The relics of Saint Thérèse departed from the Holy Land June 1 at 11 a.m. During 10 weeks the relics visited more than 40 cities in this land. Farewell prayers were recited at Tel Aviv airport.
After the solemn entrance of Saint Thérèse to Jerusalem, March 16th the relics were received in each village with much fervor. The pilgrimage was organized and followed by Fr. Abdo Abdo, OCD, parish priest of the Latin parish of Haifa.
Thérèse had long wanted to visit the Land of Jesus; but the call to enter Carmel was stronger. Her visit, this year, has realized her dream. On May 27 at the Carmelite Monastery in Haifa, Bishop Giacinto Boulous Marcuzzo, patriarchal Vicar for Israel, recalled: "this land is the homeland of Saint Thérèse’s biblical and Carmelite spirituality". Here, Saint Thérèse was at home. That's why that everywhere, thousands of Christians came to venerate her relics.
During two months and a half, in every visit, the Little Flower poured out generous gifts, signs and miracles in the hearts of many people. The Christians of the Holy land offered her the finest tributes. It is the mystery of the "communion of saints", in which the friends of heaven and Earth are God's people. Saint Thérèse attracts by her Evangelical simplicity and her abandonment to God with faith and love.
The relics visited churches, hospitals, schools, religious houses, pastoral associations as well as the seminarians of Beit Jala, who have Thérèse as their patron from 1929.
All Catholic and Christian rites were united: Latin, Melkites, Maronites, Orthodox. Without doubt, St. Thérèse attracted all, not only Christians but also people of other denominations. Orthodox, Christians, Muslims and Jews mixed without distinction.
The miracle of the confessions was continuous and in many churches, the priests heard confessions during all day and all night. Conversions! This is the bottom line, the true meaning and the most beautiful fruit of the pilgrimage of the relics of Saint Thérèse in the Holy land.
The only parish which was not visited by the relics was the parish of Gaza. Despite the authorization granted, the safety of the reliquary could not be guaranteed. No doubt that all Christians of the Holy land have prayed for this intention to the Carmelite of Lisieux: To give hope to the people of Gaza and more particularly to the faithful of the Latin Parish of the Holy Family. And even more widely, they have prayed that she can intercede before the Lord, so that He hears the cry of the victims of the conflict Israeli-Palestinian.
Thérèse came to spread seeds to build a “bridge of peace” in the words of Mgr. Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem. The Little Flower also came for the unity of the Christian Churches, to spread the love in families, encourage the purity and holiness of the young and less young.
The next step of Thérèse, patron saint of the missions, will be Madrid, on the occasion of the world youth day from 16 to 21 of August 2011.
by Christophe Lafontaine - summary of the article
Retrospective in photos