JERUSALEM – On Sunday, December 13, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, opened the Door of Mercy at the Basilica of Gethsemane.

It is on this site of the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, that the Church of Jerusalem opened the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on Gaudete Sunday.

Accompanied by the singing of the Litany of the Saints in Arabic, the faithful followed the Cross of Christ in procession around the Garden, before gathering in front of the Holy Door, still closed and decorated with olive branches.

The Patriarch knocked three times, thereby announcing the opening of the door of the Basilica of the Agony designated as a Door of Mercy, to the choir’s singing of Psalm 89 “I will sing of your mercy forever, Lord…”

The Patriarch entered the Holy Door followed by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto; Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, M.Afr, Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus to Egypt and former President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Bishop Gregoire Melki, Syro-Catholic Patriarchal Exarch, Bishop Joseph Zerey, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchal Vicar; Bishop William Shomali, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo; Bishop Kamal Bathish; Very Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM, Custos of the Holy Land; priests and the faithful.  A Cross at the entrance of the Basilica was venerated by all who passed through the Holy Door.

The Mercy of God was at the heart of the Patriarch’s homily. The Church of Jerusalem  “seeks to be a Church of  Mercy” he stated; and he called on the faithful to make this year an occasion for conversion to experience God’s love and mercy; and prayers that will bring “more mercy, more justice, more peace” in this Holy Land that has been torn by violence.

The Patriarch also referred to several initiatives in the Diocese for this Jubilee Year of Mercy:  liturgical celebrations,  prayers, and parish activities for the faithful to participate, that during this time of grace and spiritual renewal, we as pilgrims in this world, journey together closer to Christ.

Calixte des Lauriers

Photos : Thomas Charriere

Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

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