Activity in Nazareth (Israel)
First of all Beit Assalam is a house of formation.
The apostolate of the Brothers outdoor is very much limited as the Brothers are preparing themselves for their vows for life. Besides the Nazareth community is a floating one as each year the group will be new. There is also the language barrier. So the Brothers try to do whatever they can according to their situation.
The “activities” of the Tertianship are prayer and contemplation, study, and service to the poor and to one another.
Once a week the Brothers of Beit Assalam visit the patients of two different hospitals.
During the week they visit many people who cannot get out to attend church services due to poor health and or age. The Brothers administer the Sacrament to them.
Each Sunday our Brothers also assist the priests at our parish church, the Basilica of the Annunciation, and the Greek Catholic church in distributing communion.
Most Tuesday evenings the Brothers have the opportunity of attending the international rosary service at Basilica of the Annunciation. On Thursday evenings there is the international Adoration and Benediction service at the Basilica of the Annunciation. Each Saturday evening there is a Rosary procession service at the Basilica of the Annunciation.
Of course these are not the only activities of the Beit Assalam community. There are many projects to be completed at the Tertianship site itself, classes to attend, papers to be written, and people to be served.
- The Feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta 5th September. Proceeded by the Triduum of continuous Eucharistic Adoration.
- Final Profession of the Brothers.
- Feast of our Society: last Thursday of October.
Give a shepherd’s care to the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, as God wants; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Do not lord it over the group which is in your charge, but be an example for the flock. When the shepherd appears, you will be given the unfading crown of glory.
Likewise, younger brethren, be subject to the elders. Humility towards one another must be the garment you all wear constantly, because God opposes the proud but accords his favour to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the power of God now, so that he may raise you up in due time; unload all your burdens on to him, since he is concerned about you. Keep sober and alert, because you enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
(1 Pet. 5:2-5)
Beit Assalam (Arabic) Beit Shalom (Hebrew) – House of Peace – is the most recent community of the Missionaries of Charity, which is the Formation House for the Tertians.
A short history
On the 26 Oct. 2009 Fr. Sebastian M.C., Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity-Contemplative, and Br. Ricardo M.C. were received in audience by His Beatitude Fouad Twal. The purpose of the visit was that of establishing a small community in the Holy Land. H.B. Fouad Twal suggested that we start in Nazareth and that we meet His Excellency Msgr. G. Boulos Marcuzzo, the auxiliary Bishop of Nazareth.
On the 7th of April 2010, a contract between the two parties, the Missionaries of Charity-Contemplative and the Totry family, the owner of the property, was made in order to rent the house on a monthly basis until we bought the house. On 19th April 2010, Br. Jean Marie M.C. left Deepashram Community, in India, appointed Superior of the Nazareth Community, in Israel.
On the 10th June 2010, there was the blessing of Beit Assa1am Community, in Nazareth. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by H.E. Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo in the presence of Fr. Sebastian M.C., the Superior General, and the members of Beit Assalam community; Br. Ricardo M.C., Br. Nicholas M.C. and Br. Jean Marie M.C. Present at the event were our M.C. Sisters from the four communities of Gaza, Nablus, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Most of the religious communities of Nazareth were represented, along with our benefactors, volunteers, friends and neighbours.
Exactly at the time of the consecration, as the bread became the Body of Christ, the solemn ringing of the bell took place in the Basilica of the Annunciation. For us it was very symbolic: it was a confirmation that the Incarnation continues to take place through the Eucharist and at the same time it was a sign of the acceptance of our little community of Beit Assalam by our Lady of Nazareth. We therefore hope and pray that like the Holy Family of Nazareth, our community, too, may become a school of Charity, of warm welcome and generous hospitality, of ardent prayer and gentle silence and prolonged adoration.
On the 8th September 2010 Brothers Nicholas M.C. and Vimal John M.C. entered the Tertianship.
On the eve of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on Wednesday 7th September 2011, at the Grotto of the Annunciation of our Lord in Nazareth, Bro. Nicholas Gyaakye M.C. and Bro. Vimal John Chand M.C. made their perpetual profession in the presence of Bro. Stephen M.C. and Bro. Jean Marie M.C., and in the hands of Fr. Sebastian M.C., the Superior General, who received the vows in the name of the Church and for the community of the Missionaries of Charity-Contemplative.
His Excellency Most Rev. Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel, was the main celebrant. With him there were thirteen other priest concelebrants. Besides the priest concelebrants there were very many consecrated men and women religious, particularly the M.C. Sisters from their four communities in Israel.
His Excellency spoke of the importance of the place where the Brothers made their vows, the Grotto of the Annunciation of our Lord, where the Virgin of Nazareth said her unconditional ‘Yes’: “Let it be done to me as you say”. Our Lady of Nazareth is very unique and special. It is here she accepted God’s will without reservations, in unconditional surrender and trust. The Nazareth spirituality consists then in doing God’s will, as it was done by Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The Holy Family is our patronal feast. From the very beginning the persons of the Holy Family have been not only our patrons but more so our example, and we celebrate our Society feast every year, according to our Constitutions, on the last Thursday of October. Every year in October we have the novena and Litany of the Holy Family for nine days, and then the prayer of consecration to the Holy Family.
The Holy Family wants our Contemplative Branch to become another Nazareth and want all the members to have the Nazareth spirit and spirituality. In so many of her letters to the Missionary Brothers of Charity-Contemplative Blessed Teresa of Kolkata wrote: “I am sure you will be happy and willing to make any sacrifice to make your Society another Nazareth, something beautiful for God” (from Bl. Teresa’s letter to Fr. Sebastian M.C., New York, 16th June 1979). She writes in another letter from Kolkata on 14th November 1984: “My dearest Brothers, Fr. Sebastian M.C. and all in Rome …Do not be afraid nor give into thoughts of fear. Jesus had to spend 30 years in the silence of Nazareth before he could fulfil the reason for which he had come to redeem the world”.
Beyond doubt our Society and all its members is the sole possession of the Holy Family. The first Pope, after St. Peter the Apostle, to set foot in the Holy Land was the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI of happy memory. During his discourse in Nazareth, on Sunday, 5th January 1964, Pope Paul VI said: “”Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand His Gospel. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of His Gospel”.
Nazareth is the home and school of the Contemplatives as it teaches us the importance of profound and positive silence. “If only we could once again appreciate its great value. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and in quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only by God” (Pope Paul VI).
Let us once again return to Pope Paul VI’s words of wisdom, namely: “How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospels, for that education is never finished” (Nazareth, 5th January 1964).
The divine indwelling of Jesus in the home of Nazareth made the town unique and unprecedented. The life of Mary and Joseph could not anymore be the same. Their lives became inseparable from the life of Jesus. They lived for and with Jesus. They loved Jesus. Jesus loved them equally, if not more, because Jesus saw that his Mother and foster father had the very same desire and ambition, namely to do the will of God, cost what it may…die if necessary…but the will of God was their norm of life. They wanted whatever God wanted without counting the cost. Jesus’ love was equal to his respect and obedience to them (cf. Lk 2: 51-52) because in them he was obeying his Father. “I came to do the will of my Father who sent me”; “He went down with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them” (Lk 2: 51).
Let us be students and disciples of the Nazareth school of humility and charity, perfect love of God and one’s neighbour, of forgiveness and mutual acceptance, of self-denial and sacrifices, of perfect acceptance of the will of God, of the virtues of faith, hope and charity, prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance; of infinite and intense thirst for the salvation of souls…