(abouna.org) His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, opened the Door of Mercy at the Basilica of Gethsemani on Sunday, December 13.
It is on this site of the agony of Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemani, that the Church of Jerusalem chose to open the Year of Mercy, on this Sunday of Gaudete.
Along with the Litany of the Saints sung in Arabic, the faithful followed the Cross of Christ, during a procession round the cloisters, before gathering at the Holy Door, still closed and decorated by olive branches.
The Patriarch knocked with a hammer three times, announcing thereby the opening of the doors of the Basilica of Gethsemani, at the sound of the words of Psalm 89 “the mercy of the Lord, I will always sing it” interpreted by the choir.
Later, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Mgr William Shomali, Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Mgr Kamal Bathish, the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, went through the Holy Door, followed by a number of priests present for the occasion, as well as by the worshippers. Each took the time to venerate with devotion the Cross placed at the entrance of the Basilica.
The Mercy of God was at the heart of the Patriarch’s homily. The Church of Jerusalem, born somehow in the evening of Holy Thursday at the time of Christ’s agony, “seeks to be the Church of the Mercy,” he stated. He added that it call on the faithful to make of this year an occasion of conversion and imploration that will bring “more mercy, more justice, more peace” in this Holy Land, torn out by violence.
The Patriarch also refered to the various functions and initiatives which will mark this year of mercy in the diocese of the Holy Land and will enable pilgrims to come yet closer to Christ.