The Custos of the Holy Land at St Charbel in Isfiya

The Custos of the Holy Land at St Charbel in Isfiya

On 22 April, the Custos of the Holy Land, fra Francesco Patton, went to Isfiya, on Mount Carmel, invited by the youngsters of the “Marian Movement in the Holy Land, an association which started in the Maronite Church. Here, he met the young people and celebrated Mass in the church dedicated to St  Charbel Makhluf, a Lebanese monk and one of the best known saints in the Maronite Church.

The date is significant: on the 22nd of each month, the Maronite community remembers St Charbel and the miracle he performed on 22 January 1993 when a woman dreamt that he operated on her and saved her life. Every 22nd of the month, the church dedicated to him in Isfiya is filled with faithful for the Eucharistic celebration.

Young people of Galilee

During the meeting, the Custos was able to listen to the young people and get to know their motivation and the service they perform. From the dialogue, the importance of youth movements in situations such as that of the Galilee, a region that is as complex as it is spiritually rich and at grips with difficult social challenges, also emerged.

The youngsters did not hide the difficulties of being Christians in this context and the obstacles they encounter, including the increasingly pervasive presence of organized crime in society, with repercussions on their possibility of aggregation, action and commitment as a  community.

Mass in the church of St Charbel

After the dialogue with the youngsters, the Custos presided over Mass in the church of St Charbel, in the presence of hundreds of faithful. This monthly event not only reinforces the faith of the individuals, but it is also a moment of community meeting and prayer and of solidarity.

Fra Patton encouraged the young people and the faithful to return to pray in the Holy Places, which have been in the care of the Franciscans for more than 800 years, ensuring for them the support and the accompaniment through prayer.

Marinella Bandini – fra Diab Rosh Rosh