With the Virgin Mary at the Foot of the Cross

It is the first celebration in the Pascal Solemnities program: the Mass of the Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows at Calvary.

Just before the eve of Palm Sunday, the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, and especially the little community of Jerusalem, takes its place at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

At the Latin altar of the Sorrowful Virgin, located between the Latin site of the crucifixion and the Orthodox site of the elevation of the cross, the Eucharist is presided over by the Custodial Vicar in accordance with Franciscan tradition.

In his homily, Custodial Vicar Fra Dobromir Jasztal invited the assembled faithful to place themselves with Mary, standing at the foot of the Cross. “Mary, who has been present since the Annunciation, had to be present at the cross because the mystery of the cross is intimately connected to the mystery of the incarnation. Mary is there when the Word says “yes” on the cross; she is still there to say “yes” and receive the Word in the flesh.”
“Mary stayed at the foot of the cross, standing over the world, a symbol of the covenant between God and the earth. Mary has no need to speak at the foot of the cross because she already belongs entirely to God.”

After the celebration, when the other Franciscans had all returned to their respective monasteries, Fra Dobromir revisited the meaning of this celebration over which he presided for the first time as Custodial Vicar. “This celebration is,” he says, “for the priest, an opportunity to offer Christ’s sacrifice to God the Father, and to offer it in very place where the cross that draws all humanity to Christ once stood. It introduces us into the mystery of all the celebrations of Holy Week, of the Passion, of the death and resurrection that remind us that we have a very important mission but not an easy one, a mission that needs continuous support, that needs the strength of the cross and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin who is still standing, united to her Son’s cross and teaches us that we must accept the Word, how to obey the Word to go through and overcome difficulties. It is in listening to the Word and in our way of live that we will see its fulfillment.”

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