Commemoration of the Feast of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Commemoration of the Feast of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem

On December 28, in the cave of Saint Joseph, located inside the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Franciscan friars commemorated the Feast of the Holy Innocents, according to the liturgical calendar.

In the cave dedicated to Saint Joseph (in memory of the vision, in which the angel urged him to flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary, to avoid Herod finding the Child), Fra Artemio Vitores, Custodial Vicar, presided at the Mass, con celebrated by many priests.

To the faithful present, Fra Artemio wanted to underline how the bitterness of this event, while celebrated in an atmosphere of Christmas, reports the current suffering of the innocent in our own day, already more than two thousand years after the tragic and historic "Massacre of the Innocents."

In the words of Fra Artemio’s exhortation: "Every child needs our love, today, here, next to the Tomb of the Innocents and the Grotto of the Nativity, we pray for all the children of the world, especially for the innocents of Bethlehem and its surroundings. All children are beloveds of God, because “… it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost" (Mt 18:14).

Fra Artemio painted a bleak picture of the modern Herod. "In every part of the world he does not cease to eliminate the innocent child by promoting unjust laws in order to destroy." And he reminded us of "the many unborn children, victims of abortion, children without parents, without a home, child soldiers, made brutal instruments of violence, abused children, traumatized in the depths of their soul."

Fra Artemio concluded his sermon with some advice, "Do not store only for yourself the grace you have received! Communicate to others your encounter with the God-Child at Christmas and be a witness of His Love! A great miracle will occur, such as that which happened by the merits of Saint Francis, "The Child Jesus was raised in the hearts of many who had forgotten him."

In the early afternoon, Fra Vitores, together with the Friars and students who participated in the pilgrimage to Bethlehem, returned to the Grotto of Saint Joseph to preside over Second Vespers and commemorate the tiny Martyrs of Jesus' time.

Text: Internet Office
Photo: Nadim Asfour