21 May 2018

Prayer for peace in Jerusalem on the solemnity of Pentecost

Pilgrims and local Christians have celebrated the descent of the Holy Spirit in various places of the Holy City. The vigil was opened with a prayer for peace and justice led by Mgr Pizzaballa.


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Thousands of pilgrims gathered with the local Christians this weekend at a range of events marking the solemnity of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

The first event took place on Saturday 19 at the church of St Etienne – a vigil of prayer for justice and peace. “We are gathered here to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which is the peace offered in the Upper Room on Pentecost”.
The invitation issued by Mgr Pizzaballa found resonance in the Holy Land and appealed to the many authorities of the Churches in Jerusalem.

The event also found resonance in other parts of the world, involving a great number of participants.

Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
“The peace of the Upper Room is what Jesus announces to the disciples when He enters after the resurrection. They were fearful, closed in, looking inward, frustrated and disappointed. When He enters, peace. And He adds: “Go out and bring this peace to the world”. This is peace”.

Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
“We cannot perhaps change the choices of politicians, but we can pray. I was very happy, I did not expect such intense participation throughout the world. The European Bishops’ Conference, many orders, religious institutions all over the world joined in this day of prayer and fasting. This makes it clear to me that the wish for peace is not just a refrain, but a real need in the hearts of millions of people in the world”.

Director of the “École biblique” of Jerusalem
“It is hard for the country and we really need the strength of prayer. For us it was a joy to have all these Christians with us and actively feel the power of prayer when we are together. This is a strong sign for the country and for the world.”

In the Grotto of the Hermitage on the Mount of Olives and with a very special view of Jerusalem, a vigil took place to evoke the Holy Spirit culminating in the mass presided over by Br Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land.

“One of the fruits of the spirit, St Paul says, is that of peace, the Franciscan guide recalled.

Custos of the Holy Land
“If we reflect on the opposite of Pentecost, that is Babel, that confusion of languages and people who are not able to meet and converse, Pentecost becomes the time in which different languages and cultures are instead able to entertain a dialogue – they are reconciled.”

On the Sunday of Pentecost, the bells rang again. The first celebration of the day took place in the Benedictine church of the Dormition of Mary, only a few metres from the Upper Room.

The Chrismal Mass was presided over my Mgr Pizzaballa.

Two kilometres away, in the Old Town, is the Parish of St Saviour, where the Pontifical Mass was celebrated.

To end the various celebrations for the solemnity of Pentecost, the solemn Vespers prayer was held in the afternoon at the Upper Room. The brothers reached this place at 4pm after a pilgrimage from St Saviour. Many pilgrims welcomed them in an expression of the diversity of peoples from all over the world meeting in the same prayer.

The faithful filled the little space of the Upper Room.

The gift of the Paschal Sprit is linked to the mystery of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.

Custos of the Holy Land
“Naturally all this occurs if we welcome the gift of the Spirit with an open heart. The Spirit does not act magically, but through people. This is why the main way of welcoming the Spirit is to place oneself in an attitude of deep conversion.”

For the Guardian of Mount Sion, the title of the Custos of the Holy Land, “To pray one day is only a taste of the peace prayer”.

Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
“We shall continue to pray for Jerusalem and for the peace of Jerusalem”.