Intense weeks of work for the friars gathered in Chapter in Jerusalem, interrupted only by the Sunday break, for a day of rest. Some participated in Bethlehem to celebrate the first Mass of Brother Emad, newly ordained, while others went on a visit to Samaria and, after a first stop in Nablus at Jacob’s well, then continued to Sebastia for a visit to the archeology site of ancient Samaria, accompanied by Carla Benelli, art historian for the ATS Pro Terra Sancta Association.
A time for testing, with many difficult moments that led to the last day of the Custody Chapter of the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land.
The day started early in the morning when the Custos, Friar Francesco Patton, along with all the Chapter friars, as the women on Easter Sunday, went to the Holy Sepulcher to solemnly celebrate the dedication of the Basilica.
They then gathered for the plenary assembly, where the President of the Chapter, Brother Jakab Várnai, addressed the friars with a concluding speech, in which he described the spiritual path that, as President, he wanted the brothers of the Custody to undertake: “The Chapter was the descent to the river for the Chapter friars who will now have to decide whether or not, like the Samaritan woman, to ask the Lord that they be given the living water that will support them in their important mission in the Holy Land.”
A day in which, every chapter monk received the final message from the President, written as a synthesis of the work.
Fr. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH, ofm, Pastor of Aleppo – Syria
“We shared the beautiful experiences of our mission and I can say that we had the strong feeling that the center of all our mission was our concern for Syria. All the friars demonstrated their closeness to us and to the suffering that we experience there in Syria. They continue to pray for us.”
The Chapter was also an opportunity to elect a new administration, which will support the Custos as he leads the custodial fraternity.
Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm,
Custos of the Holy Land
“I would say that what emerges also as a high point for the journey that awaits us is first and foremost the importance (for us friars of the Custody of the Holy Land) to walk in tune with the Order to which we belong, in tune with the universal and particular Church; because our Custody has a mission to place itself inside a local church but with a universal perspective which is reflected by our own internationality.”
All the friars finally took part in the Way of the Cross through the streets of Jerusalem, thus ending their journey in front of the empty tomb of the Risen.
Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
“And the Chapter also highlighted the aspect of evangelization. Many of us said on repeated occasions that we are born as a missionary Province. The Custody of the Holy Land is the first missionary experience of our order, the only one lasting uninterruptedly for eight centuries. We said that we must continue going in this direction with our Evangelization and our mission through all the means at our disposal, from the pastoral activities to the schools and the media.”