DEIR RAFAT – On Sunday, October 29th, 2023, H.B. Card. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, presided over the Solemn Mass for Our Lady Queen of Palestine and the Holy Land, main patroness of the diocese, at the Shrine of Our Lady. Several Bishops, and priests also concelebrated; In the presence of the Religious sisters, and the few faithful, who managed to come to the monastery amidst these difficult times.
Due to the current situation that is on-going in our beloved Holy Land, great number of faithful who yearly come from different parts of the Holy Land to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lady, in the Shrine of Deir Rafat, which was built in 1927, unfortunately, were not able to come. Yet they celebrated in their parishes and asked Our Lady to intercede for the people of this Holy Land and its peace.
In his homily, Mgr Pizzaballa, said: “Thanks to Our Lady, who loves to gather her children around her, we meet here today. As we consecrate again our beloved diocese and land to her care, we also entrust ourselves to God. Meaning to not worry and have full confidence and trust in His divine care and wisdom, especially in the current times we are living in, where hope seems hard to find. He also emphasized the importance of reading the Word of God in these hard times, especially the Gospels: Through one word, the incarnate Word, who is Life, came to be in the womb of Our Mother, the Virgin Mary, who proclaimed saying: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” He added: “This Word gave her life, so she could also give life to us. The common word we hear today in our world is of ‘control and pride’ meanwhile the Holy Passage indicates that The Word is a word for the ‘Humble and Meek,’ which is mentioned in this passage – “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land” (Mt. 5:5) - He ended by asking for the intercession of Our Lady: “May Our Mother, the Virgin Mary, comfort us and accompany us and help us submit to the Word of God, so that the seed of humility and trust grows in us.”
After Communion, Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar, recited the Act of Consecration reconsecrating the Holy Land to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking Our Lady for the peace and protection of her beloved homeland.
The traditional procession was also held in the monastery yard, chanting Marian hymns and prayers for the peace of our country.