Several years ago we received a call on our cell phone from a bishop in Jerusalem. He invited us to celebrate a Mass with him on Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
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 few Franciscans and Greeks doing their morning prayers.
Mary sm.jpg
  • Save
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.
It was a spectacular way to say Good-bye to Jerusalem as we headed to Rome. Glad to are blessed to visit these magnificent places many times each year and share them with our pilgrims. If you’d like to join us, visit