Pentecost in Jerusalem: A Foretaste of Unity | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Pentecost in Jerusalem: A Foretaste of Unity

Sunday, 19 May. The Latin parish of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Franciscan community gather together for a single Solemn Mass on this morning of Pentecost Sunday.

With the Custos of the Holy Land, Fra Pierbattista Pizzaballa, celebrating together with the Custodial Vicar, Fra Artemio Vitores, and the pastor of the parish, Fra Feras Hejazin, the mass was even more solemn because, since the Franciscans were expelled from the Cenacle it is in the church at Saint Saviour Monastery that they can receive the feast day indulgences.

So it was that, unable to celebrate the Eucharist in the Cenacle, the Christians of the city gathered at Saint Saviour for the Solemn Mass. The church was full and the friars, who were joined by twenty Brazilian friars, occupied the choir.

The festive spirit continued in the afternoon at the Cenacle on Mount Zion. Some of the faithful celebrated Vespers early in order to be able to pray in quiet recollection in the Upper Chamber, which, as an exception, is open on this day.

The faithful were filled with joy at the opportunity to pray together here in this holy place, decorated for the occasion in the colors of the Custody. Besides the Custody’s flag, most notable was a reproduction of one of the Custody’s earliest seals, representing the Virgin Mary and the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, and the washing of the feet.

But more than the Franciscan presence at the site, it is truly the feast day liturgy that plunges us deep into the mystery of Pentecost. In the cultural diversity of those present, even though they could not yet understand one another’s languages, the unity and faith of the assembly was tangible. When each one recited the Our Father aloud in his or her own language, the harmonious murmur that rose to the rafters was like a hymn to unity.

After the celebration, these new disciples filled with the Holy Spirit went on their way, full of strength to enter into Ordinary Time and discover what Pope Francis today called “God’s surprises” in their own lives.