In Nazareth the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary started early with a mass held inside of the grotto of the annunciation, the place in where the Gospel passage of this feast was held.
Fr. Bruno Varriano (OFM), rector and guardian of the Basilica of the Annunciation, presided the mass and it was concelebrated by Fr. Jack Karam (OFM) who was celebrating 40 years of his perpetual vows in the Franciscan order, Fr. Evandro Lima (Canção Nova Community) who was celebrating the 4th anniversary of his Diaconate Ordination, and also Fr. Tarso Brasil, a priest member of the Shalom Convenant Community from Fortaleza, Brazil. Shalom Community also took part in the celebration with the music and its missionaries were participating along with members of other religious communities of Nazareth.
Futhermore, in the occasion, the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea renewed their vows inside of the grotto where Mary said “Yes” to God’s will.
In his homily Fr. Bruno said despite of the dogma’s definition happening in 1854, since the 11th century a feast in honor of Mary’s conception was already celebrated in England and in Normandy. He added that we could think that the Immaculate Conception definition distances us from Mary, but being immaculate doesn’t mean that her freedom was taken from her. Instead of being far away, “she is a travel companion” for each one of us.
“Mary is the example that it is possible to live and fulfill the [God’s] project; to be holy and immaculate in love, in the world without selfishness, without war, without destruction, in a Kingdom of justice and peace”, said Fr. Bruno.
Shalom Community in Nazareth
The Shalom Catholic Community mission in Nazareth was founded in 2006 at the request of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, in order to assist the Franciscan Order in keeping the order, guarding and receiving the pilgrims at the Sanctuary of the Annunciation. The Community is also responsible for the Pilgrims’ Office, the Liturgical Animation (music and liturgy) in the Shrine, as well as for welcoming the pilgrimage groups that visit and celebrate masses in the Shrine daily.
Written by: Augusto César
Revision: Amanda Beber
Photos: Augusto César and Darlene Lima (CN)