The entire life of St. Francis was a constant search for conversion and union with Jesus-Christ, and of Praises of God, Creator and Father. Walking in the footsteps of the Little Poor Man of Assisi, who came to the East to preach the Gospel, the Friars of the International Seminary of the Custody of the Holy Land base their testimony on peace and non-violence, on the respect of the faiths, cultures and laws of the people which they live among in the Middle-East.
The Seminary is a real unique place for the Franciscan Order. Today, 35 young men coming from 15 different countries find in it their first school of evangelization. It’s in internationality that this cosmopolitan environment sees his founding and great wealth. To live in the Holy Land represents an incomparable privilege for a young Christian seeking God
To live in the Holy Land represents an incomparable privilege for a young Christian seeking God
Prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures, Eucharist, personal prayer and meditation, celebrated on the actual site, through the true rocks sanctified by God’s footsteps and blood. It all becomes Holy Places of the spirit, cherished by the sons of St. Francis. With the love of those who know that with age-old love they have been loved, without saving themselves, they’ve been lovingly and practically taking care of these memories for more than 8 centuries.
Among these rocks and among the dust, on the sunny paths of the Judean desert and in green Galilee through which flows the once fresh waters of the Jordan river, the young students of the Holy Land Studium Theologicum express their gratefulness and love to God who became child in Bethlehem, to the divine teenager and worker of Nazareth, to the divine Master and Healer across the whole region, to the divine Crucified on Calvary, to the Redeemer Risen from the sepulcher we find inside the “Temple of the Resurrection” (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Nobis in animo, on the necessities of the Church in Holy Land).
Moreover, to keep and, for the new students arriving each year from every part of the world, to discover the beauty and wealth of the old liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Mother Church of Jerusalem, the Seminary takes care of all the celebrations ruled by the Status Quo, under the guidance of the Masters of liturgical ceremonies of the Custody. Christmas in Bethlehem and Easter at the Basilica of the Resurrection are the year’s peak time. The ecumenical dialogue is cultivated in that atmosphere of prayer and respect for the Communities with which is shared a path of reconciliation and unity. Especially also in unofficial occasions, understanding and commonality of sentiments and convictions are felt when, for example, the 19th century church of St. Saviour’s opens its doors allowing us to meet and pray together.
It is not possible to visit Jerusalem without being marked by that experience
As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. The words of the psalmist looking for the Absolute express at the same time, in a real oriental way, the nostalgia and desire of the Holy City that we feel when we get away from it. It is like the burning thirst, the contrast between the desire for water and the disappointment in front of a dry torrent.
A For you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless, and without water...