The Gift of Another Day!March 14, 2017 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C
Thanks to the snowstorm in Newark, NJ, our flight was canceled. We had one more day to walk around in the Old City and meet some new friends.
Our very last stop on the pilgrimage was at the Church of Saint Anne's, the home of Jesus' grandparents, Anne and Joachim. It is also home to the Pool of Bethesda. It was there that Jesus healed the crippled man. John 5:1-18. We then took a stroll around the Old City to get back to our hotel.
Wow, we saved the best for last. The high point of this pilgrimage was honoring the Passion of Christ and walking the Via Dolorosa, the way of Sorrows, which is the route Jesus walked on his way to Calvary. The last 5 stations of the 14 stations are in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. We celebrated Mass in front of Jesus' tomb and then were able to go into it and touch the stone on which he was laid upon. Nearby, was Calvary. We climbed up a steep hill, Golgotha rock, and touched the top where Jesus suffered and died for us.Read more
We started our morning in Bethany which was the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Here we celebrated Mass in a medieval chapel next to the church of Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. After Mass, we headed to the Jordan River where we renewed our Baptismal promises. Next, we headed down to the Jordan Valley to Qumran. This town is made up of 2000-year-old ruins from the days of the second temple, and also the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered. After visiting the first cave where the first Scrolls were found, we headed down the valley to the Dead Sea. It is the lowest place on earth. 1,378 feet below sea level to be exact! We enjoyed taking mud baths and floating in the saltiest water in the world. We ended our day with a walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I feared no evil!Read more
We ended our day yesterday with visiting three moving sites. We were able to visit the Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this church is where Mary, the mother of Jesus, "fell asleep". Nearby we went to visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper, and where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection. Finally, we walked down the street to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. This church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter's denial of Christ, Peter's repentance, and Jesus' forgiveness of Peter.Read more
The West Wall is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of Muslim control of the Temple Mount. Known in recent centuries as the “Wailing Wall,” this was built by Herod the Great as the retaining wall of the Temple Mount complex. The plaza was created as an area for prayer when Israel captured the Old City. It was a very different vibe to have our group come in today and go through security in a separate men and women line. When we went to pray and touch the wall it was also a separate area. The men were on the left side and the women were on the right. It was eye-opening experience.Read more
I was really looking forward to visiting this site and of course it didn't disappoint! Many events took place during the Passion Week. The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus brought His disciples to pray the night before He was arrested, lies at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. There we all gathered and I led prayer with the scripture reading Mark 14:32-42.Read more
Today we started off at The Mount of Olives. It is a sacred place for both Jews and Christians. There were several churches located in this sacred place that we attended. We first went to the Paternoster Church, which was named after the prayer that Jesus taught us, the Our Father. Also, there laid a cave where Jesus sat and taught the Our Father to his disciples. We then made our way down the hillside to the Church of Dominus Flevit, meaning "Our Lord weeping". This was the location that Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We were able to celebrate the Mass inside the church which overlooks the city. Then, we stopped at the Church of All Nations, built over the "Rock of Agony". This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of his arrest.Read more