A good group from this Parish will go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land next August. For them and for those who generously support Christians in the Holy Land here are some pics of Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.
It is true that in Bethlehem it is Christmas every day. Latin priests celebrating there have the privilege of praying the Mass of Christmas whichever day of the year it is.
However, the 25th day of December is kept with joy and solemnity.
The Patriarch arrives in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve and is received with all honours.
He celebrates Midnight Mass in the church of St Catherine while a few lucky priests celebrate Midnight Mass on the manger!
At around 1.30am the Patriarch takes the Infant of Bethlehem to the place of the Nativity. The Sacred Image is first placed on the star that marks the spot where Christ was born and a few minutes later it is placed in the manger where it is kept for the Octave. Masses then continue all night long.
Here are some pics from the Custodia.
|Awaiting the Patriarch|
|Make a joyful sound...|
|Bethlehem girls in traditional costume.|
|Father Christmas Jr on his unusual sleigh|
|Patriarch enters Bethlehem...|
|...and greets those present.|
|First visit is to the Blessed Sacrament|
|followed by a visit to the place of the Nativity|
|Meanwhile on the manger...|
|two low Masses|
|and moves to the Grotto|
|Bambino is placed on the star that marks the birth, on the star it says: Hic Christus Natus Est!|
|on the manger|