For a long time, the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land have cultivated the practice of Lenten pilgrimages, a particular act of devotion which consists of gathering and praying together in the actual places of the passion and death of Jesus.
Fr. MATTEO MUNARI ,ofm
Professor – Studium Biblicum Franciscanum – Jerusalem
“We started the Lenten pilgrimages at Dominus Flevit, recalling the cry of Jesus over the city of Jerusalem, which refused to accept the Messiah. We joined the cry of Jesus and later we accompanied Him in His struggle and agony in Gethsemane, where Jesus taught us how to overcome all temptations and where He taught us how prayer can become the strenght behind any persecuted person to truly bear witness to the faith, trusting that God is always near.”
Here, the Christian tradition places two events of the Passion of Jesus: the flagellation and the condemnation to death. The two sanctuaries are annexed to the Franciscan Convent, also home to the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. The ceiling of the chapel of the flagellation depicts the crown of thorns.
“Today, we are here in this monastery dedicated to this sorrowful event in the life of Jesus, the Flagellation, where Jesus proved His love for us, suffering in silence for us and offering it for the salvation of the whole world.”
The Lenten liturgy begins with the prayer of Vespers, followed by the solemn Mass, presided by Br. Alessandro Coniglio, a professor at the SBF, together with the Franciscan community of the Custody. Many religious and local Christians were also present.
“First of all, living here means living in a place where Jesus showed us how to face suffering if we have faith. I speak more as a monk than as a teacher. When we suffer in faith, we realize that in silence and prayer, we are able to find an incredible force, just as Jesus did. ”
“As a professor, here at SBF, I am able to see how great His love is: we spend many hours reading the Bible, also trying to read it in the original languages, studying the archeology and the history behind the events, therefore drawing as much as we can from this enormous treasure of scripture in order to get to know more and more about the face of God and proclaim it to the whole world.”