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Pilgrims and clergy participate in a traditional procession with a statue of Our Lady following a Mass in celebration of the feast day of Our Lady, Queen of Palestine and the Holy Land at the Deir Rafat shrine in central Israel on Sunday (CNA/Marinella Bandini)

On the feast day of Our Lady, Queen of Palestine and the Holy Land, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has reconsecrated the local Church and land to her. Source: National Catholic Register.

For the first time since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7, the Catholic Church of the Holy Land gathered around patriarch Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa on October 29 for a Mass at the shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother in Deir Rafat in central Israel.

The attendance was relatively small – just a few hundred people – compared with the thousands of faithful who usually join the celebration from all the communities scattered throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories. However, the circumstances prevented a large gathering.

The shrine of Deir Rafat is located halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in one of the most characteristic regions of ancient Palestine on the border of biblical Philistine, the scene of Samson’s famous exploits. 

The shrine was built beginning in 1925 and was inaugurated on March 21, 1928, by the then-patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr Luigi Barlassina (1920–1947). Above the shrine stands a large bronze statue of Our Lady with her right hand extended over Palestine, her homeland, as a sign of protection.

“Today, we consecrate once again our Church, our diocese, our land to Our Lady, Queen of Palestine,” Cardinal Pizzaballa said in his homily. 

“We have done this several times in moments of need for our community, and this is one of the most difficult in our recent history. It is an act of entrustment and therefore of trust. In this moment when everything seems to be overwhelming us, we need to entrust and deliver to God and the Virgin Mary all that we hold in our hearts.” 


Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Reconsecrates Holy Land to Our Lady, Queen of Palestine (Marinella Bandini, CNA via National Catholic Register)