ABU GHOSH – Saturday, June 23 was a joyous occasion for everyone at the Saxum Visitor Center. For the first time, the Mass of the feast St. Josemaria Escriva (officially celebrated June 26), the founder of Opus Dei, was celebrated in the chapel of the Visitor Center.
The chapel was filled with families from various neighborhoods of Jerusalem, as well as several pilgrims. In the homily, the celebrant Msgr. Joaquin Paniello (vicar of Opus Dei in the Holy Land) commented that both St. John the Baptist and St. Josemaria knew how to look for God in their lives, though in different times and circumstances. He illustrated the point with a story about an American tennis player who, in a tense match with Rafael Nadal, surprised everyone by allowing Nadal to redo his serve after someone in the crowd distracted him. Afterwards, when asked why, he replied that that it was only consistent with the behavior of a Christian and a gentleman. Msgr. Paniello commented that St. Josemaria reminds us that God calls all of us, like this tennis player, to live our Christian faith in our daily life by doing our professional work as best as we can, and by treating others well.
Before and after the Mass, tours were given of the Saxum Visitor Center, giving many of the local families an opportunity to enjoy this new resource about the Holy Places. After the Mass, many people stayed to chat and meet new acquaintances, enjoying the views of the sunset from Saxum.
Masses were also celebrated in honor of St. Josemaria in the Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth, and in the Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem.