The Commissariat of the Holy Land of the Province of the Immaculate Conception and the Centre for the Holy Land of Madrid organized seven Masses (from 25 to 31 October) to pray for peace in the Holy Land. Fra Fadi Azar, parish priest of the Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Latakia (Syria), took part in the celebrations, which were held in different Spanish cities. Fra Fadi gave some lectures to present the situation of the Christians in Syria and in the Holy Land. The collections from the Masses will be used for the projects of the Custody of the Holy Land.
Do not abandon us
The first Mass was celebrated in the Convent of the Annunciation of the Poor Clares in Madrid on Wednesday 25 October. Fra Luis Quintana, vice commissary of the Holy Land, assured the prayer for the Holy Land at the lecture in the afternoon. “Pilgrimages have been suspended, but the pilgrims’ desire to go to the Holy Land has only been postponed. The Holy Land needs us now more than ever.” Fra Carlos Molina, director of Casa Nova Nazareth and in charge of pilgrimages at the Assembly of the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, speaking by video connection, emphasized the importance of the pilgrimages for the people who live in the Holy Land. Fra Fadi took the floor, stating that “nothing is impossible where there is goodwill. Nothing is impossible when we seek peace”. The fact that the pilgrims want to go to the Holy Land as soon as possible “is a sign of hope. It is important not to feel abandoned.”
Help the Mother Church of Jerusalem
On Thursday 26 October, the Mass for peace was celebrated in the Cathedral of Valencia and was presided over by Mons. Enrique Benavent, archbishop of the diocese. On Friday 27, in Madrid, the day started with a meeting with university students at the Colegio Mayor Jaime del Amo. This was followed by a Mass for peace in which Fra Fadi and Fra Luis spoke together about the situation of the Christians in the Holy Land, the social work of the Custody and the need to help the Mother Church of Jerusalem, also present in Syria and other places in the Middle East.
The pilgrimage to San Toribio
During the pilgrimage to Santo Toribio de Liébana, organized by the Spanish association of the Friends of the Holy Land on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, a Mass for peace was celebrated in the Cathedral of Burgos and on Sunday 29 in the Sanctuary of Santo Toribio de Liébana (Cantabria). In Burgos, the Mass was presided over by Monsignor Mario Iceta, archbishop of the diocese. On Sunday, the Eucharist was celebrated in the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and was presided over by Fra Fadi who, together with Fra Luis, spoke of the need to keep the flame of love for the Holy Places lit in our hearts even though for the time being it is not possible to go on pilgrimages.
A light for the Holy Land
The Mass for Peace was held in Seville on 30 October, preceded by a talk during which two videos were screened: in the first, the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land encouraged the Spanish people to have faith and be patient to be able to go on a pilgrimage as soon as possible; the second was on the activities of the parish of Latakia (Syria), including a project of solidarity to take electricity into every home with the installation of solar panels. All those present showed great interest in collaborating on the project.
Christ of Peace Parish Church
Before celebrating the last Mass for peace in the Cristo de la Paz Parish Church (Madrid), there was a meeting with the members of the Hospitalidad Jesús de Nazaret, after which the Eucharist began, presided over by Fra Fadi and concelebrated by the Franciscan friars of the parish. Before the blessing, fra Fadi was offered a gift to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the parish.