St. John the Baptist: the birth of Christ’s precursor is celebrated in Ein Karem

On June 24, at the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in Ein Karem, the birth of the Precursor of Christ—the son of the preacher, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, from humble beginnings—was celebrated. As always, the friars of the Custody had the honor of participating in the Eucharist that commemorated of the saint’s life in the very place of his birth.
On Saturday, the Franciscans from St. Savior’s Monastery prayed at the church of St. John of the Desert, traditionally associated with the saint’s childhood, which is located in the village of Ein Karem, about 10 kilometers from the Jerusalem’s Old City. The prayer was followed by a dinner shared by all the participants.

The mass that celebrates this solemnity was held on Sunday and was presided over by the Father Custos, Fr. Francesco Patton. Among the civil authorities present, there was also the Consul General of Spain to Jerusalem, Rafael Matos González de Careaga. At the Eucharistic celebration, which saw the participation of a multitude of people of different nationalities and which was celebrated mainly in Latin and Italian, the Father Custos said the homily. “We have the duty to discover the value of each person,” he said. “And this is most evident with St. John the Baptist, the son of an elderly, sterile couple who in God finds help and the reason for such an unexpected birth. This is the revelation of how important we are in God’s eyes, who has a plan for each one of us. Sooner or later, there will be a call in our lives, a proposal from the Lord.”

In conclusion, the Father Custos also emphasized that “our call from God has an undeniable, unrepeatable meaning, which showcases the value of our lives,” referring to the ordination to the ministries of acolyte and lector of some of the friars who were present.
The celebration ended with the procession inside the very grotto where the tradition places the birth of St. John the Baptist. Br. José Clemente Muller, the monastery’s guardian, thanked everyone for their participation and invited them to share a moment of fraternal communion.

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