The Italian-language Commissaries of the Holy Land met in Jerusalem for a period of learning, meeting and sharing. About twenty friars followed the course of “Jerusalem, holy city” from 1st to 9th June.
A course for falling in love
The course for Commissaries was organized by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (SBF). The programme combined theoretical and practical aspects, with lessons in the classroom and excursions to Jerusalem and its surroundings. “The basic idea is to make the Commissaries fall in love with the topic of Jerusalem, the Holy City, which is the heart of the pilgrimage, so that in their turn they can hand on this passion,” said fr. Alessandro Coniglio, Secretary of the SBF and one of the lecturers on the course.
The Custody in all its aspects
The Commissaries also had meetings with the local community and with heads of the various charities and activities of the Custody of the Holy Land. “The aim is to make the Commissaries fall even more in love with the Custody in all its aspects,” fr. Coniglio emphasized. It is significant, from this point of view, that the Commissaries stayed at St. Saviour, the seat of the Custody, where there is also a school, the parish and the theological seminary. “All this has allowed a real immersion into the life of the Custody.”
Courses and routes
A day of the course was devoted to a biblical hike to Wadi Qelt (a canyon that starts from the hills of the Judaea desert, near Jerusalem, and reaches Jericho). “This type of activity allows us to visit the land by crossing it physically,” fr. Matteo Brena, President of the Conference of Italian-language Commissaries of the Holy Land underlined.
“Moving on foot is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular in the West. The Holy Land as well can meet this need to return to a slower pace of life, with something extra: not only beautiful walks in nature but ones which are also full of Biblical history, which is the story of salvation.”
According to fr. Matteo, “Today the Commissaries have to question themselves on this new way of visiting places and travelling through the Holy Land, and start discussing how to offer new types of pilgrimage or complete and enrich the existing ones.” This is a process that is also favoured by the young age of the Commissaries. “In recent years, the Italian Provincials, in agreement with the Custody, have appointed younger Commissaries to set off a process of renewal of the Commissariats and new ways of running them.”