06 August 2018

The Franciscan March: a testimony of the vitality of Christianity in the Land of Jesus

The young people of the Holy Land walked almost 50 km during the twenty-eighth Franciscan March

Christians in the Holy Land

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There are those who take advantage of the holidays to rest. This is not the case of these young people from the Holy Land! They chose to spend these days taking part in the twenty-eighth Franciscan with the theme "We walk enlightened by the Word".

The participants were led by Franciscans and religious from Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Croatia, Jordan and Brazil.

It's been a week filled with intense moments like this of Nazareth!

They prayed with the Poor Clares, marched through the streets of the city and publicly witnessed the faith. They proved that despite being a minority, Christians are a living presence in the Land of Jesus!


The night ended in the Basilica of the Annunciation. Divine Providence reserved for young people the opportunity to converse with the Virgin Mary in the same place where She said "yes" to God.
 
The following day, again in Nazareth, another intense moment. The young people knelt down and declared that Jesus was the King of their lives.
 
Br AYMAN BATHISH, ofm

Custody of the Holy Land

"We walk, we get tired during the journey and we follow this voice, the person of Christ, we walk with great effort looking for His face, looking for His love, we try to listen to His Word, we live the fraternity in the same way Francis lived it with the brothers. And in this life in communion with God and in our brother we discover how beautiful, how joyful, how full of grace is the life that the Lord gave us, the Christian life".

 
One of the most eagerly awaited moments was the walk towards Mount Tabor.... The group got up extremely early for this difficult task! They left at four in the morning walking towards the place where the transfiguration of Jesus took place and we walked with them!

We spotted the Holy Mountain... We also thought it was close, but we were fooling ourselves!
 
There was no shortage of difficulties, but there was also no shortage of friends willing to help... Thus, almost without realising it, young people lived the principles of the Gospel!
 

Miral Atik
Bethlehem

I realised that this is one of the most important experiences of my life. I took part in the march to get closer to God through my faith and to learn more about Christianity.


The climb has begun... Now the top is closer than further! We have overcome the difficulties and we have found the breath to sing and enjoy every second of this experience which will remain forever in our memory!
 

And the arrival of each one of us on the top of Mount Tabor was exciting and very well celebrated! Being more than 450 metres above the plateau and almost 600 metres above sea level is an incredible experience!

The group is once again focused. This time, to walk towards the Basilica of the Transfiguration! 


There, we lived moments of brotherhood, celebration and we also remained silent in preparation for the Feast of the Pardon of Assisi!

On this feast, so important for the Franciscan Family, the custos of the Holy Land, Br Francesco Patton celebrated a Mass. 

The young people walked through 4 cities (Ibilin, Rene, Nazareth and Mount Tabor), covering almost 50 km. Here, like the disciples, they were close to the Master. Now it is time to come down from the mountain and go back to everyday life.
 

Br IMAD KAMEL, ofm 

Responsible for Youth Pastoral Ministry of the Holy Land

"I have already heard some people thinking about changing their lives. Speaking with the young people, they expressed with joy that they did not regret their participation in the March. They said they will come back and bring others, because they were able to see their lives in the light of the Word of God and now they have decided to go home, to return from the mountain like the disciples, filled with the grace of God."
 


ISSA ANASTAS

Bethlehem

"Despite the effort and the long distance, we lived the march in the Light. I met new friends and Christians from Palestine and learned that even though I have nothing I must be happy with life and help those most in need".