Exaltation of the Cross | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Exaltation of the Cross


On the morning of September 14th, the Franciscan Friars gathered at St. Saviour, to process to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, preceded by two Kawwas, for the solemn celebration of Mass on the occasion of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. In the chapel of Golgotha, a few meters from the Sepulchre, we celebrate an anniversary essential to the lives of Christians; the synthesis of the entire Paschal Mystery of the Lord Jesus.
This feast dates back to 335; in later centuries, this celebration also incorporated the commemoration of the discovery of the True Cross from the hands of the Persians, by the Emperor Heraclitus in the year 628.
The Mass was celebrated by the Custodial Vicar, Fra Artemio Vítores, and concelebrated by Fra Fergus Clarke, Guardian of the Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, together with other priests. Many religious, local worshipers and pilgrims from all over the world attended the function.
Latin hymns of praise were sung prior to the mass. The relic of the Holy Cross was carried in procession, accompanied by the antiphon: We glory in the cross of our Lord, through whom we have been saved and set free.
In his homily, Fra Artemio summarized the value and relevance of the cross.
“The cross is a manifestation of God’s love. God is Love. On Golgotha is clear that God is Love (1 Jn 4:160. Love forgets the hurt, forgives everything. Simply, love.”
In another part of his homily, he used the example of Francis: “To descend from Golgotha to the world, it is necessary to return to the world starting from this Calvary.
Francis, in the little Church of San Damiano, praying before the crucifix, heard these words three times: Francis, go and repair my Church, which, as you see, is in ruins! It was the Church that God had purchased with his blood.
And so, like Francis, eliciting the sign of the cross, begin your mission.

At the end of Mass, the relic of the Holy Cross was carried in solemn procession, accompanied by the hum Vexilla Regis, to the altar of the apparition of the Risen Christ to Mary Magdalene. Here, everyone was able to approach and kiss the reliquary with devotion, first the celebrants, followed by the faithful.