The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth was built on the site which many people believe is the house of St Mary and where the Angel Gabriel visited her.

            Every time we visit the basilica, our Course Director at the College, invites the pilgrims to carefully look at an inscription on the altar placed in the house. It reads: ‘Verbum caro hic factum est’. Here, the Word was made flesh.

            In Bethlehem, we visit the grotto where tradition says Jesus was born. In this place, now in the basilica, pilgrims have come since at least the fourth century to commemorate the exchange between God’s messenger, the Angel Gabriel, and the Theotokos, the God-bearer, Mary, which results in the incarnation.

            Many centuries and several church buildings later, the present basilica was dedicated in 1964. Its lower level is rather dim, silent, and focuses the attention on the house, also referred to as a grotto. Some compare it to a womb. It is a place of origin.

            As our world is forced to slow down dramatically, as the streets around us become silent, may we trust in God’s silent work within us and have faith in the presence of God, hic (here) and everywhere.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;

Blessed art thou among women,

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God,

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.