In spite of the sad news in Jerusalem that came from our Benedictine brothers on Friday morning, namely that Dormition Abbey had been vandalized and car tires had been slashed, the Franciscans celebrated the Feast of the Visitation at… you guessed it, the Church of the Visitation in Ain Karem.
The Custos celebrated the Mass preaching about Mary’s fiat and encouraging all to that same fiat. Our friends at terrasanctablog.org report that after the Mass, there was a procession to the place tradition holds the Baptist was hidden while Herod’s troops sought to kill all the male children two and under. Following the procession, refreshments were taken before later in the afternoon, yet another procession through the Christian Quarter back in Jerusalem. The Patriarch presided over that traditional procession that ends the month of May.
No Christian celebrates when a Church has been vandalized but the crime did draw attention to those who were willing to pay attention. The Dormition Abbey marks the place where Mary completed her last earthly pilgrimage before being assumed into heaven. Ain Karem marks the place of Mary’s first pilgrimage of faith when her life with Christ had just begun. Though we can be saddened that peace is yet far, we can rejoice that, like Mary, we travel on a pilgrimage of faith that has, as it did for her, its ups and downs.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. St. Elizabeth, woman of faith, pray for us. St. John the Baptist, help us to leap in the womb of our Holy Mother Church as we journey on our pilgrimage of faith.