Tag Archives: Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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

 

no longer a reluctant pilgrim

4 Jun

Keep Hope and Be Hope cover

Until my somewhat reluctant pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1994, I had absolutely no interest or desire to go the Holy Land. Now I cannot seem to get enough. Tomorrow I begin my 15th pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the second time accompanying HOPE teacher-pilgrims.

Three teachers from my St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School are going on this pilgrimage, which totally delights me. To know that they are partnering with three teachers from my beloved Latin Patriarchate School Beit Jala gives me HOPE that our partnering with the Catholic parish and school in Beit Jala will continue, even when I retire from being the pastor of St. Andrew next year.

At 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, there was a school Mass for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders, the students that Mrs. Bohlen, Miss Petrozzi and Mrs. Taylor teach. At that Mass I  asked the students to send their teachers off with a blessing and a prayer, reminding them that their teachers are taking their prayer petitions with them to the Holy Land. That Mass was offered for the repose of the soul of Jabra Na’eem Sema’an, a twelfth grade student at the Beit Jala school. Jabra died just a few months before his graduation, after having made the best of his learning and his life, although he was afflicted with muscular-dystrophy since an early age, and spent his school days in a wheel chair. There will be an empty chair at his graduation. We live streamed the Mass, so that George Abu Dayyeh, his grandfather and also a teacher at the school, could hear one of our students try to pronounce Jabra’s name in the general intercessions.

One site I hope to visit is the archeological remains of the town of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee, the birthplace of Mary “of Magdala,” that is, Mary Magdalene.

One hope I take is that I can feel myself being mothered by Isabelle, my earthly and deceased mother, and by Mary, the Blessed Mother.

I look forwarded to handing to Father Ibrahim Shomali, the pastor of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation in Beit Jala, the gift that my parishioners are giving to him for his school children. I look forward to celebrating Mass at the empty tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, encouraging my pilgrims to “name your dead – and – listen to hear your own name spoken by Jesus, as Mary of Magdala heard Jesus call her by name on the morning of his resurrection.” I look forward to leaving something behind in the tomb of Lazarus, as I imagine hearing the voice of Jesus calling me by name and calling me out of that thing that holds me back and has had me tied up as if in burial cloths, hoping that Jesus resuscitates me into a different way of living, in the same way that he resuscitated Lazarus.

Here at “With Open Doors” I will post photos and words, as I make pilgrimage with our teacher-pilgrims.

bless Sharon John, Abby William and Christy Earl

31 May

On May 28 at our St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School Mass for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders, we blessed three of our teachers who are making pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

blessing of teachers

We give you thanks for those who teach us along the way.

We give you thanks, O God, for those who teach us about you.

We give you thanks, O God, for those who teach us about right and wrong, and what it means to be Christian and what it means to be Catholic.

We give you thanks, O God, for these women who are spiritual mothers to all of their students.

And as they set out on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, O God, we ask that you bless Sharon John, Abby William and Christy Earl. Keep them healthy. Keep them safe.

On this pilgrimage, O God, may they keep hope within themselves and be hope for someone else.

Draw them ever and ever more closer to yourself, O God, through your son, Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. We give you praise now and forever. Amen.

motto and logo for Pope’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land

27 Mar

 

our andrew

Motto and logo for Pope’s pilgrimage

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (AOCTS) decided on the motto and logo for the Pope’s upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the meeting of the Assembly on March 11 and 12, 2014 in Tiberias.

So that they may be one

The motto for the pilgrimage is “So that they may be one”.  The Holy Father has insisted that at the center of his pilgrimage will be the meeting with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the heads of the Churches in Jerusalem. This is to commemorate and renew the commitment to unity expressed by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople 50 years ago in Jerusalem.

This gives expression to the desire of the Lord at the Last Supper: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23).

The logo also expresses this desire for unity, representing the embrace of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew, the first two disciples called by Jesus in Galilee. Saint Peter is the patron of the Church in Rome and Saint Andrew is the patron of the Church in Constantinople.  In Jerusalem, in the Mother Church, they embrace. The two apostles are in a boat that represents the Church, whose mast is the Cross of the Lord. The sails of the boat are full of wind, the Holy Spirit, which directs the boat as it sails across the waters of this world.

The unity of Christians is a message of unity for all humanity, called to overcome the divisions of the past and march forward together towards a future of justice, peace, reconciliation, pardon and fraternal love.

This article, information about the Holy Land, and everything about the Pope’s visit to the Holy Land, 24-26 May 2014 can be found on the official web site: Pope Francis in the Holy Land 2014.

 

“We are at the Sea of Galilee”

31 Dec

Father James Martin, S.J., takes us on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The title of this video on YouTube is: “Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Part 1.” That means there must be at least one more. Yes!

I can’t help myself, being pastor of St. Andrew. I must mention that “St. Peter’s house” is also “St. Andrew’s house.”

The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law in Mark 1:29-31 — “On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. He is “our” Andrew, after all.