The Custody with a Spanish Accent

On Sunday, October 12th, the Custody was filled with Spanish accents on the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar when Saint Saviour of Jerusalem was filled with worshippers at a Solemn Mass for the national holiday of Spain (October 12).

In the presence of the Spanish Consul General, H.E. Juan José Escobar, the principal celebrant of the mass was Mgr. José Rodriguez Carballo, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and former Minister General of the Franciscan Order (2003-2013).

While it is the consul general who takes precedence in Jerusalem, the ambassador, H.E. Fernando Carderera Soler, made the trip from Tel Aviv to attend, along with several other Spanish diplomats and members of the Civil Guard. Also attending were the Consul General of Belgium and a representative of the Consulate General of Italy, as well as representatives of the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches.

Before the congregation made up of Spaniards and friends of Spain, Mgr. Carballo said that as happy as he was as a Spaniard to celebrate Mass for his country, he rejoiced at the presence of people from other nationalities and other Christian confessions. “Christianity is in the minority here, but we share the same joy of living in Jerusalem, of sharing the same faith in Christ. It is beautiful,” he added, “that we can pray with and for one another. Today it is Spain; tomorrow it will be Belgium or Italy. What is important is that we can share these moments together.”

At the end of the Mass, the Discreet (member of the Discretorium, the Custody’s central council) for the Spanish language invited the assembly to enjoy refreshments. The Consul General took advantage of the time to greet everyone and explain the meaning of the celebration.

“In 1994, Spain and the Holy See signed an accord for the purpose of adapting Spain’s secular work for the Holy Land to present day circumstances.” It should be recalled that for centuries Spain has been one of the largest donors to the Holy Land, and specifically to the Custody. Today’s celebration is an integral part of the accord, which specifies that the Custody is to celebrate two masses for Spain. Today’s mass at Saint Saviour is on the date of the discovery of America and the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, and the other is to be at the Holy Sepulchre on the king’s birthday, which is January 30th.

“Our country,” the Consul General went on, “continues its work, notably with the Obra Pia (de los Santos Lugares), which is responsible for channeling donations for the Holy Land and also the support of Spanish religious communities. In that regard, a magnificent photo exposition will open at Notre Dame Center of October 20th. A photographer came to capture the lives of 35 Spanish religious who are serving in the Holy Land. The exposition will be open for a month, until November 20th.”

We note the date for the pleasure of meeting again.

You can find an interview that H.E. Juan José Escobar gave to the Franciscan Holy Land magazine in Spanish by clicking here. http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/JERUSALEN/Documents/EntrevistaTierraSanta052014.pdf

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