Death ends, whilst love lasts eternally: Holy Mass of the Resurrection with H.E. Carlos Cardinal Amigo Vallejo | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Death ends, whilst love lasts eternally: Holy Mass of the Resurrection with H.E. Carlos Cardinal Amigo Vallejo

Jerusalem, Church of St. Saviour, November 17, 2011

On the evening of November 17th, the parish Church of St. Saviour welcomed the group of 150 Spanish pilgrims of the Diocese of Seville, who came to the Holy Land following H.E. Carlos Card. Amigo Vallejo, a member of the Order of Franciscans Minor and, since 2009, Archbishop Emeritus of Seville. In the 1970s, when he was appointed Archbishop of Tangiers, in Morocco, Cardinal Amigo worked intensely to promote inter-religious dialogue and ecumenism and fostered the start of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Morocco. In 1982, he became Archbishop of Seville, and was then also appointed member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, President of the Episcopal Commission for Missions and Cooperation between the Churches and a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care).

The pilgrims arrived in the Church in small groups, tired but happy after an intense day of visits to the holy places of Jerusalem, and they took their places in the pews, waiting for the Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Amigo. Alongside the Cardinal, as concelebrants, were the priests of the diocesan parishes that organized the pilgrimage. The celebration, animated by many songs in Spanish, took place in an atmosphere of profound participation and followed the liturgy of the Holy Mass of the Resurrection, with the reading of St. Peter’s speech (Acts 10,34a.37-43), the words of St. Paul inviting the union with the celestial Christ, Prince of the new life (Colossians 3,1-4) and the passage from the Gospel of St. John on the resurrection of Jesus and the empty tomb, which Mary of Magdalene and the Apostles found on Sunday morning (John 20,1-9). In his moving homily, Cardinal Amigo emphasized the immense value of the resurrection of Christ, which took place in Jerusalem and which opens wide the door of life to each man. “Like every father, God cannot accept that His Son be abandoned to death and restores His life to him. Christ, therefore, lives forever and indicates to every man his destiny of life. We need this faith, to know that Christ was raised from the dead and appeared alive to the Apostles. Faith consists of loving and trusting God with all of one’s soul, like Mary at the foot of the cross. Because death ends, while love lasts eternally. And the resurrection of Christ is the highest expression of the love of God, emptying the tomb and placing our lives in communion with the life of Christ, alive forever.”

After Holy Communion, one of the pilgrims, in a fine tenor voice, sang a song in Latin dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Introduced by this moving moment, Cardinal Amigo, before bringing the celebration to an end, thanked the Custody, which with affection and generosity had welcomed him on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the Franciscan friars, who for many generations have preserved and animated the Holy Places, for the benefit of the Church and the whole of Christianity. Lastly, the Cardinal expressed his great gratitude and joy for having had the chance to celebrate Holy Mass in the stole and liturgical vestments worn by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during his apostolic visit to the Holy Land in May 2009. When the celebration was over, before leaving the Church, each of the pilgrims received a gift from the Franciscan friars of a small set containing the book (in Spanish) The Franciscan Presence in the Holy Land, Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem 2011, an excellent introduction to learn about the history and the multiple activities of the Custody of the Holy Land, a brochure presenting ATS – Pro Terra Sancta, the NGO that supports the works and projects of the Franciscans, an informative brochure of the publications and instruments of communication of the Custody and an olive wood rosary. It was a concrete occasion to come closer to the life of faith and intense work which, to a great extent thanks to the Franciscan presence, constantly animates the Holy Land, a place which, Cardinal Amigo recalls, “fills us with great emotions when we think about its extraordinary importance for our lives. The place where the Lord becomes intimately close to us and reveals to us that death is not the last word.”

by Caterina Foppa Pedretti