2016
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The Virgin’s Nativity, a joyful harbinger

On Thursday, September 8, as per the tradition of the Latin Church of the Holy Land, the birth of Virgin Mary was celebrated at the St. Anne’s Church. The White Fathers, surrounded by many Franciscans, representatives of various religious communities as well as pilgrims, participated in a French consular mass for the occasion. The last and current Consul General of France in Jerusalem, Hervé Magro, was present.

The mass was presided over by Br. Najib Ibrahim, OFM. After a procession in the crypt of the Birth of the Virgin, the readings, including the Gospel account of Jesus’ genealogy, were pronounced.

“Let us joyfully celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary,” began Br. Najib, “because she brought us the sun of justice, Jesus Christ our Lord. The history of salvation has a beginning that is called Mary,” he continued, “and the Gospel presents the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David and son of Abraham. This genealogy summarizes the history of Salvaton with symbolic traits: the three groups of 14 generations each representing the history of the people of the covenant, a number that represents perfection and plenitude. The history of Salvation has its center and fulfillment in Christ, in which dwell both plenitude and divinity. Mary’s divine motherhood is the foundation of all of her privileges. Mary’s birth announces her vocation and mission,” he summarized, “[since she was] destined to become the mother and collaborator of the Savior. This is why the Church invites [us] to pray for her intersession for unity and peace.”

At the end of the celebration, the White Fathers invited the congregation to the courtyard for some refreshments. Meanwhile, some people used this as an opportunity to visit the Basilica, the crypt of the Mary’s Nativity, or the Pool of Bethesda, which was mentioned in the Gospel of John as the place of Jesus’ miracle of the paralytic.

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