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TABGHA – On Saturday, November 11, 2017, and on the occasion of the feast of Multiplication of Loaves and Fish, H.E. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, presided over a Mass in the Church of Multiplication in Tabgha in Galilee.

The solemn Mass, which was organized by the Benedictine community, was concelebrated by Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Fr. Joseph Sweiss, and in the presence of a number of Maronite and Melkite priests, religious men and women, among them were the Benedictine Sisters of the Eucharistic King.

In his homily, Bishop Marcuzzo emphasised on the Messianic, ecclesiastical and the prophetic meanings behind the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, which is the only miracle that is mentioned in all of the Gospels.

The Patriarchal Vicar also spoke of the message of His holiness Pope Francis for the First World Day of the Poor entitled “Let us love, not with words but with deeds”, which will be observed for the first time on November 19, 2017. His holiness asked the bishops, and all priests, deacons, lay people and the institutions “to help make this World Day of the Poor a tradition that concretely contributes to evangelization in today’s world” on Sunday, November 19th or earlier during the week.

The mass was followed by a fraternal gathering in the garden of Benedictine fathers’ garden, next to the water fed by the seven famous springs of Tabgha, where 500 loaves of bread were distributed to the faithful.

The church of Tabgha is located on the ruins of a 4th century church and a 5th century basilica, and is home to the oldest figurative mosaics of Christian art found in the Holy Land to this time. Among them is the famous mosaic of loaves and fish at the foot of the altar. Bread and fish are very ancient symbols of Christians of the early Church, who were the first witnesses of faith on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The mosaic also represents only four loaves; the fifth is the heavenly bread of the Eucharist, “the Living Bread, that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51), which nourishes the body and soul of the believers.

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