“In this period of Corona virus, a time when even our going to church is subject to restrictions, it is worthwhile that we remember something fundamental: we are part of the Church, we are part of a body and there exists a deep communion between all the members of this body which the Church is.” This is how the Custos of the Holy Land began his homily for the mass of St Joseph in the church of Nazareth which was unusually empty. The celebration of this solemnity has always been attended by a large number of faithful and pilgrims, but due to the current health emergency and the instructions of the authorities, this year it was possible to follow the festivity of 19th March only through the direct streaming on the web by the Christian Media Center. Only a few friars of the Custody, the guardian of the Franciscan convent of Nazareth, Fr. Bruno Varriano, the parish priest of the Local Latin church, Fr. Marwan Di’des, the cantors and the Custos of the Holy Land were physically present at the celebration.
Fr. Francesco Patton wanted to emphasize that the communion which brings together all the members of the Church is the work of the Holy Spirit, capable of doing the impossible, as took place in the life of Mary and Jesus.
“This small building, which holds the memory of the house of Joseph, of the Holy Family and of the place where Jesus also learned the trade of carpentry. At present this small building contains all the Universal Church,” said Fr. Patton. No church, however small, and however few people it can hold, is ever empty when the Eucharist is celebrated. Even when only a few of us can gather to celebrate, at that time the whole of the Church is present, here you are all present as well. And at the same time, a grace starts from here, which once again can reach the whole of humanity due to the mysterious but real action of the Holy Spirit.”
The Custos of the Holy Land then invited everyone to carry out an act of entrustment of the Church and humanity to St Joseph, in his house, at this time when the pandemic is affecting the whole of humanity. (Here the complete homily of Fr. Patton and the prayer of entrustment to St Joseph).