(Custodia) Cana is brimming with excitement on Sunday January 18th. The small Latin parish of Cana (where we commemorate the Jesus’ miracle) is preparing to welcome Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, for his annual visit.
Taking advantage of the sunny day, Fr. Raffaele Tayem sets up some tables in the garden for the parish lunch. The faithful arrive long before mass time to make sure they’ll find a seat in the small church.
When the Custos enters accompanied by Fr. Jerome Vour-Dery (guardian of the convent) and Fr. Simon Peter Herro, the church is full to its capacity. Fr. Simon Peter sings the gospel while Fr. François Marie Shamiyeh, the parish priest, gives a very vivid homily and to support his words, he shows different maps and banners to the meeting.
What brings so many people in such an atmosphere of joy is not the hope of seeing the water turning into wine, but the opportunity for the couples to renew their marital vows in the place where Jesus himself attended a wedding.
After the homily Fr. François Marie led thus the renewing of the vows by the many present couples. The atmosphere was really festive. At the end of the Mass, Father Custos expressed that watching the couples placing each other the rings in their fingers one more time (when they have always been able to remove them) was a source of joy. And the fact is that couples from all the ages mirrored their heart until Fr. Francis asked them to “kiss the bride.”
For the occasion, the small community of Cana received reinforcements from many couples coming from Nazareth. And the whole assembly was invited for lunch as well as for a large wedding banquet presided by Fr. Pizzaballa.