In this post I wish to describe our experience at the end of our first day in the Holy Land. After leaving the sea of Galilee we headed to the Jordan River where we gathered our pilgrims at the rivers edge. Since Catholics do not re-baptize - baptism is celebrated only once as it is a non-repeating Sacrament - we held a service to commemorate or remember our baptisms. In that special service we recreated the actions of baptism i.e. pouring water from the Jordan over the heads of the participants. One fellow requested immersion which we complied with and then after my brother deacon and pastor were done we commemorated each other's baptism by immersing each other. Needless to say it was a very memorable experience.
Yardenit Baptismal Site
In baptism our sins are washed away - we are cleansed and recreated in God's Divine Image. Although Jesus was without sin He still humbled himself by allowing St John to baptize Him - what a great role model - Our Lord showed us the way to Eternal Life
The River Jordan
Deacon Jerry Pouring Water
Deacon Dale Pouring Water
Father Matt Pouring Water
Deacon Jerry and Father Matt Immersing Deacon Dale
Deacon Dale and Deacon Jerry Immersing Father Matt
Deacon Dale - Father Matt - Deacon Jerry
As one of our scheduled events on the pilgrimage - we offered everyone the option to participate in this commemoration of their baptism. Baptism is the gateway Sacrament in the Catholic Church - without baptism you cannot celebrate any of the other Sacraments. Standing in the Jordan River with tiny fish nibbling at our ankles - we were able to share the gift of baptism in a way that we would otherwise never have done. This was a gift for our pilgrims and ourselves. If you have never been baptized and would like to discuss this Sacrament - contact your parish priest or deacon.