At Gethsemane to meditate the Passion of Jesus. | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

At Gethsemane to meditate the Passion of Jesus.

On Holy Wednesday, the Custody continues its progress toward the Paschal Triduum by gathering at Gethsemane to listen again to the singing of the Passion.

The bells of the Basilica pealed as the worshippers arrived, walking through the Olive Garden in the shadow of the basilica at the sides and in front of the stone on which is commemorated not only Jesus' time of prayer and agony, but also the submission of his own will to that of the Father, as is recalled during this mass.

Mass was celebrated by Fra Marcello Cichinelli, Custodial Master of Ceremonies, along with Custodial Vicar Fra Artemio Vitores, and the Canonical Visitator, Fra Renato Beretta; they were joined by some thirty priests, a large number of Franciscan friars and about a hundred local lay faithful and pilgrims. During the singing of the Passion According to Saint Luke, after the narrator recalled the agony of Jesus, he turned toward the stone and kissed it.

The special grace of the holy places during Holy Week is to be able to commemorate the events of the Passion in the very places where they occurred. This grace gives one’s prayer special weight. The act of venerating the stone in the sanctuary’s choir was also silently performed by a number of friars and pilgrims at the end of the celebration.

This pilgrimage to Gethsemane is even more important since on Holy Thursday, most of the day is devoted to the mass commemorating the institution of the Eucharist, which is celebrated with the patriarch and a very large number of priests in the Holy Sepulcher, and then in the afternoon with a pilgrimage to the Cenacle.

It is not until Holy Thursday evening that the church of Jerusalem once again comes to Gethsemane for a Holy Hour. The Holy Hour will be broadcast live on a number of Christian Television stations and also live streamed on the Internet at 9:00 PM Jerusalem time, thanks to the Franciscan Media Center — click here **FMC live**.

At the close of the celebration, the Custody friars went in procession to the Holy Sepulcher, where the sanctuary’s fraternity awaited them for another liturgy, this time in front of the Column of the Flagellation, which is enclosed in the wall of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament known as "the Chapel of the Apparition".

This veneration is a very old tradition. The fourth century pilgrim Egeria mentions it, but at the Cenacle. In the 14th century, the Franciscans transferred the column to the Holy Sepulcher, where it is venerated during the daily procession of the fraternity.

In the afternoon the friars will once again gather at the Holy Sepulcher for the Office of Darkness. After the forty days of Lent, they are preparing to experience the great Triduum in the joyous expectation of Easter.

See also the Franciscan Media Center video – click here