The month of May is dedicated to Mary. We take you on a journey to her home in Nazareth, between devotion and the needs of the local community.

In May, there is life again after the long winter: during this month, around the world, the Church remembers Mary, Jesus’ mother. In a particular way, in Nazareth, at site of the Annunciation, pilgrims come to remember an event that changed the course of history.

Fr. BRUNO VARRIANO, ofm, Guardian, Basilica of the Annunciation – Nazareth, “All year long, in Nazaret is unique because of its special devotion to the Virgin Mary, its torchlight processions, its masses and the pilgrims passing through. But the month of May is special because even local Christians make pray rosary every day and there is also a mass that is greatly attended; the basilica is full of people; many parishioners are celebrating the month of May with the pilgrims who are passing through and also celebrating.”

Thinking about Nazareth and the Marian shrines of the Holy Land makes us think about those who keep protect these places—the Franciscan friars of the Holy Land—and we also think about their charism.

Fr. BRUNO VARRIANO, ofm, Guardian, Basilica of the Annunciation – Nazareth, “Saint Francis thought up the Angelus and we are right in the place of the Angelus. Here, we Friars Minor pray the Angelus each day in the grotto, at the site of the Annunciation, which is a Franciscan tradition, the pearl of the Franciscan tradition. The Angelus then spread throughout the world and throughout the church.”

The Franciscan Friars Minor take care of the most visited Marian sites in the Holy Land: the grotto of the Nativity and the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem; the Basilica of the Visitation in Ein Karem; the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth and that of Nutrition. These places need help and support, especially the site of the Annunciation.

Fr. BRUNO VARRIANO, ofm, Guardian, Basilica of the Annunciation – Nazareth: “The grotto is being restored. We can say that the restoration attempt worked. But we must continue, because it is very important to the place of the Annunciation. We can say that it is working, but we need help, not only for the grotto itself, but also for the presbytery of the Basilica. In 2016, the Basilica of the Annunciation will host the World Day of the Sick and in order to do this, we need to improve the elevator for the disabled.”

Fr. BRUNO VARRIANO, ofm, Guardian, Basilica of the Annunciation – Nazareth, “We want to make the house of the Virgin Mary more beautiful, more cozy, more of a place for pilgrims and local Christians,so that we can all feel welcomed in our mother’s hom. So: help us, this is a call for help! The projects are there; the work is there. Help us! We are praying from here, but also help us with your prayers.”