[Note: Image is from April, 2019]
In the unprecedented circumstances of celebrating the liturgies of the Holy Week behind closed doors, faithful from all over the world have sought comfort in the liturgies streamed over the Internet from the Holy Land. The Custody of the Holy Land transmitted, through the Christian Media Center in Jerusalem, ceremonies for Lent and the Holy Week from the places where the saving events of Christ’s Passion actually happened.
On Facebook, the posts in the past weeks reached over two million people, on Instagram almost three hundred thousand, while the contents posted on Twitter were seen almost 200,000 times.
Thanks to the work of the Christian Media Center, the special prayer by Jerusalem’s Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa from the shrine of Dominus Flevit on Palm Sunday, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and the Easter Sunday Mass from the Holy Sepulchre were streamed live, as were the traditional holy hour on the evening of Holy Thursday from Gethsemane; the Via Crucis and the traditional “Funeral of Jesus” on the evening of from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These latter two celebrations were presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Francesco Patton. His message of solidarity and Easter greetings were also posted online in various languages.
Hundreds of messages arrived on the Facebook page of the Custody of the Holy Land from Italy, the United States, France, Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, China, Poland and many other countries. The faithful looked at what was happening in the Holy Land with devotion and in many cases asked the Franciscans for a prayer for themselves and for the whole world. The intentions they offered to the friars of the Custody include situations of personal and family life and support for COVID-19 patients.
The Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land have always been dedicated to praying for the whole of humanity from the Holy Places in the name of the Church. The friars entrust to the Lord in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem all the requests that they receive every day from pilgrims and local Christians.
In this difficult period, the weekly rosary recited every Saturday during the candlelit procession in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth will be offered for the intentions of all those who write to the Custody of the Holy Land and the Franciscans. The prayer can be followed in live-streaming at 8:30 p.m. local time (GMT +3) every Saturday on the site of the Christian Media Center.