The Town Where Jesus Lived: Filming “Mary” at Nazareth

nazareth video Nearly every biblical commentary I have read refers to Nazareth as a “backwater village,” a tiny and insignificant town. But, you wouldn’t say that about it today. Now it’s a sprawling community, and right at the center of it is the Basilica of the Annunciation, the very place where God became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Not only was Jesus conceived in Nazareth, he also spent most of his earthly there. Being in Nazareth gives you a sense of wonder, as you consider the significance of this once-insignificant village. He has exalted the humble indeed (see Lk. 1:52)!

The Town of NazarethHere’s a travel tip for you: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll surely get there. When we arrived in town one evening, we could hardly wait to look around. Dr. Edward Sri and I decided to go for a walk (without our guide) and see if we could locate the Basilica of the Annunciation.

It wasn’t a good idea.

It didn’t take us long to lose our way. The Basilica would have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, we had a great opportunity for prayer and fellowship while we sought Our Lady’s intercession as we found the way back to our hotel.

We had been planning this filming for months. We secured all of the necessary permits, scheduled the filming times, scouted the locations, but no amount of planning can prepare you for the unexpected. Because when we arrived at the Basilica, we were told that we could not film inside the Church. It would have been easy to be frustrated. But we knew we were in God’s hands. If he wanted this to work, it would. As we learn from the Annunciation,”nothing is impossible for God” (Lk. 1:37).

Catholic Church at NazarethSo I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Prior of the Basilica happened to be Italian. Nor is it a coincidence Dr. Sri speaks fluent Italian! After a short conversation with him, we were not only granted permission to film in the Church, but were even led behind a steel gate into the grotto where Mary’s house once stood.

There we were, standing in the very spot where God became man. Words cannot express what it was like. I was filled with awe as I stood there holding up the light for the shot, pondering in my mind how, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us … And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:14,16).

Filming at NazarethAnd as you ponder those words, take a moment to thank God for the graces he has given you. Thank him for becoming one of us, and giving himself to us in the Eucharist. Thank him for the blessings in your life. Thank him even for the crosses he has given you, knowing that “in everything God works for good with those who love him” (Rom. 8:28).

You can learn more about Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother here. Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

John Harden

Before joining Ascension Press, John served as the marketing assistant for Current USA, in Colorado Springs. John received his bachelors in theology from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and his masters in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. John is currently a deacon candidate for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey. He has served as an adjunct professor of Theology at Neumann University, in Aston, Pennsylvania, and is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. John, his wife, and their children live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

  • carmela

    I too cannot wait to start this walk with Mary. May Jesus Christ be praised for all the beautiful works you bring to us.

  • Lori w

    I can’t wait to participate in this. I hope our parish is able to offer this program. What a beautiful opportunity. Thank you for all you are doing at AscensionPress to bring our faith into a clearer understanding for Catholics and non Catholics alike.