Over 40 pilgrims were blessed to make the Holy Land trip to Israel this October. Tours and accommodations were organized by Catholic Travel Centre, while spiritual direction was provided by Fr. Troy and overall happiness was coordinated by Carolyn Greene. This amazing trip started with a day along the Mediterranean coast, visiting Caesarea Maritime, Haifa and Mt. Carmel, and Akko. What beautiful vistas and interesting history! After a very full first day, we arrived in Tiberias, on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, from which we would venture out for three days visiting the sites of Jesus’ childhood and His three years of public ministry. Day trips included visits to Cana, Nazareth, Capernaum, Tabgha, the Jordan River, Mt. Tabor – just to name some of the sites. One of the many highlights of this first part of the pilgrimage was listening to Fr. Troy read from John 6 in the same temple where Jesus had first preached the same. Leaving Tiberias, we traveled through Jericho and Samaria, along a similar path Jesus would have taken to arrive in Jerusalem from the East! During our days in Jerusalem, we had day trips to Bethlehem, Shepherds’ Field, Ein Karem, the Garden of Gethsemane, Caiaphas’ house, the Upper Room – again only some of the stops. We can’t forget the afternoon at Masada and the Dead Sea, but the culmination of the pilgrimage was the last morning in the Old City walking and praying the Via Dolorosa, ending with Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It’s hard to imagine how much there is to experience in a place as geographically compact as Israel. There are too many stories and memories to include because it was truly the “journey” of a lifetime. Needless to say, the hymn “Jerusalem, My Destiny” will never be the same for these pilgrims!
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