We walked through the streets of Old Jerusalem, entered the church, and climbed the stairs together to Calvary. The Church was empty except for a few holy nuns praying in corners or a fw Franciscans and Greeks doing their morning prayers.
(We have since distanced ourselves from this bishop due to alleged moral failures of a serious nature.)
There are three altars on Calvary: 1) the Latin Altar at the spot Jesus was nailed to the cross, 2) the Latin altar marking the place where Mary stood at the foot of the cross, and 3) the Greek altar where the cross was placed in the ground. These three altars are only a few feet from each other.
We had Mass at the place where Mary stood looking up at her Son. On this altar is a beautiful and haunting statue of Mary with sorrow in her eyes and a sword piercing her heart. Her eyes are piercing your heart as you stand there. It was a Mass to remember as we shared Mary’s sorrow. But as the bishop said, “As I consecrate the Body and Blood of our Lord, we give him back to Mary alive!”
It was prophecied by Simeon in the Gospel of Luke that Mary’s heart (soul) would also be pierced. We share her sorrow at the cross but a moment later we were in the tomb sharing not only her grief at a Son buried, but her rejoicing with a Son risen.
This was a spectacular way to say Good-bye to Jerusalem as we head to Rome. We will miss Jerusalem, but we will, Lord willing, bring a nice group of pilgrims back in March.