Day 1

The “Power and Witness in the Holy Land” blog hopes to give you something of the experience of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Br. Pio and I will be sending short video clips, still photos and text blogs back to this site everyday describing where we are and our reflections on visiting the very places Our Lord walked the earth, performed miracles and taught. The radical uniqueness of Christianity is that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God acts in human history to save us. He draws near to us in the incarnation and calls us to Himself to share His life with us. It is a great opportunity for us to go to the Holy Land and we hope to share some of the blessings of this trip with you.

Day 1 - Part Two

After about 24 of travel including the layovers, we arrived this evening in Holy Land at around 5 PM . We were fortunate, by God's P rovidence, to have a c hapel with the Blessed Sacrament to pray at during our layover at JFK airport in New York City. Times of prayer during a busy trip are a good way to keep it a pilgrimage and not get into "vacation mode." A pilgrimage has a spiritual focus, and it takes the strains and difficulties of travel and group dynamics as something to "offer up" and as opportunities to die to self just a bit. We drove straight from the airport in Tel Aviv to the hotel in Old Jerusalem. One of our guides is from Nazareth and a Catholic. He said that the Arabic Christians are a very small minority in the Holy Land, even though they have been here since Pentecost. Most of the very O rthodox Jews live in and around old Jerusalem, while most of the State of Israel is secularized. We are staying at the "Knight's Palace Hotel , " just within the walls of the old city next to the Latin Patriarchate. Our hotel is beautiful and made from cut stones with smooth floors from years of use. The artwork and the stones remind one of the crusades. For dinner, we ate at the hotel and had some traditional M iddle E astern foods including hummus, olives and salads with some "heavier entrees." Later in the evening, the priests on the pilgrimage and I offered Mass for the group at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. The facility has a guest housing for pilgrims, a professional promotion center for local Palestinian youth, and a permanent exhibition on the Shroud of Turin. The chapel has high vaulted ceilings and an "arabesque" style artwork. It was a nice conclusion to the day. Tomorrow is our first full day in the Holy Land, and I am looking forward to it.

Day 1 - Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1 - Photos

Packing Bible Books and voltage converters
Jackie Crepeau (Fr. Mark's Mom), Br. Pio, and Fr. Mark getting ready to leave the friary.
Mom, Sr. Marie Michelle, and me leaving Birmingham Airport.
Packing Bible Books and voltage converters. Jackie Crepeau (Fr. Mark's Mom), Br. Pio, and Fr. Mark getting ready to leave the friary. Mom, Sr. Marie Michelle, and me leaving Birmingham Airport.