26 June 2017

Celebration of The feast of St. John the Baptist at his birthplace.

On Saturday, June 24, the Church celebrated the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, at Ain Karem, the place where the prophet was born. The Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, presided over a mass on the occasion of this feast.


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In the Church of St. John the Baptist which houses the crypt that indicates the birthplace of the precursor of Jesus, the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, presided over a Mass.

In the homily, the priest said that this great saint and prophet helps us understand that every birth is important and must be celebrated with joy and enthusiasm! Every human being, however small, is wonderful in the eyes of God and is called to discover, little by little, the sense of his existence. Everyone has a vocation!

At the end of the celebration, the friars sang the Benedictus in the place where two thousand years ago this prayer was pronounced by Zechariah.

Soundtrack: The Benedictus song

Guardian of the Sanctuary of St. John the Baptist
"Pilgrims, the devout people who travel here, are the ones who do everything... Devotion to St. John goes beyond the official veneration of the Church and it just steals one's heart: he who announces Christ is a popular saint. St. John's greatness is reflected in his saying: Today, this announcement can gather all people around the Eucharist!”

This feast has also stirred great emotion among those who live here!

Sister Maria Ivone dos Santos
Our Lady of Sion Congregation
"Living in the Holy Land and sharing everything with the people elected by God, especially here in Ain Karem, is a blessing for me and is very important because it is here where the Messianic project of Jesus began. This makes me very happy!"

In Ain Karem, Christians are the minority. The local population is almost entirely Jewish. Our life together, however, is peaceful.

Gad Barnea
Systems Analyst
"Jews and Christians, we are very in sync with each other here. The spirit of tolerance and dialogue is beautiful: this is the thing I like best about Ain Karem. Even the parish here is very active in the dialogue, we witnessed an example of this dialogue during Mass, with the final song of the Jewish community, a symbol of dialogue and cooperation between us.”

Soundtrack: The Benedictus song in Hebrew

In the context of this dialogue, on the occasion of the celebration of the birth of St. John the Baptist, a congress that introduced the saint to the local people, was held at Ain Karem.

Director of Ain Karem New Home
"The purpose of this meeting is twofold: to celebrate in a Jewish setting, in an environment that is not very familiar with the Catholic Church, its festivals and solemnities, the feast of St. John the Baptist and to make this Franciscan reality known to the inhabitants of Ain Karem, and this is perhaps even more important.”

Member of the Council of Ain Karem
"The idea is to physically open the gates and spiritually the hearts and meet people, let them know about the Franciscan order, the Church ..."

Head of the Council of Ain Karem
"I was born here at Ain Karem and I spent most of my life here. We have always come here to attend Christmas and Easter Mass just to listen to mass and to its sounds, as an example of Ain Karem's multiculturality (...). The monastery is part of the community and we would like to highlight and strengthen the relationship and the shared events between the monastery and the local community.”