NAZARETH – On December 8, 2016, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Door of the Basilica of the Annunciation was closed. Bishop Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Israel, presided at the Pontifical Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was followed by the closing rite of the Holy Door
It was in thanksgiving that the Latin Patriarchal Vicariate for Israel gathered to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and to thank the Lord for all the benefits of the Jubilee of Mercy.
“This time of mercy has helped us to discover the beautiful and youthful face of the Church: welcoming, free, poor, faithful and missionary”. Bishop Marcuzzo borrowed the words that Pope Francis used when closing the door of St. Peter’s Basilica to summarize this time of grace granted to the universal Church. The jubilee in its biblical sense (Leviticus 25), the bishop recalled, is a time of rest and reflection for a better reprise, it was indeed what all were invited to: to rest and pray and then to begin again a new time, as new persons. Passing the Holy Door was a way offered by the Church to express the will to live this passage. And until the last moment, many faithful in Nazareth wished to pass through the holy door.
This grace of rebirth offered by the year of Mercy echoes perfectly the dogma of the Immaculate Conception that Msgr. Marcuzzo expressed in his homily: “The Immaculate is the dawn of the realization of the history of salvation”.
After the Mass, celebrated in the upper part of the Basilica, the approximately four hundred lay faithful and religious present followed the bishop and the priests in a procession to the Holy Door which was in the Basilica’s lower part and that houses the site of the Annunciation. There, in front of the Holy Door after the prayer of the celebrant, the whole assembly turned to the Lord, singing the Advent antiphon “O Key of David”: God is the master of everything, he alone opens and closes doors and can open doors barred by men. For the faithful, called to open their hearts, a new path of trust opens, and they can count on the Lord to break the strongholds of hatred or indifference.