Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, May 1, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Nation and World
Finding strength in prayer, despite throngs at Church of Holy Sepulcher
Catholic News Service photo
Christian pilgrims touch the Stone of Unction, which commemorates the anointing of Jesus before his burial, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem March 29. Although the stone's connection to Christ's burial is improbable, that does not deter believers from devotion. The stone has been smoothed by centuries of veneration.
Catholic News Service photo
Christian pilgrims touch the Stone of Unction, which commemorates the anointing of Jesus before his burial, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem March 29. Although the stone's connection to Christ's burial is improbable, that does not deter believers from devotion. The stone has been smoothed by centuries of veneration.
Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM — As Easter approaches, it can be a daunting task to find a quiet moment of contemplation at any of Jerusalem's holy sites, but it is especially so at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Throngs of pilgrim groups and tourists with cameras pack the church, posing for photos at the spots where Jesus was crucified or laid in the tomb. Some place souvenirs on the sacred sites for a blessing.

But at the Stone of Unction, which commemorates the anointing of Jesus before burial, some faithful find the noise from other visitors fades away. The smell of rose water with which the stone is periodically bathed permeates the immediate vicinity.

Here is a place and a moment when they can feel the strength of prayer.

Teame Tesfamichael, 24, a Catholic refugee from Eritrea, was oblivious to the flashing of camera lights and the jostling of other pilgrims who had come to touch the stone. At one corner of the stone he slowly knelt, bending from the waist down to place his forehead reverently on the stone. His lips moved in silent prayer as his hands clasped the stone's edge. He kissed the stone, then again placed his forehead against it. He did this several times. And as others came and went, snapping their pictures and placing their souvenirs on the rock, Tesfamichael remained in prayer.

"I have no words to express what it means for me to pray here," he said after he finished praying. "More than anything, I feel the one who died here for me. I feel humble to be here ... I am so simple," he said softly.

Several years ago, Tesfamichael fled Eritrea, crossing the Sahara Desert to Libya. There, he tried unsuccessfully to reach Europe before crossing back to Egypt and finally reaching Israel via the Sinai Desert.

He has lived in Jerusalem for three years and said he comes to this spot often to give himself strength.

"I never thought I would be here in Jerusalem, but God gave me this," Tesfamichael said. "When I come here I get my mind relaxed when things are difficult. He died for me and I want to cry here like one of his disciples."

A contemplative Catholic nun from Belgium who lives in a Jerusalem cloistered community said she comes to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher once a year to be "closer physically to the mystery which happened here."

"It is to touch my faith," said the nun, who asked not to be identified, as she gazed on the Stone of Unction.

"It is not only a spiritual thing but also a physical thing, and I imagine myself one of the people there," she said. "For me this is the mystery. Christ was laid down here and it is his humanity. Every year my faith is renewed with new details."

Though this rectangular slab of stone has been smoothed by centuries of prayer and devotion, the actual stone itself dates only to 1810, said Dominican Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, a New Testament scholar at the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem. He said the tradition of the stone first appeared in the 12th century.

Esperanza Qumsieh, 38, is able to visit the church and the stone twice a year, at Easter and Christmas. As a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, West Bank, she receives an Israeli travel permit to cross into Jerusalem via the checkpoint 15 minutes away.

She knelt by the stone and, bending her head, she closed her eyes and prayed. Next to her a tour guide marched in with his group of pilgrims, and some Russian women with their hair covered by kerchiefs jostled to get a place next to the stone.

"When I come here I am happy and peaceful," said Qumsieh, who is Greek Orthodox. "I feel something in my heart. I have to stay here and pray."

One tour guide coached an Indonesian pilgrim how to put the newly purchased boxes of crucifixes atop the stone. The guide took a large wooden cross out of one of the boxes and placed it on top, then took the pilgrim's camera to snap a photo of him.

A Russian mother and her two young children knelt and placed their foreheads to the stone. The mother urged the children to place their crucifixes on the stone and took them out of their packing when the children failed to do so.

"If you want to pray, you pray also in such situations, even in such commotion," said Paolo Floris, 61, who was on his 15th pilgrimage to the Holy Land from Rome with his wife, Marina, and their Neocatechumenal Way pilgrimage group.

Amid the din of visitors, Primitivo A. Cruz, 62, a member of St. Mary Parish in Bordentown, N.J., knelt and placed his hand upon the stone, closing his eyes. He said later that he came with his friend, Reynaldo Deguzman, 65, who recently suffered a stroke that affected his speech.

Cruz, who originally is from the Philippines, said he expected to encounter such crowds as Easter approached.

"When I pray, I tune them out. Also, in the Philippines we have miraculous places with a lot of people," he said. "I came to celebrate the land and help my friend strengthen his faith in Jesus. He is looking for healing. I know Jesus is always helping me."

Deep in prayer, Shizuko Pieta Hanson, 64, knelt before the stone, head bent and eyes closed. She prayed for her sisters who are stuck in poverty and for God to help her to be selfless and better serve others, she said later.

Originally from Japan and now a member of the Holy Spirit Parish in Annandale, Va., Hanson said she converted to Catholicism a decade ago. With tears in her eyes, she said she was very grateful to God for bringing her to this spot.

"He took all of our sins and, with that, he gave us all a second chance. It is love," she said. "As I go home I will pray and meditate quietly on the experience. I will take strength from this. Faith is not something of the past; the belief is here and now and we have to act on it, so that is what I am praying for."

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved