Mass in the Grotto of the Nativity for the benefactors of the Holy Land

A few days before Christmas, on Thursday, December 10, Brother Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, together with the Franciscan community of Bethlehem, celebrated in the Grotto of the Nativity.

Mass at the birthplace of Jesus today has a specific goal: "To pray for the benefactors of the Holy Land."

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"Here we are in the place where God's mercy was manifested in the face of the child Jesus, who bears in his very name his mission to save us from our sins and from all that ruins and fails our lives."


"The readings we have heard are of great support and consolation for us, precisely in such a difficult time as the one we are living. They reveal to us that 'The Lord is merciful and great in love,'" stressed the Custos of the Holy Land.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"We have to remember that that was a time that was globally quite difficult. When we think of Christmas as it happened in history, it was not a poetic Christmas, it was a dramatic one. And even the first ones who came to worship Him were shepherds, poor people who kept vigil during the night and received the message of the angel. So when we live in a difficult, tiring context, like the one we are living now, we are in the ideal situation to understand that we need salvation and to understand that that child comes to bring salvation."

Brother Francesco Patton confirmed that the friars of the Custody continue to be present and to pray in the sanctuaries, even when the pilgrims are not there, for all the benefactors of the Holy Land.

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"The relationship with benefactors is one of mutual closeness. We are close to the benefactors and they are close to us. We are close to the benefactors by praying for them daily: the benefactors are the daily object of our prayer. At a time when they cannot physically come as pilgrims - this is the desire of many benefactors - we try to be "pilgrims in their place" and to transmit to them what is the authentic meaning of a pilgrimage to the Holy Places."

Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"Then, of course, we need benefactors to stay close to us, because it has been 10 months since we have had any pilgrims, 10 months since we have had any income, on an economic level: both we and the Christians of our communities, especially here in Bethlehem. And so we also feel the need for those who can, however they can, and according to the measure of their heart - as St. Paul says - , to stand by us and support us also economically."

As friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, we assure you of our constant and daily remembrance in prayer and we invite you to make a spiritual pilgrimage in any case. That is, we invite you to be here with your heart and spirit and to prepare to celebrate Christmas through prayer and the reading of the Word of God.

 

Christian Media Center