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Ain Karem: Prayerful Spot...

The village of Ain Karem (directly west of Jerusalem) has two Catholic churches: one commemorating the famous canticle of Mary (Lk 1:46-55, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord . . .”) and the other the canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1:68-79, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel . . .”). Outside these churches, ceramic plaques provide the text of these prayers in many languages (over 50 for Mary’s canticle).

The Church of the Visitation is at the edge of the city and contains an upper church and crypt built after World War II on the site of earlier Byzantine and Crusader churches. In the 14th century, this shrine was under the care of Armenian monks, but the Friars Minor have been there since 1679. Visitors to can find photos, the floor plan, pilgrim accounts over the centuries, and other information via the “Sanctuaries” and “Church of the Visitation” links. May 31 is the feast of the Visitation.

The Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist is in the city and is built over the reputed site where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived and where John grew up. A Crusader church built there in the 12th century was replaced six centuries later. The Friars Minor arrived in the 17th century. The birth of St. John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24.

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."