Jerusalem: Day for consecrated life

Blessing in the courtyard of St. Helena
Blessing in the courtyard of St. Helena

On 2 February, the Presentation of the Lord, the Day for Consecrated Life was celebrated at the Church of St Saviour in Jerusalem. Religious, both men and women, came together to celebrate the gift of consecration and to renew their vows in the Holy Temple which is the Church.

For several years now, the Committee of Religious Men of the Holy Land has organized this day and this year again the Church was crowded with consecrated men and women who live in Jerusalem. "This year, we decided to celebrate the day here at St Saviour," said Jean Daniel Gullung, director of the Committee of ReligiousMen, "in honor of the 800thanniversary of the meeting between St Francis and the Sultan Al-Malek Al-Kamil, to emphasize even more strongly the brotherhood that binds us together."

Fr. David Grenier, Secretary of the Custody of the Holy Land, presided the celebration in which the religious vows were renewed in St Helen’s courtyard and then the celebration of the Eucharist in the parish Church. The first reflection was focused on light. “We bring the light with us,” recalledFr. David and"we will discover that the world is more beautiful when there is light and the people around us recognize the presence of God."The short procession towards the Church was followed by the solemn Liturgy of the day, accompanied by songs in the different languages of the religious communities: Arabic, English, and Latin. "As consecrated men and women, we are also invited to do as Joseph and Mary in the Gospel did: not to bring only what we can obtain or buy, but to bring Jesus Christ," Fr. David said in the homily. “This light, if shared, will make Christ visible and will make the others say: I can go in peace because through you I have seen salvation, like Simeon.”

Sister Amanda Mesa, member of the Committee of Local Religious Men and Women, underlined how the feast day of 2 February is the visible manifestation of the unity between religious men and women of the Holy Land. "It is like Pentecost,” Sister Amanda said,"we speak different languages, we come from different countries, but we have only one God. We, the consecrated, belong to God and our brothers, service guides us and animated by this, we are here in the Holy Land, a holy place, which speaks to us of Christ.”

Giovanni Malaspina