At Sepphoris the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

At Sepphoris the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne

Amid the ruins of a Crusader Church at Sepphoris, the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne was celebrated this week. At a place traditionally revered at the birthplace of the parents of Mary, the Mother of Christ, some one hundred members of the faithful gathered in celebration at a Mass attended by His Eminence Giovanni Cardinal Coppa, former Apostolic Nuncio in Prague.

Joachim and Anne were the parents of the Virgin Mary, and here, among these very stones, was a cave that served as their home. Here the mother of the Madonna was born for us to become one of the most important saints in the Catholic calendar.

For years Friar Raffaele Santos has cared for these ruins where the memory of Joachim and Anne is preserved. It is they who brought about the birth of the Madonna, and it is Friar Raffaele's task to watch daily over this, one of the holiest places in Christian tradition. An enclosure built by the Franciscans shelters the ruins of a basilica, built in the 12th Century with materials dating from an earlier church, mentioned by Saint Epiphanius. Tradition still associates this Church with the house of the parents of Mary.

"We are two friars living a monastic life here. The fact that this is the site of the home of Saint Anne means a great deal to us, and to be here is truly a gift from God."

Assembled within the Church, under a Galilean sunset, local Christians participated in a Mass celebrated entirely in Arabic, all of them coming to express their attachment to a place that has such importance in the history of the world.