Saturday, March 25, Nazareth celebrated its most important holiday: the Annunciation. A celebration full of traditions, meditation, joy, faith and prayer.
During the vigil, on Friday 24, representatives of the Christian community gathered in the Grotto of the Annunciation, to welcome the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in his solemn entry into the Basilica and to pray the Vespers together.
After dark, many of the faithful gathered to pray and to contemplate the mystery of the place where the Angel announced to Mary that she would become the Mother of the Savior.
H. E. Mons. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, ofm
Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
"This experience is a reality that we must accept. We must see how the greatness, the omnipotence of God accepts to go through the freedom of a woman, Mary, who with her 'yes', with her full participation made possible the redemption of all mankind. This is such a great mystery: all of our life is not enough to understand it, yet it touches us every time and moves us to welcome this mystery of new life that surprises us and surpasses our understanding."
Saturday morning , on March 25, Mons. Pierbattista Pizzaballa presided at the solemn Mass in the Basilica.
Mons. Marcuzzo, in the presence of some bishops, numerous concelebrants and a crowd of faithful delivered the homily prepared by the Apostolic Administrator.
H. E. Mons. GIACINTO-BOULUS MARCUZZO
Latin Vicar for Israel
"The life of God in us involves listening: Mary reopens the dialogue between God and men. Dialogue is not just listening, but being in a constant attitude of acceptance of our neighbor's gifts. Listening means living a life that does not get established nor gets defined on its own. Listening means living in a relationship.”
This year, a special aspect of the festival was the presence of a representation of the Virgin of Fatima sent in commemoration of the centenary of the apparitions in Portugal.
Fr. AMJAD SABBARA, ofm
Latin Pastor - Nazareth
"We thank God for the presence of the image of Mary among us today and we hope that 2017, in which we celebrate the centenary of her apparition in Fatima, (on May 13) will be a year of goodness and blessing for the whole world, that the devil gets restrained and that we begin a new phase. The fact that this image will arrive to Aleppo precisely on May 13 gives us special joy. The Virgin of Nazareth will console and will remain close to those who suffer.”
The solemn liturgy was the expression of great faith and devotion of Christians in Nazareth and in the entire Holy Land.
Faithful - Nazareth
"Today, our entire family wanted to especially thank Our Lady for her protection to three of my grandchildren, who, two weeks ago, fell inside the pastoral center and suffered serious injuries.. Thanks to the divine providence and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, they recovered and were able to participate with us in the Mass of the Annunciation that is the feast of Nazareth."
The feast ended with the traditional torchlight procession on Saturday evening, presided by the Apostolic Administrator who, by doing so, recalled the twelfth anniversary of the Marian procession that he himself initiated, when he still was the Custos of the Holy Land.