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Saint John the Baptist 2006: A Franciscan pilgrimage to Ain Karem

The Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Father Artemio Vitores, was the presiding concelebrant at the celebration for the Feast of Saint John the Baptist in Ain Karem. At the beginning of the ceremony, he stressed the tradition, as well as the good fortune of the Franciscans of this country, who can make pilgrimages during each year to the different sites of our Redemption.

A number of pilgrims joined the friars. The largest group came from Spain. For six centuries this site has been associated with the Spanish crown, as Father Artemio noted in marking the faithful presence of His Excellency the Consul of Spain, Mr. M. José María Ferre de la Peña, accompanied by his wife. Several Italians were also present, as well as members of the faithful from Jerusalem, local people and those here on mission, like the Poor Clares of Jerusalem on a mission of prayer who, exceptionally and at the invitation of the Father Guardian, Father Fergus Clarke, joined the assembly. The Jerusalem parish had celebrated an earlier Mass that morning with their pastor, Father Ibrahim Faltas, ofm. Until the year 2000, Christians from Ramallah, Bethlehem and the surrounding area would join them, but the “security wall” has since made these pilgrimages impossible for the Palestinian Christian community. In their own country, the Jerusalem parish is united in prayer with those who would prefer to be present and of whom the Custody never stops thinking during these privileged celebrations.

In his homily, Father Artemio Vitores invited the assembly to consider the immense figure of the Precursor, “the greatest of the sons of women”. After the Mass, a wine reception was held in the shade of the mulberry trees in the garden before the meal for the friars and their guests inside the convent.


25/06/2006 - Saint John the Baptist 2006: A Franciscan pilgrimage to Ain Karem

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