A little later than in Rome, the Holy Door that had been opened at the Basilica of Agony in Gethsemane was solemnly closed on Saturday.
Mons. Shomali, the auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem, presided over the eucharistic celebration in a crowded church. His concelebrants included the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Giuseppe Lazzarotto and a Syriac Catholic bishop. In the choir, there were also about twenty concelebrating priests.
Br. Benito José Choque, the guardian of the Franciscan fraternity of this holy place, was on duty at the sacristy during the mass. While the friar was ensuring that the continuous flow of pilgrims continued peacefully through the alleys lining the olive trees, at the same time, he was checking that the celebration was going well, all while responding to the delivery of fuel oil, since temperatures in Jerusalem have dropped considerably. But when asked about the impact of this Holy Door for the community, his face lit up. He did not seem to be thinking about the extra work that this may have represented [for him], and instead exclaimed, “It was a year of grace. Great numbers of religious communities from the Holy Land have come on pilgrimage, as well as fraternities, or congregations, who have come to gather here for a time of mercy. We had many local worshipers who came throughout the year. And there were a lot of confessions. Some faithful from Jerusalem even came every day of the holy year--if you can imagine that--every day of the year! There were very few who did this but nevertheless, what a witness [it was]! This truly was a year of graces.”
Night fell on the city, when Mons. Shomali closed the Holy Door, but God’s mercy has no end. What luck!