The vigil of the second Sunday of Lent at the Holy Sepulcher

Sunday, February 25, was the second Sunday of Lent for Catholics and the first for the Orthodox Churches. Traditionally, Christian communities mark this important season with special prayers at the Holy Sepulcher. It all began on Saturday afternoon when, after the solemn entry of the bishop, Mons. Marcuzzo, who represented the Latin Patriarchate, the leaders of the other churches–including the Greek Orthodox, Syriac, Coptic and Armenian churches–made their entrance as well. For Catholics, it was time for vespers and the other churches had the opportunity to celebrate their own liturgies.
After the solemn entry into the Holy Sepulcher and before Sunday morning mass, there was an important moment for the Franciscans at the Basilica of the Resurrection: the celebration of the vigil. During Lent, it is possible for all of the faithful to come together for this Saturday night prayer.
And so, the Holy Sepulcher was filled with pilgrims, even despite it being dark outside. It seems that the shrine is unceasing in its work for all of Christendom.

In the Franciscan chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land led the liturgy, singing in Latin. The Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, presided over the vigil, in the presence of the Vicar, Br. Dobromir Jasztal, the Secretary of the Holy Land, Br. David Grenier and the President of the fraternity of the Holy Sepulcher, Br. Zacheusz Drazek. Morning prayer, along with the two long readings, guided the faithful in a reflection on the Lenten season, on Jesus’ cross and on Easter. Then, the procession led by the Franciscans went around the Shrine of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was buried and rose. Next, the Custos of the Holy Land celebrated a mass at the Calvary chapel.

“What is fundamental is welcoming the gift of Jesus and, according to the word of the Father, welcoming the teachings of his Son,” said Fr. Patton in his homily. “May it be Jesus’ word that guides our journey, not only this Lent, but for our whole lives.”

Beatrice Guarrera

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