On 15th March a delegation of the Custody of the Holy Land welcomed the Episcopal Conference from the Czech Republic, led by Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, at the New Gate.
According to the Status Concurrently in force - i.e. all the historical traditions, rules and laws that establish the relations, activities and movements which take place in the Basilicas which are in the hands of several Christian confessions– the Cardinals who so request are entitled to be solemnly received in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and, in this case, the celebration follows the traditional liturgy reserved for the solemn entrances of the heads of the different Christian confessions, occasionally in addition to the greeting in front of the closed entrance of the Basilica of the Sepulchre.
After the main door of the Holy Sepulchre was opened, the Czech Cardinal and Bishops entered the Basilica. The second reception, after kissing the Stone of Unction, was by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton. The Custos, first of all, offered to the Archbishop of Prague holy water for the aspersion of the faithful present, whilst the Te Deum was sung, and then he welcomed Card. Duka with the words. "In this blessed and Holy Land,” said the Custos, “there are tensions, problems, and difficulties that at times are radicalized and lead to forms of violence which inevitably cause many people to suffer. And yet we believe that God’s dream for this Holy Land is a dream of peace, a hope that has its foundation precisely in this place where Christ gave himself for the reconciliation and pacification of Heaven and Earth.
The celebration continued in the space in front of the Edicule of the Resurrection, surrounded by a large number of pilgrims. Mons. PierbattistaPizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, took the floor and repeated the welcome, evoking the scene of the triumphant entrance of Jesus into the Holy City., just before giving himself for our salvation. "Here,” said Mons. Pizzaballa, “his presence, his prayer., his renewed act of faith, help us to look beyond suffering, discomfort and poverty, and to look at one another with kindness, to always look beyond the horizon.”
Before the solemn blessing given by the Custos, Fr. Patton, His Eminence Cardinal Dominik Dukaconcluded, thanking all those present for the warm welcome. “Jerusalem is not only a place of sorrow, where Christ died as a victim for us,” he said, “but it also has to be a place of great joy and great hope for everyone, because it was here that Christ rose again.”