Pentecost in Jerusalem is the feast of the Cenacle | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Pentecost in Jerusalem is the feast of the Cenacle

31st May. Pentecost in Jerusalem is the feast of the Cenacle and not only for the Franciscans! Yesterday afternoon, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum (teachers and students) met at the “Cenacolino” to pray “next to the Cenacle”. A group of Polish priests also assembled, after dinner, “under the walls, as close as possible to the Cenacle” for a vigil of prayer. This morning, when the Vicar of the Custody, Fr. Artemio Vitores, in his sermon, recalled that “in 1559 the Franciscans who had been expelled from the Cenacle settled in the present-day church-convent of St. Saviour,” the solemn Eucharistic concelebration became an echo of the poignant and great nostalgia for the first home of the Franciscans in Jerusalem, but which is also the home of every Christian who lives in or visits the Holy Land.

This year, the Holy Mass for the solemnity of Pentecost also fell on the Sunday closest to 2nd June, a national holiday in Italy. In his welcoming monition, Fr. Artemio underlined the meaning of Sunday as a “day for man”, a school where charity, justice and peace are learned. “It is in this light that today we celebrate the national holiday of Italy, hoping and wishing for the Italian people peace, justice, well-being and reciprocal love.”

The Eucharistic concelebration was followed by the usual reception, which this year could be held in the hall of the new Custodial Curia. It was an opportunity to visit the reproduction of the Chapel of the Scrovegni of Padua, an example of Italian art and culture, and which has had countless visitors in these first few months of being exhibited in Jerusalem.

The celebrations of Pentecost included in the afternoon the solemn prayer of Vespers at the Cenacle. The friars arrived there at 4.00 p.m. in a procession from St. Saviour, together with the local faithful and pilgrims. This classic appointment filled the small space of the large room. Here, resuming his explanation of the morning in his homily, Fr. Artemio transformed into a prayer the words of St. Francis who said: “the Holy Spirit is the real General Minister of the Order, and considered that the Chapter that is celebrated at Pentecost, must be a return to the Cenacle of Jerusalem.” Everybody joined in the prayer with great faith for the Holy Spirit to guide the Chapter that is being celebrated in Rome and to continue to accompany for ever the Franciscans here, where they have been present for 800 years.

To read the homily of Father Artemio Vìtores, click here (in Italian).

To read the homily of Father Artemio Vìtores during vespers , click here (in Italian).

Irene Boschetti