Thousands of Catholics Celebrate Mass on International Day of Faith at Mount Precipice

On Sunday, November 17, 2013, the International Day of Faith celebrations opened on Mount Precipice in Nazareth. Thefestive mass, attended by thousands of Catholic faithful from the Holy Land, the region and around the world, was led by His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal. Also in attendance were His Beatiitude Archbishop Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem for Latins and His Excellency, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel.

During the Mass, a letter from His Excellency Pope Francis was read: "The history of our faith finds its origins in the very land where you celebrate. Before we can understand our own personal history of faith and our need for God's mercy, we must all turn to that place and time when Jesus himself walked among us."

Pope Benedict XVI opened the Year of Faith, as an opportunity for all Catholics to rediscover a journey of faith, with a declaration in Rome in October 2012. The event at Mount Precipice included an artistic program that featured choirs from Catholic communities around the world, followed by celebration of the Eucharist. Food and souvenir booths were set up near the site and in the center of Nazareth.

As part of the event, an icon that depicts St. Peter and Jesus in the Galilee was consecrated by a Franciscan monk from the Holy Land. The icon will be sent to the Vatican, where it will be displayed as part of the concluding celebrations for the Year of Faith that will take place next week.

In his address during the Mass, the Latin Patriarch thanked "all those who came from the region and around the world to participate in these cherished moments in the Holy Land."