Shalom or 'peace' from the Holy City, Jerusalem!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
I write to you at the end of wonderful yet busy day - much like all the days have been for the past week.
Today I was able to make my first visit during this pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre is the Church that has the very places where Jesus died on the Cross - that is Calvary - and the Tomb where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead! It was an incredible blessing to be in this place and to pray at these holy sites! The visit to the Holy Sepulchre took place very early this morning - before our day really began - at 5:30am. We did this so that we could get more opportunities to visit the Holy Sepulchre. I hope to go again tomorrow early in the morning.
As I mentioned, our days have been very full and filled with blessings! We have visiting Bethlehem (where everyday is Christmas and we sang Christmas songs for Holy Mass and
'Angels we have heard on high' in the chapel of the Shepherd Field), Nazareth and the place the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, Ceserea Philippi (Where St. Peter made his profession of belief in the Divinity of Jesus and Jesus naming him the first pope), Capernaum (the 'headquarter' of Jesus during His public ministry), the Sea of Galilee (which is more like a lake) and Qumran (the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and the ruins of an Essene community that existed at the time Jesus was walking on earth in Israel),
Today we visited several sites around Jerusalem. We stopped at the site where Jesus entered Jerusalem just before Palm Sunday and He wept. It has an amazing view of the where the Temple would have stood. We then went to the Mount of Olives and offered
Holy Mass at the Church of the Nations, which also features the rock on which our Lord knelt, wept and sweat blood during His agony in the garden. In the afternoon we toured some remains of ancient works by the Canaanites and Israelites dating back to over 3000 years ago (yes, 3000 years ago).
The food has been excellent. The weather has been mostly dry with some sun. However, today it rained for most of the day. It has been below normal for temperature I have been told. We have several days to go yet before we begin our journey home. I look forward to sharing these experiences with you. I hope you can make it to our Generations of Faith event coming up next Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at the Church of St. Paul,
Zumbrota. I will share more about this pilgrimage then.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Palestine, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may the blessing of our Risen Lord come upon us and give us His peace and love!
In Christ through Mary,