Tag Archives: Jerusalem

we cannot stand in the field, but …

2 Sep

St Andrew adoration September 2

Even though at this moment we cannot literally stand with our “family” of the Catholic parish of Beit Jala, as we literally stood with them whenever we go to the Holy Land on pilgrimage, we stand with them liturgically and virtually.

This evening, Wednesday, September 2, the doors of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Milford, Ohio, open wide to anyone who would like to pray silently before the Blessed Sacrament for our family in Beit Jala. Around 6:30 p.m. there will be a rosary, prayers to Our Lady of Palestine and the closing hymn, “Jerusalem My Destiny.”

Although we cannot stand with them in the fields of the Cremisan valley, they will know that we support them at this time and that we are praying with them and for them.

The live streaming camera will be turned on at 6:00 p.m. Go to the St. Andrew parish website.  On the left sidebar, look for “Church Cast,” and click on “Watch our Mass online”

St Andrew adoration September 2 number 2

three Palestinian women named Mary – all in heaven and for the earth

15 May

two MarysSunday, May 17, Pope Francis canonizes four religious sisters.

Two of them are  Palestinians: 

Marie-Alphonsine, founder of Palestine’s first congregation, the Sisters of the  Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem, and

Mariam of Jesus Crucified Baouardy, the founder of Carmelite Convents in Bethlehem and India.

Speaking of the two Arab Palestinian women, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of the Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem, said, “Now, we have two new saints who represent a model of perfection for Christians, as well as for Muslims and Jews alike. They are both named Mary, and this name is widespread and commonly used among all three  traditions. It is a sign of our modern time which suggests that we can talk about the three religions without any discrimination.”

Mother Mary, Marie-Alphonsine and Mariam of Jesus Crucified, all in heaven, pray for all who live in your native, mother land.

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virtual pilgrimage in 18:01

26 Apr

DAY 1: Capernaum & Sea of Galilee

Where in your life does Jesus call you?

Day Two: Nazareth & Cana

Newly confident because we look at what has already happened, we are able to say, “Yes,” and something new comes out of that.

DAY 3: Sea of Galilee

Where do you get your one on one time with God?

DAY 4: Jordan River & Bethany

God stood in line with those waiting to baptized and went with his friends as they invited him to go “down there” with them. 

DAY 5: Gethsemane & Holy Sepulchre

Surrender to the future that God has is store for you. Turn yourself over entirely to God, and God will reward you with new life. 

DAY 6: Bethlehem 

God entered the world in the most vulnerable way possible, completely dependent for his care  – and also leaves the world in a vulnerable state, naked and nailed – a sign of his great desire to be with us. Even in inauthentic places there is authentic faith.

DAY 7: Jerusalem/Way of the Cross

We carry our cross in the midst of the busyness and hurriedness of daily life.

my three teachers

21 Jul

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Abby, Christy and Sharon, you honored me by accompanying me to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Having known you as teachers in our parish school, it delighted me for these fourteen days to travel, eat and pray with you in the Holy Land. It was like I was taking you home to meet my people, especially in my beloved Beit Jala, and to see the land in which I grew up, in Christ, that is. I wanted you to have an experience as life-giving as I have had. I wanted you to come to love the land and love the people as I much as I do. I knew that each of you would meet a partner teacher and be her house guest for two nights. I was confident that you would be in loving hands in her home and in her care. But a tiny part of my soul was a bit nervous about how things would be for you. I knew you had seen a photo of your partner-teachers, and had corresponded by email with them. But the father-worrier in me wanted to know for sure that you would feel comfortable, loved and safe.

0 Three teachers DSC_0648Myrna, Niveen and Sally, however much I would thank you would not be enough. As the teachers from St. Andrew came off the bus in your church yard, you embraced Abby, Christy and Sharon, as if they were your long-lost sisters who had finally come back home. After just a few moments, you whisked the teachers away. They were in your arms, in your hands, in your cars – and they were gone. Then I left for two days, wondering how things were going, and hoping that each of you would bond with the teacher that you took home and to school with you. When I returned to pick up Abby, Christy and Sharon to move on to Jerusalem. I got my answer. The smiles on the faces of all six of you were proof and evidence of the friendship and solidarity that was built up in less than 48 hours.

Myrna, Niveen and Sally, I cannot ever thank you enough for what you have given to Abby, Christy and Sharon. They are better teachers, better women and better Christians because of you! You are also “my three teachers” now, too. I owe a debt to you that I cannot repay. But God can repay you. I will remind God often of my debt to you, and will ask God to pay you back for what you have given to the teachers from my school – and to me. May God continue to bless you, your families, your students and your homeland. Keep hope. Stay holy. Remain happy. Be brave.

 

a prayer and a gun are fired

19 Jul

The gun of an Israeli soldier rests on a window-like opening of the separation wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It is pointed toward Palestinian youth during a clash at the entrance to Bethlehem.

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There is something particularly sad about this screenshot taken from a Reuter news video. During his pilgrimage to the Holy Land Pope Francis stopped at this very place to pray. Notice the closed window just to his right, and the “Bethlehem look …” just above his head.Bod-3BZIUAAuiXR

It is the same place at which he fired a prayed to heaven. This time a gun fires.

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okay, get together for a picture

16 Jul

On our HOPE (Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education) pilgrimage, our photographer-pilgrim would call out a command, to which we would all dutifully respond, “Okay, get together for a group picture.” After a while it was shortened to, “Group picture!”

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on Mount Nebo at the Memorial to Moses

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in Beit Jala with partner-teachers and their parish priest

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in the Kidron Valley after praying the rosary

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meeting Bishop Shomali at the Latin Patriarchate

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at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre after praying the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa

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at our final and farewell dinner in Jerusalem

 

in her hands, before her eyes, and in her heart

26 May

“Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.”

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“The Upper Room speaks to us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.”

Pope Francis, Mass in the Cenacle, May 26, 2014

a Rabbi, a Muslim leader and the Pope went to Jerusalem

26 May

No, this is not the opening line of a joke.

It was the occasion of an embrace at the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jews in Jerusalem, just below the third holiest site in the world for Muslims.

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The Pope, the rabbi and the Muslim leader, all friends back in Argentina, collapsed in a heartfelt embraced.

After the tears and words exchanged, Francis went to pray and to place his prayer in the crevice of the wall.

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On the paper, in an envelope was the Lord’s prayer in his native Spanish.

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12 to 11 to 3 to 0

8 May

In the heat of June the pilgrim-teachers whom I will accompany to the Holy Land will want to walk where Jesus walked and to see what Jesus saw.

There are some ancient steps that Jesus would have walked twice on what we call “Holy Thursday,” once when he went down from the Upper Room on his way to Gethsemane, and once when he was taken from Gethsemane back up to the House of Caiaphas. Twice that night he would have walked through the Kidron Valley where he would passed some tombs, once with eleven of his disciples and once with none of them.

If  the weather, the schedule and the authorities permit, the pilgrim-teachers and I will pray the rosary, as we stand near the tombs in the Kidron Valley. For the prayer I have written a set of mysteries of the rosary: “The Agonizing Mysteries.” The surest way for me to see the errors in the text is to publish it, for as soon as I hit the “publish” key to post, I will see the errors of my ways. It happened all the time. So, here goes. Publish makes perfect!

Rosary in the Kidron Valley

“The Agonizing Mysteries”

Jesus is in the Upper Room.

  • The disciples ask Jesus, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
  • The disciples go off, enter the city, and find it just as he had told them it would be.
  • They prepare the Passover.
  • As they recline at table, Jesus says, “One of you will betray me.”
  • Peter vehemently replies, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all speak similarly.
  • While they are eating, he takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it, and gives it to them, and says, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
  • He takes a cup, gives thanks, and gives it to them, and they all drink from it.
  • Jesus gets up from the table, takes off his outer garments, and ties a towel round his waist.
  • He pours water into a basin and begins to wash their feet.
  • Then, after singing a hymn, they go out to the Mount of Olives.

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Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the first time. 

  • Jesus had seen these tombs many times, but tonight, in the full moon, they look different and feel different.
  • He feels the dust at his feet, the silence of the night, and the darkness in his soul.
  • Jesus thinks about that only son of that widowed woman who was being carried out of their town to be buried. (Luke 7:11-18)
  • How he steps forward, touches the coffin, and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
  • Jesus thinks about that twelve year old only daughter of that synagogue official who died in her bed. (Mark 5:21-43)
  • How he takes the child by the hand and says to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
  • Jesus thinks about the brother of Mary and Martha who had been in the tomb for four days. (John 11:1-44)
  • How he cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
  • How the dead man comes out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face wrapped in a cloth. “Untie him and let him go.”
  • It crosses through the mind of Jesus that he could run over the Mount of Olives to Bethany to hide at the home of his friends, or to escape safely into the desert beyond. 

Jesus is in Gethsemane. 

  • They come to a place named Gethsemane.
  • “Sit here while I pray.”
  • Jesus begins to be troubled and distressed.
  • “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.”
  • Jesus advances a little, and falls to the ground.
  • “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”
  • He returns and finds them asleep.
  • “Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
  • Judas, one of the Twelve, his betrayer, had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.”
  • All the disciples leave him and flee.

 Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the second time. 

  • Jesus had called twelve disciples who walked with him for three years.
  • From the upper room Jesus comes down the ancient steps with only eleven of those disciples, and comes to the garden.
  • As he enters deeper into the garden of the olive trees with only three, he leaves even them behind, and he goes deeper into agony.
  • Betrayed, abandoned and arrested, Jesus walks into this valley of death again, this time with none of his disciples – zero of the twelve – from 12 to 11 to 3 to zero.
  • He looks toward the city to see the gate of his entry on the donkey and to hear the hosannas of the crowds waving the branches of palm.
  • He spots the top of the temple of sacrifice rising above the outer wall.
  • He remembers going with the devil to the pinnacle of the temple, that corner of the wall, and being tempted to tempt God by jumping.
  • The women are nearby, the ones who promised to stay with him and remain for him, no matter what.
  • He thinks of his mother, her embraces, her assurances and their conversations.
  • At one and the same time he feels alone and he feels God being with him.

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Jesus is in the house of Caiaphas. 

  • Those same steps that he had walked down just a few hours ago in front of his disciples – they feel different to his feet as the guards push and pull him up the steps.
  • They take him to the house of the high priest, Caiaphas.
  • In front of everyone Peter begins to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.”
  • Immediately a cock crows. Peter weeps bitterly.
  • They condemn him as deserving to die.
  • They spit in his face, blindfold him and slap him.
  • They lower him into the dampness of the prison pit for the night.
  • The words of the psalm, memorized and stored in his heart, move to his lips, “Lord, the God of my salvation, at night I cry aloud in your presence. My soul is filled with troubles. I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit. My only friend is darkness.”
  • His words, “You must take up your cross and follow me,” come back to haunt him.
  • He longs for the touch of his mother and he feels her absence.

 

2013 Christmas Message from Father Rob Waller

27 Dec

At all six Masses on Christmas at St. Andrew we presented to each person a booklet with all the prayers and music for the celebration. The first thing people saw was a welcome message and an explanantion of the preace dove.

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(click on image of program to see it enlarged)

By yourself or with family,

grateful or hurting, disappointed or satisfied,

successful or stressed, sick or healed, elated or deflated,

feeling the loss of health, home, loved one and employment,

or with everyone and in good relationship

with everyone whom you love and who loves you,

we come to Mass on this holy day

and approach the altar

with grateful and humble hearts.

 

Jesus is on the altar at every Mass

as truly as he was in the manger on the first Christmas.

As he was in the wood of feeding trough

and on the wood of the cross,

he is truly present on our altar-table

for our nourishment and our salvation.

 

At every Mass

we are in Bethlehem on Christmas,

at Calvary on Good Friday

and at the empty tomb in Jerusalem on Easter morning.

 

May you experience always

the spirit of Christmas which is peace,

the joy of Christmas which is hope,

and the heart of Christmas which is love.

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A “peace dove” with lighted candle will remain on the ledge at the tabernacle in our church throughout the Christmas season. Our friends in our partner parish and school in the Beit Jala area of Bethlehem will light a candle for us on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. They will remember us in Bethlehem, as we will remember them here. The Christians who live in Bethlehem still do not enjoy the peace the angels sang about on the first Christmas. As we sing the opening words of the Gloria – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will” – we will pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Bethlehem, throughout the Holy Land and all throughout the Middle East.

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