My fellow pilgrims and I have returned from our journey to the Holy Land. It was a remarkable experience in so many ways. More than 60 pilgrims, including four priests from the Diocese of Columbus, traveled throughout the holy sites we hear about in our Scriptures every day. This was my fourth time in the Holy Land. Every visit brings to light new things and allows for a deeper understanding of the Gospel. Some call the Holy Land “the Fifth Gospel” because the land itself speaks of the relationship between God and His people.
On our journey, we also met a priest from the Diocese of Cleveland who had a group of pilgrims similar in size to ours. We kept encountering them throughout the visit. Many also joined us in spirit through Facebook. Since our bus had WiFi, I was able to upload a glimpse of each site right after our stop. Masses were shared by the priests, each of us having a couple of turns. The pilgrims reported that this added a special richness to the experience.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to go to the Holy Land, you may want to add this to your “bucket list.” It will change how you understand some things about the Scriptures and the world. Our group was one that had many who were using canes or walking sticks and who needed to go slowly. This was not always easy due to the press of the crowd, but we managed to work it out together.
Be sure that you were with me along the whole pilgrimage. I carried a printout of our Parish and our School Rosters to all the holy places we visited and kept you in my prayers and Masses.
Soon we will begin a journey through a new Liturgical Year. Advent will begin Sunday, December 1. Let us journey well as we seek to open our hearts to the Lord Who is born for us at Christmas.