Terra Santa – The Latin Parish Priest of Jerusalem, Father Firas Hijazin, started the tour of the houses in the neighborhoods of the Old City. As per tradition, after the feast of the Epiphany, he will meet with local families and bless their homes.
Fr. FIRAS HIJAZINE, ofm
Latin Parish Priest of Jerusalem
“We usually bless the houses after the feast of the Epiphany, that is, after the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. I try to use the time of the winter season for the blessing of homes because people are more at home. With this gesture, I try to include all of our parishioners, however we are sometimes also welcomed in the homes of Christians of other rites, so we bless those homes, too. The visit of the priest is to show gratitude for that home and its inhabitants, and is also a way to encourage families to live the Christian life. ”
“According to an old tradition, after the Baptism of Jesus in January, the priest brings the water of baptism to bless all the houses of the old city: a grace without which I cannot live. I pray that Jesus will protect my children and will keep evil away from them. This is my prayer to God. ”
During prayer, the whole family gathers around Father Hjazine: adults and children then receive the blessing for themselves and for their home, as well as the blessing of protection and firmness in the faith.
“When we receive the grace of the Lord, we feel that He is with us and that He is blessing us for the entire year.
We feel that the blessing remains in this house until the return of the Epiphany of next year, when we receive the grace again.”
JOSEPH ABDEL NOUR
“I have been living in this house for a year. Father Michael already came here with the nuns to bless this house. We do not feel the power of the blessing yet, but I am sure we will in the future.”
The visit of the parish priest is not only an occasion to inquire about the situation and the needs of the families of the neighborhood, but also an opportunity to talk to the parishioners and to encourage them to hold on and stay in the birthplace of Jesus, despite all the difficulties that we have to face in the Holy Land.