TABGHA - As every year, according to a recent but well-established tradition, on this second Saturday of November, the Church of the Multiplication of the loaves and fish in Tabgha hosted the feast celebrating this miracle at the site it took place.
Between Magdala and Capernaum, next to the Monastery of the Beatitudes, facing Lake Tiberias, the Church of the Multiplication of Tabgha is one of the oldest and most moving shrines in the Holy Land. Attesting to a very ancient veneration of this place dedicated to this miracle, the present church is built following the plan and on the very spot of a 4th century church.
For almost 25 years, the German Benedictines of Tabgha have hosted the Feast of the Miracle of the Multiplication of loaves and fish on the same date each year, following a decision taken during a pastoral synod in order to help local communities better venerate and inhabit the holy places.
This date is therefore not the feast of the Benedictine community, but a feast for all local Christians, open to all Churches, to commemorate this miracle in the very place where it took place.
In the midst of a large crowd, His Beatitude Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, accompanied by Bishop Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar Emeritus, presided over the celebration, in the presence of Abbot Bernhard Marie Alter, OSB, of Fr. Jonas, the Superior of the Community, and many priests and religious.
The ceremony was conducted mostly in Arabic, with some parts in English and German. The songs were led by the Little Choir of Jesh, and the liturgical service was provided by German volunteers from Beit Noah, an activity centre for children, including those with disabilities.
At the offertory, huge baskets of bread and two real fish were brought to the altar and distributed to the participants at the end of the mass, bringing to life this Gospel scene.
Photos by Katharina Saphir