JERUSALEM - On Tuesday, May 31st, for the Feast of the Visitation, one of the main religious processions of the year was held in Jerusalem in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Attended by His Beatitude Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the celebration was an opportunity for the inhabitants and visitors of the Holy Land to pay homage to the Mother of God.
The Visitation celebrates the reunion of two pregnant women, Mary, the mother of the Savior, and her cousin, Saint Elizabeth, mother of Saint John the Baptist. In this very famous Gospel, even before the birth of Our Lord, the miracle of the Incarnation is manifested. This is why St Elizabeth's greeting to the Virgin immediately follows the one pronounced by the Angel Gabriel for the Annunciation in our beautiful prayer "Hail Mary".
In Jerusalem, this feast marks the end of the month of May, traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Yesterday at 5 pm, the local faithful and, for the first time in two years, pilgrims, were thus welcomed inside the church of St Savior for a Rosary prayer and a Holy Mass, attended by Patriarch Pizzaballa and Mgr William Shomali, General Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine.
After this celebration, the Patriarch led the procession for the closing of the month of Mary. This moment was eagerly awaited by the inhabitants of Jerusalem: all the streets were decorated with the flags of the Latin Patriarchate and the Custody. The Patriarch, holding an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was followed by the crowd of faithful carrying a statue of the Mother of God. The procession started at St. Savior and marked two stops; one in the courtyard of the College des Frères, and the other at the Latin Patriarchate, inside the co-cathedral. Afterward, people moved on to the streets of the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem before returning to St. Savior for the final blessing, appealing for the protection of the Mother of Christ on all the inhabitants of the city. The celebration ended with a parade of scouts, escorting the statue of the Virgin Mary in the old city of Jerusalem.