Easter behind closed doors... and in live streaming

Br IBRAHIM FALTAS, ofm

Holy Land Custody

"Personally, this is the 30th Holy Week I've spent here in the Holy Land...I've been here for 30 years...and I've never spent a Holy Week like this."

 

"A Holy Week and an Easter celebrated behind closed doors": this is the title of one of the most popular news bulletins, with images of Churches all over the world, from St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, without faithful.

 

Br IBRAHIM FALTAS, ofm

Holy Land Custody

"I think for the first time in history, for the first time we saw Jerusalem like this, we saw the whole world this way."

 

The cancellation of the Palm Sunday procession from Bethphage, the largest Christian manifestation in the Holy Land, was a heavy blow for Father Ibrahim.

It was then difficult for Brother Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, to retrace with very few friars the Way of the Cross on Good Friday through the streets of Jerusalem, usually attended by thousands of faithful.

 

Br IBRAHIM FALTAS, ofm

Holy Land Custody

"We were told that the procession in the streets could not be done. We fought, talked to everyone, the police, to make it in 10 people: they didn't want it. Only four of us... so four of us did the way of the cross."

 

Father Ibrahim also recalls another moment in which many people attend every year, the Funeral of Christ: the liturgy that on Good Friday evening retraces the moments and gestures immediately following Jesus' death, from Calvary to the stone of Anointing to the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Br IBRAHIM FALTAS, ofm

Holy Land Custody

"I was touched... I was moved... I was hurt to see Christ's funeral with only 10 people. I think this was a message for us, a strong message that reminded us of all the people who died alone these days. It reminded us that they were not really alone: Jesus was with them, He accompanied them to the heavenly Jerusalem.

This Passover must be considered a passage, like the passage from the slavery of Egypt to the promised land; a passage from this emergency to our normal life."

 

This past week has also been a live streaming Holy Week.

 

The Christian Media Center has broadcast numerous programs: from the blessing on Jerusalem from the Shrine of Dominus Flevit on Palm Sunday to the Holy Hour from the Garden of Gethsemane, to the eve and Easter Day from the Holy Sepulcher.

 

Faced with the obligation to remain at home, the first decision of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was to bring Holy Week celebrations from the Patriarchate's co-cathedral into the homes, thus bringing the entire Arab Christian community of the diocese around its bishop.

 

The broadcasts, also in this case edited by the Christian Media Center, were filmed by various platforms, including Palestine Tv and the website www.abouna.org.

 

Fr IBRAHIM SHOMALI

Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

"The number of participants in the broadcasts is very high: thousands and thousands of Christians have followed the celebrations in streaming, even Catholics who do not usually celebrate Easter according to the Western calendar - as in the area of Ramallah - and many Orthodox, and we have had many positive comments."

 

KHALED SUKKAR

General Director Palestine TV

"There is a good and stable collaboration between Palestine TV and the Christian Media Center, under which we exchange information, photographs and interviews, especially now with this epidemic...so we are broadcasting all Christian religious celebrations, including masses and prayers, all over the world.

It is an obligation for the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, especially these days, to help people to pray from their homes."

 

“It has been important work," explains Father Shomali, "as the numerous positive responses from the people testify. Many people said "for the first time we understand Holy Mass better, we celebrate the Eucharist better. Usually, we have to keep an eye on the children and, you know, they can't stay still in church three hours in a row... at home, instead, everything was quieter"".

And now constant attention is paid to prayer in the family:

 

Fr IBRAHIM SHOMALI

Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

"We are also doing biblical contests about Holy Week, about the Passion of Jesus, so that the family can sit down and talk together. Every evening at 10 pm there is the Rosary organized by abouna.org so that the whole family can gather and pray together from home. We believe it is fundamental that the concept of the domestic church returns, that the family prays...in the family."

 

Christian Media Center