The solemnity of Mary, Mother of the Seven Sorrows, on Calvary

A week from the Easter festivities, the solemnity of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows leads the faithful right into Holy Week. At the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, at Calvary, where there is an altar dedicated to Mary, a mass was celebrated and presided over by the Custodial Vicar, Br. Dobromir Jasztal, on March 23.

There was silence when the Kawas, the guards of honor, hit the ground with their sticks to announce the Franciscans’ arrival. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is always there in the Chapel of the Crucifixion and in the heart of all those who suffer. In this solemnity, the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary are particularly remembered:

Simeon’s prophecy about the Child Jesus (Luke 2: 34-35).
The flight of the Holy Family to Egypt (Matthew 2: 13-21)
Losing Jesus for three days and then finding him at the temple (Luke 2: 41-51)
Mary and Jesus’ encounter on the Via Crucis (Luke 23: 27-31)
Mary contemplates Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross (John 9: 25-27)
Mary receives her dead son in her arms after being taken down from the cross (Matthew 27: 57-59)
Mary leaves her Son’s body at the Sepulcher (John 19: 40-42)

“This place is a sanctuary of pain and suffering and at the same time of victory and hope,” said Br. Dobromir in his homily. “Those who come here are seeking comfort and hope to continue living.” The Custodial Vicar recalled that “God always has words of encouragement and consolation. But we must approach him with conversion and renewed obedience to God. Christ offers us the model and the example of how to walk on the right path.” According to Br. Dobromir, Jesus did not attain perfection through ritual purifications, but through the pain and suffering that he accepted until the end. “The first person who associates with Jesus is his mother, Mary, who offers her son,” he explained. “She herself will be pierced by the sword of pain to show that the mystery of salvation does not end with the mystery of the incarnation, but is fulfilled by lovingly participating in Jesus’ death and resurrection.”

At the end of the celebration, the friars processed out of the Holy Sepulcher, and then two days later, on Palm Sunday, they will process back in to accompany the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate. Easter is right around the corner.

Beatrice Guarrera

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