2nd November, the commemoration of all the faithful departed, is an important day in the whole of the Catholic world. This year again, for the Latin parish of St Saviour, located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, it was an important date when commemorating the departed was mixed with local traditions.
The morning started with the private celebration of the Eucharist in memory of the departed friars. This was followed by the parish celebration presided by Fr. AmjadSabbara, parish priest of St Saviour, and concelebrated by the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton and by the guardian of St Saviour, Fr. Marcelo Cichinelli, in the presence of the Franciscan friars of the same convent and the few local Christians who were able to take part.
During the homily, Fr. Amjad spoke of living life with Christ, to “be reborn from above” as Jesus suggested to Nicodemus. "How can we do this? The only path is the Eucharist, which fills us and opens us to eternal life and helps us to understand the meaning of earthly life," said Fr. Sabbara. "By living with Christ, according to the teaching of the Beatitudes,” the parish priest went on, “we can be sure that at the time of our departure we will find Him to accompany us, as it says in the Gospel of St John: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14, 2-3). This is the meaning of this wait, this is the meaning of death: eternal life.”
After the Holy Mass, led by the Kawas, a small group of Franciscan friars made the traditional short procession to the three cemeteries of Mount Sion: that of the friars, that of the foreigners and, lastly, that of the parishioners. A moment of prayer was held in each, followed by the blessing of the tombs and their aspersion with Holy Water. A number of local worshippers made the traditional visit to the tombs of their loved ones, to leave a flower or a lit candle as a sign of remembrance.
It is a particular day, especially due to the times we are living in due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “The fear of this reality makes a return to the Lord easier,” Fr. Amjad explained. "Through fear, the rediscovery of the full meaning of life is coming in, which opens up to hope. It is not easy, especially for those families who have lost members to the coronavirus".