy to receive pilgrims and above all, worthy of the celebration of the mystery of Jesus. The stained glass windows were inspired by various scenes: the washing of the feet, the appearance to the disciples, Mary and the apostles, and also Pentecost and Peter’s discourse. The window in the door that opens onto the garden illustrates the baptism, while the one opening into the monastery depicts the Eucharist. The abstract art might be surprising, but that is what the bishop emphasized in his homily: “Jesus’ message is surprising! We must allow ourselves to be surprised by what he tells us, whether it is through art, like these windows, or through his words.”

The bishop then blessed the altar and the Custos censed the other locations prior to the Eucharistic liturgy.

Mass was concluded with a few words form the Brother Custos and the president of the monastery, who both thanked the artists, the Custody’s technical office, everyone who worked on the project, and the friars who were so patient during the work.

Light refreshment was then served in the garden.

Among the congregation were two Argentinian pilgrims. They had been looking for a Latin mass, and although they came to the Cenacolo haphazardly, they left enchanted. Their presence inaugurated the chapel since it was for a better reception of pilgrims that the Custody undertook the project. May they be followed by many others!

H.M.

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