The Catholic community of Jaffa (Tel Aviv) celebrated the solemnity of the apostle Peter in the sanctuary dedicated to him.
It is here that a number of episodes from Peter’s apostolate took place, according to biblical- Christian tradition: the resurrection of Tabitha, the hospitality at Simon the Tanner’s house, and the vision of the tablecloth lowered from heaven. The church built here has the purpose of commemorating these events. The first foundation dates back to the time of the Crusades, when St Louis, the King of France, founded a citadel and brought the Franciscans here. A statue has been placed in his honour in the cloister of the convent. The Franciscans have been welcoming here increasing numbers of pilgrims who landed in the port of the city since 1650.
As per tradition, the Solemn Mass, presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, is celebrated on the Saturday closest to 29 June. Some friars from the Franciscan community of Jaffa and other priests of different origin celebrated with the Custos. The celebration was joyfully attended by several communities: Filipino, Hispanic and Hebrew-speaking faithful. The worshippers who participated in the celebration can obtain an indulgence on the conditions laid down by the Church.
Believe, love, follow and serve
In his homily, fr. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, sketched out “Peter’s Way” to become “authentic disciples of Jesus Christ” in four verbs. “The apostle,” he said, “teaches us that everything begins with believing in Jesus.” The second verb, “love”, takes us to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and the question “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Jesus does not only ask for trust, he also asks for love and exactly when I have experienced my fragility.” Peter – third movement - follows Jesus, to the point of dying for Him. Lastly, “serve”. “Jesus helps Peter understand that trusting him, loving him and following him necessarily leads to putting himself at the service of others.” This is “Peter’s way” which every Christian is called to follow.