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Lent in the Holy Land


All around the world, the forty days of Lent are filled with different ways to prepare for Easter, and the actual place where the events of Holy Week took place is no exception.

Here, the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land organize various Lenten pilgrimages to the Holy Places. These pilgrimages consist of a solemn Mass in one of the Holy Places where Jesus was before his death, preceded by the praying of the Vespers with songs led by the Franciscan choir.

The first Mass was in Dominus Flevit, the church which commemorates when our Lord wept over Jerusalem. The second stage of this pilgrimage took place in the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemane (also known as the Church of All Nations). There, Fr. Luigi Epicoco, who preached all the homilies of the pilgrimage, spoke of the importance of keeping our friends close during difficult moments just as Jesus did when he took the apostles closest to him to pray with him in the Garden.

One week later, the third stage was in the Church of Flagellation,  next to the First Station of the Way of the Cross, where Fr. Epicoco spoke about offering up human pain. This traditional pilgrimage has its fourth stage with two masses in Bethany, the town of Martha, Mary and Lazarus: one was in Lazarus’s tomb and the second one in the Church.

one was in Lazarus’ tomb and the second one in the Church. After this, the assembly processed towards the Shrine of the Ascension and to the Pater Noster Church on the Mount of Olives. These Lenten Pilgrimages will end with a solemn commemoration of the Way of the Cross.

Every Sunday of Lent, a solemn Mass is celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre with a procession and singing of the Vespers. Every Thursday, a Holy Hour is held in Gethsemane.

Check out pictures of the Masses in Gethsemane, the Church of the Flagellation, and Bethany below.

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