03 January 2018

Peace in Jerusalem and in the whole world

In the Vatican Basilica in Rome, in Jerusalem and throughout the world, the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God, was celebrated on the occasion of the 51st World Day for Peace.

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These were Pope Francis' words at the first Angelus prayer of 2018.

The Solemnity was celebrated in the St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, in Jerusalem and throughout the world.

On the first day of the year, as per tradition, religious authorities and representatives of the various Latin communities of the Holy Land gathered in the Concathedral, around the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Mons. Pierbattista Pizzaballa. Numerous local faithful and pilgrims were present.

In his homily, Mons. Pizzaballa invited those present to let themselves be awakened by the Word of God. Today, at the beginning of this new year, the Gospel opens the way and provides us with the compass to stay in this time and to welcome it as a blessing. This solemnity coincides with the World Day of Peace.

At the end of the celebration, the faithful expressed their wishes in the presence of the Apostolic Administrator, of the Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, new nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate for Jerusalem and Palestine, of Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land and of Mons. Giacinto Marcuzzo, Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate.

"We arrived this morning in Jerusalem, after spending the night in Bethlehem. In our 4 days of visits to the Holy Places, we will be able to rediscover our Christian spirituality. Our participation in this New Year's celebration in Jerusalem is very important to us scouts.

A wish for the beginning of the new year is to keep an astonished attitude. It seems very difficult in our times, where everything is [available and ready] online and in real time. And yet, this attitude is now more necessary than ever, Archbishop Pizzaballa recalled. Is there anything that can still amaze us?

Apostolic Administrator of Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
"I believe that a good teaching for this year is to keep an astonished attitude, imitating the Virgin Mary who welcomed everything that happened around her and kept it in her heart. In these times of immediate answers, we should seek to meditate on them instead, we should learn to wait and to contemplate, to become familiar with the events without judging them, and to listen. Stop and listen. There is no peace without listening.”

Custos of the Holy Land
"The message of peace from the Holy Land is always the same: peace is connected with the action of God, but it requires our readiness and acceptance and, obviously, our willingness to commit to it, according to our skills and availability. Therefore, whoever works in the political field, will have to work for peace in the political sphere; those in the cultural sphere, in the teaching and in the education fields, will have to work for peace, trying to propose a culture of peace and to educate towards peace.”

'Peace' was also the dominant word in the greeting of the new pontifical representative, Archbishop Girelli, upon his arrival in Jerusalem.

Custos of the Holy Land
"Jesus was born here. And today, on the first day of the year, we remember that he was born in the fullness of time from a woman, Mary, whom we venerate as the Mother of God and who brought us God's blessing.
That very beautiful blessing that was proclaimed in the first reading in every church, contains the perfect greeting of peace: ” (Numbers 6:24-26)