BETHLEHEM – The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was celebrated in a special way by the faithful of Bethlehem on Friday June 2, 2017, with a Holy Mass at the Salesian Church presided byArchbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, followed by a procession in the old city of Bethlehem.
Mass was presided by Archbishop Pizzaballa, and concelebrated by Fr. Jamal Khader, Rector of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala and Fr. Rami Asakriyeh, parish priest of Bethlehem. Also presentwere several priests and religious men and women, seminarians and deacons of the Seminary and the new mayor of Bethlehem Mr. Anton Salman, and a crowd of parishioners.
In his homily, Fr. Jamal spoke about the love that God and Jesus have for us. “The love of Jesus manifested on the Cross is always renewed through the Holy Mass and the Eucharist. Mass is a celebration of the love of God and Jesus for us; Jesus who sacrificed himself on the Cross for our sake. That is the essence of the feast of Sacred Heart of Jesus”.
Fr. Jamal also encouraged the faithful to emulate the love of Jesus, to stay away from conditional and selective human charity. “If we seek God’s love, we have to love unconditionally. We ought to take the initiative through our love, which includes everyone and teaches us sacrifice, without expecting anything in return because Jesus loved us and sacrificed himself for our sake’.
At the conclusion of Mass, the faithful participated in the traditional procession presided by Archbishop Pizzaballa, who carried the Blessed Sacrament, preceded by priests, religious men and women and scouts. The faithful sang different hymns along the old streets of Bethlehem during the procession to the Nativity Square, where adoration prayer took place. The procession then returned to the Salesian Church for the final benediction.