The presence of a Capuchin friary in Jerusalem was initiated in the early 1930’s in response to an invitation from the the Latin Patriarch, Archbishop Luigi Barlassina. The fact that our friars “went up to Jerusalem” and moved into the Talbiye neighborhood southwest of the Old City is noted explicitly at the end of a letter sent to the whole Order at Easter of 1933 by the Minister General, Father Vigilio da Valstagna. The original goals which motivated acceptance of this missions were multiple:
- performing pastoral work among the several thousand Christians then residing in the vicinity. The original plans called for the construction of a church, but the outbreak of the Second World War and other subsequent challenges delayed the realization of this hope for approximately eight decades
- establishing a residence for younger confreres from the Levant who would receive their initial formation in the City of David
- providing hospitality and lodging for Capuchin friars coming to Jerusalem from various geographical areas of the Order in connection with pilgrimages to biblical sites in the Holy Land.
I am the Light of the World
1The house, launched in September 2010, rises in the new part of Jerusalem, just by the western walls, in a residential neighborhood of new Jerusalem (Talbiya), with an open view of the western walls of the Old City, with the Abbey of the Dormition of Mary on Mt. Zion right in front of the second floor, the bell tower of the Russian church on the Mount of Olives in the background, and the mountains of Jordan on the horizon. The property also includes a beautiful and spacious garden with cliffs planted with olives. One can reach the Holy Sepulchre by foot in twenty minutes (“The distance of a rosary,” says Fr. Pasquale Rota) by way of the municipal gardens, entering the Old City by the Jaffa Gate. The House has single and double rooms, all with a bathroom, and can welcome up to twenty-five people.
2The Community offers a fraternal welcome, participation in prayer and sharing of meals and some service in the house. The friars of the Community are available to guests, friars and pilgrims, for various needs.
3It’s possible to celebrate Mass privately, given a reservation, at the Holy Sepulchre/Calvary, and at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, etc.
4The friars of the Community are available for personalized accompaniment to the Holy Places in Jerusalem and nearby (Bethlehem, Ein Karem, Emmaus, Jericho, etc.), according to the wishes and time that guests have available. It is possible to organize, on request, a trip of one or more days to Galilee (Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Tabgha, Capernaum, Magdala, etc.) (For trips by car for groups of more than six people, you will have to hire a bus and a driver.)
5Gatherings for study (personalized by topic and time available) on Sacred Scripture/archaeology, are possible with requests made ahead of time.
6There are many opportunities to participate in the daily and festive liturgies according the calendar and the various events promoted by the Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land, and by the individual religious communities present in Jerusalem.
7There are possibilities to visit Christian social services (Caritas Baby Hospital, the Crèche of Bethlehem, etc.)