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Brant holy land pilgrimage june 2013 part one
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Brant holy land pilgrimage june 2013 part one


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  • 1. Holy Land Pilgrimage June 2013
  • 2. Cana  Travel to Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle at the request of His mother (John 2:1-11). We renewed our wedding vows in the Franciscan chapel.
  • 3.  Renewal of vows ;)
  • 4. Mt. Precipice  On the way to Nazareth, we stopped at Mt. Precipice which is believed to be the steep hill from which the townspeople wanted to throw Jesus down after he spoke at the synagogue. (Luke 4: 14-30).  At the top of this mountain, you can see a fantastic view of Nazareth to the North, Samaria, the Jordan valley, and Mount Tabor, as well as other sights in the distance. Every such site has a biblical story attached to it. Seeing these from the perspective of the top of Mt. Precipice offered a great way to appreciate the patterns of movement from North to South which would be done regularly during the Jewish holy days. The quickest way to get from Galilee to Jerusalem (about 100 miles) was via Samaria — and this fact is plainly visible from the top of the mountain — but this was seldom the route chosen because of hostilities between the Jewish and Samaritan people.
  • 5. Mt. Precipice
  • 6. Nazareth  The old town of Nazareth was located underneath the current site of the Church of the Annunciation. Nazareth, the site of Joseph and Mary’s home and the town where Jesus played as a child, learned a trade, and grew to manhood. We celebrated Mass in the St. Joseph Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.  Surrounding the church were a collection of mosaic paintings of Mary gathered from countries around the world.
  • 7.  For fun we had all the Mary’s and Joseph’s in our group stand together at the Church of Annunciation
  • 8. Peter’s Primacy  Peter’s Primacy – After His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples and told Peter to: ―feed my lambs; feed my sheep‖ (John 21:9)  There was a small chapel right near the shore where we prayed and sang and then we were invited to spend some time there at the shore, reflecting on the sacred place we were privileged to visit, touching the water or wading in it. There was real beauty to be experienced and savored, both in the place itself and the moments we had to be there and appreciate it.
  • 9. Capernaum  Capernaum – Where Jesus began His Galilean ministry. We saw the remains of the synagogue that Jesus taught in and the Apostle Peter’s home. Inside St. Peter Memorial Church which is constructed over the excavated ruins of Peter’s house, there is a glass floor that looks down onto the ruins.
  • 10.  The stone looking pots in this picture were surprising to us. In the Bible it refers to the large stone jars that Jesus used to turn water into wine. These large excavated stone pots are what the ―jars‖ actually looked like.
  • 11. Mount of Beatitudes  Mass was in a garden on the grounds of the Mount of the Beatitudes. Right before mass, we had the chance to tour through a chapel built in the 1960’s with mosaic artwork and unique architecture.
  • 12. Tabgha – Church of the Loaves and the Fishes  This church commemorates where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000.
  • 13.  At lunch we went to a nearby restaurant which kept with the theme of the loaves and fishes. It offered a full fish — deep- fried, Peter-style. Laurie wants everyone to know that this means every bit of the fish, including the tail and fins and eyeballs, bones, lips. etc. was deep-fried and served up on a plate. I opted for the filet instead. Laurie had chicken - no pun intended.
  • 14. Sea of Galilee  We went on a boat ride on the sea of Galilee, which recalled the various encounters of Our Lord with His disciples on and around the body of water. It gave us a sense of what it was like to be out on the sea for Jesus and the apostles in the first century.  The boat itself was a replica of one found in the 1980’s at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee and believed to be actually from the first century.
  • 15. The River Jordan  At the Jordan River we renewed our baptismal vows and had the opportunity to put our feet in the water. It was fun to see Father Brendan and Father Joe have a genuinely light- hearted and fun time with this.  The way it is set up is that there are successive amphitheaters that have gated sections where groups go to be baptized and watch the event. It was amusing to see people not in our group cutting in line and asking our priests to baptize them.
  • 16. Mount Tabor  Mt. Tabor was our last site in Galilee, the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James, and John. Jesus took his three top apostles up the mountain and his face appeared as bright as the sun and his clothes dazzling white together with Moses and Elijah. Our bus took us only part way up the mountain where we had to stop to take smaller vans to get to the top. (Luke 9:28-36)  At the top, there was a beautiful church where we had Mass. In the gospel story, Peter was so taken aback by what he saw, that he didn’t know what to say and blurted out something about building tents for each of them – Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. I was surprised to find out that the current church actually has a separate small chapel for Moses and one for Elijah, so in a sense Peter actually got what he asked for.
  • 17.  This is where we celebrated Mass. Definitely the most beautiful church I have ever been inside.
  • 18. Church of John the Baptist  Our first stop once in Jerusalem was at the Church of John the Baptist, which contains the site believed to be where he was born.
  • 19. Church of the Visitation  We then hiked up a steep, windy cobblestone path to stairs which led to the church of the Visitation where Mary met her cousin Elizabeth when she was six months pregnant. The words Elizabeth spoke to Mary are form the first part of our Catholic prayer known as the ―Hail Mary‖.
  • 20. Saint Vincent Ain Karem Home for Children with Special Needs  On the way back down the cobblestone path, we stopped at the Saint Vincent Ain Karem Home for Children with Special Needs. Run by the Sisters of Charity, this place was beyond what could be described in words, other than to say it is the single most vivid and clear place where we have experienced Christ’s work and presence on this trip. The Sister who greeted us and showed us the center was overflowing with the love and compassion of Christ in a way that came through immediately, before we even got up from our chairs to see the facility and the children themselves. I won’t attempt to describe the children. Their needs are basic and their plight is heavy. This was a deeply moving experience for both of us.
  • 21. Bethlehem  Today’s pilgrimage agenda brought us 8 miles south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The first place we visited was Shepherd’s Field, where it is believed the shepherd’s would likely have been the night Christ was born. The church was built over top of the cave where we celebrated Mass. We sang Christmas carols about the shepherd’s waiting. Afterwards, we entered the main chapel and sang the Alleluia and the acoustics were beyond beautiful!
  • 22. Church of the Nativity  In the afternoon we went to the Church of the Nativity. This is the oldest church in the Holy Land and dates back to 610 AD. You can still see the faint markings of paintings of the Saints on each of the pillars which date back to 1100 AD. This holy place is shared by three denominations: the Greek Orthodox Church has control of the main altar; the Roman Catholic Church has control of the birth place and manger; the Armenian Church has control over a worship space when you leave the birth place. The experience was unbelievable. We entered through a stone pathway and an extremely small doorway which surprisingly opened up into the large main area of the Greek Church. Tons of ornamental lanterns hung from the ceilings, and there was a huge decorated altar.
  • 23. Church of the Nativity (Continued)  We stood in line to enter a cave below the altar. We traveled down a number of marble steps and there beneath the altar was the star which revealed to the earth where Jesus was born. The feeling was indescribable. Tom and I held hands and knelt together to touch this holy place. Across from this area, and down a few steps was the manger which was fully lit with candles. Our whole parish waited until everyone had the same opportunity. Then, together we prayed and sang Silent Night. It was extremely moving.
  • 24.  The manger where He layed
  • 25. Chapel of St. Joseph and Chapel of St. Jerome  Located inside the Church of the Nativity are two chapels for St. Joseph and St. Jerome. St. Jerome is known to be the person who translated the Bible from Ariamaic and Greek to Latin.
  • 26. Upper Room  We entered the walls of Jerusalem and walked through the Zion Gate. The inner city is a maze of high walls and buildings. We came upon a small metal door which was opened by a Friar and were invited to celebrate Mass at the church where the Upper Room was located. The Upper Room was not only the place of the Last Super but also the appearance of Jesus after the Resurrection to the Apostles, including Tom’s favorite, doubting Thomas. The Upper Room also was where the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles at Pentecost. This was a very moving Mass and at the end of the service our Priests, Father Brendan and Father Joe renewed their priestly vows.
  • 27. Continued in Part Two