(CMC) Just like every July 15, priests, religious and pilgrims joined the Franciscan friars in the celebration of the dedication of the Holy Sepulcher. Before the freshness of the holy places and thereverential atmosphere, the solemn mass was celebrated in front of and inside the shrine by the Custos of the Holy Land, Br. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, in the presence of the guardian of the Holy Sepulcher, Br.Noel Muscat.
Every year since 1149, the entire diocese of Jerusalem has commemorated the anniversary of the inauguration of the Basilica, a celebration that dates back to Crusades when they sprinkled the altar and blessed the building they had just rebuilt. This moment in history has often been the subject of controversy and has left deep wounds. But this solemnity is in no way a tribute to the glory of the Crusades.Quite the contrary, it is a highlight which brings together all Christians into this one place that through Christ has become the center of the world and the source of life.
“We do not celebrate our victory over one another; we celebrate our desire, that of the Church of the West, to be a part of the history of this land and this place,” the Custos explained in his homily.
He recalled this city’s universal vocation, saying that it is a “house of prayer for all peoples” (Is 56: 7). “We celebrate in this basilica, in this unique place, that has seen hardships but that is also fascinating; in this religious complex, the common desire to see the empty tomb of Christ” he said, is “all in all” (Col 3: 11) and “belongs to no one.”