To celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows, a small assembly from the Latin parish of Jerusalem met early on Monday morning, March 21, at Calvary Chapel at the Holy Sepulcher. This is one of the few times during the year that the Latin parish of Jerusalem attends a celebration at the Holy Sepulcher, although the parish meets every day at the church in Saint Savior’s monastery, which belongs to the Custody and is also a parish church. However, the date is significant because March 21 is Mother’s Day for Palestinians.
In the silence of the basilica, the atmosphere was prayerful and the little choir was preparaing its songs. The mass was celebrated by the parish priest, Br. Firas Hijazin, and it was concelebrated by Brs. Michel Shawki and Ramzi Sidawi.
“Woman, behold your son! This is your mother,” said Br. Firas in his homily, while quoting the Gospel of the day. “In this Gospel, Jesus builds a relationship with us in a very individual yet collective way. The mother always has various pains, and she bears not one cross but several. In this Gospel passage, women received maternity by the cross and passion of Christ, thus sanctifying their maternity,” emphasized the friar.
The woman carries her own cross by physical motherhood but also by giving her children an education marked love, faith, while often enduring suffering herself. The brother explained that women have Oumna Mariam (our mother, Mary) as their example. “Our Mother continues to fulfill her mission and what was asked of her, and this is a call to any mother to remain in the faith and its mission despite all of life’s trials. Not only did Simon of Cyrene help Jesus carry his cross, but so does every mother by her cross of daily family life.”
“To whom did Jesus give the message of the resurrection in the first place? To a woman!” he exclaimed, meaning that if the mother is the one who suffers first, she is also the one who rejoices first. There is therefore a calling, a mission, and a sending out.