Friday, November 23, 2018

Ireland Pilgrimage

2019 Ireland Pilgrimage - an 8-Day pilgrimage - Daily Mass - Dublin to Shannon - Knock Shrine where Mary appeared to many - Trinity College and The Book of Kells - St. Patrick Anglican  Cathedral in Dublin - Kilkenny Castle - St Patrick Catholic Cathedral in Armagh - Ballintubber Abbey - Blarney Castle - Cliffs of Moher - Rock of Cashel - Croagh Patrick - Down Cathedral in Downpatrick - Corcomroe Abbey. Irish Shrines - Castles - Pubs - Spiritual and Secular visits. Dublin - Belfast - Galway.  Optional side trip to visit the Guinness Storehouse and sample a pint of Guinness. Reserve your place today with a $250 deposit.  **Trip Insurance extra.  For details please visit  DeaconTravel Ministries or call 630-334-5065.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Announcing A New Pilgrimage

Praying That All Families Have An Enjoyable Day
Together Celebrating The Blessings They Share

Thankful For Our Awesome 2018 Holy Land Pilgrimage
And Announcing Our 2019 Ireland Pilgrimage

Yes - Just back from our Holy Land Pilgrimage - Announcing a new pilgrimage!  We have made arrangements for an Ireland Pilgrimage for October 27 - November 3, 2019.  For this pilgrimage we will be using a new travel partner who has promised us an excellent visit to Catholic Ireland.  We will Leave and return on a Sunday which allows those who still work the ability to be gone from work for nine consecutive days while only missing five work days.

Registrations are now being accepted - please contact me for registration details either by phone:  1-630.334.5065 or email at:

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018 Holy Land Pilgrimage Recap - Day #10

The last day of our 10 day pilgrimage - a day spent traveling - a long day of travel.  Adjusting for the time difference - we left Israel around noon time on November 1st and returned to Chicago and back at St Patrick Church about noon time November 2nd - almost twenty-four hours.  Five of those hours were spent at JFK airport in New York - between flights. Besides the hours spent on the planes - everything went like clockwork.  There were no delays - no equipment problems - all happened as scheduled.  Our tour guide was excellent!  Our bus driver - very helpful and courteous.  It is interesting to note that these two men - who spent six continuous days with us - worked so well together - with each other - with our group - both from Palestine - one a Christian - the other a Muslim - destroyed the idea that Christians and Muslims cannot get along.  As explained by our guide - the conflicts we read about in the Holy Land - nothing to do with religion - everything to do with politics - who controls the power - the money - peoples lives.  For this pilgrim - I returned home joyful - joy filled - a most excellent adventure.  Our twenty-six pilgrims - excellent travel companions - the eleven pilgrims picked up in Tel Aviv - a pure blessing to our group.  Together - all thirty-nine of us - became a small family -  sharing our belief in the One God we all worship. 

2018 Holy Land Pilgrimage Group 

To wrap up our pilgrimage we once again took time to worship Our Lord by celebrating an impromptu All Souls Day Mass before we departed our own way. 

Praying Our Way Through Israel and Back Home
Deacon Dale

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

2018 Holy Land Pilgrimage Recap - Day #9

Today - November 1st - All Saints Day - the ninth day of our Holy Land Pilgrimage.  The official pilgrimage tour now concluded - today a free day - a day to process - to share - to enjoy a much slower pace - to revisit the Old City - at our own pace.  For most of us - we began the day with Holy Mass - a special blessing at Father Matt's request - Baligh was able to arrange an unscheduled Mass - again - at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

 At 8:00 AM the courtyard at Holy Sepulcher - very empty

 A quick visit to Calvary - one last time - the site of Crucifixion 

 Holy Sepulcher Art Work 

Holy Mass this morning - now yards - not feet away from the Tomb - again a special blessing to be able to celebrate Holy Mass in this special place.

 Preparing For Holy Mass

 Reading the Hebrew Scripture

 Reading From the New Testament

 Proclaiming the Gospel

 Father Matt's Homily

 Holy Eucharist

 Saints in Training

Saints in Training

Following Holy Mass we returned to the hotel to pack our bags and check out.  Leaving our bags under the watchful eyes of the hotel staff we left to walk back to the Old City where we once again visited the places where time was previously limited.  We talked with locals - visited the numerous shops - looked for last minute gifts for those at home - ate lunch and finally returned to the hotel where we met our bus for our trip from Jerusalem to the airport at Tel Aviv.  Check in at the airport was very tedious - the security team at Tel Aviv - very thorough.  Finally at 10:00 PM we were able to board our international flight to New York - a flight that would last some 12+ hours.

Praying Our Way Through Israel
Deacon Dale 

Monday, November 19, 2018

2018 Holy Land Pilgrimage Recap - Day #8

Today marks the eighth day of our pilgrimage - the sixth day of roaming through Israel - the official ending of our tour of Holy sites - one day away from departure - one day from a nearly one day of travel to return home.  Today we make the best use of our time here with our guide - tomorrow a free day and an evening departure.  Breakfast as usual - Morning Prayer on the bus - as usual - starting the day - again - in the Old City at the Lions Gate.  The Old City - a city within a wall - built to protect - separate from the rest of the world.

Jerusalem the Old City Surrounded by a Wall 

Jerusalem's Old City walls, built in the early 16th century by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, have eight gates - today we walk through the Lions Gate.

Carvings Designate the Lions Gate 

From here we walk to the Church of St. Anne - marking the place where the parents of the Blessed mother lived - the birthplace of Mary.  Very close are the Pools of Bethesda - where Jesus healed the paralytic.

 Church of St. Anne

 Pools of Bethesda

 Church of St, Anne

 St. Anne

 Birthplace of Mary 

 Excellent acoustics - here groups often sing acapella to hear the sounds 

 Heading to Antonio Fortress to walk the Via Dolorosa - As we walked from Station to Station - we prayed the Way of the Cross - led by Father Matt 

 Station #1

 Station #2 

 Praying the Way of the Cross

Station #3

 Station #4

 Station #5

Section of Wall by Station #5  Where It Is Believed Jesus Placed His Hand

 Station #6 

 Station #7

Station #8

 Walking to Holy Sepulcher - Stations #9 - #14

 Holy Sepulcher courtyard - remaining Stations Inside

 The Tomb of Jesus - Station #14 

Another long line - praying the remaining Stations as we patiently wait our turn to view inside the Tomb.  Once everyone had a chance to enter the tomb and venerate that place where Jesus was laid we moved a few feet away to celebrate Holy Mass for the day.  

 Waiting & Praying 

Entrance to the Tomb - No Photos Inside - You have to see for yourself

 Father Matt pointing to the Tomb - just feet away

 Holy Mass

Following Holy Mass we visited the Chapel of St Helena who recovered the original Cross 

 St. Helena Chapel area

Patience pays off - finally we have a chance to see where the Cross stood - to kneel and venerate that place - to reach through the Star of the Cross - to touch the rock of Calvary

Calvary - the place of Crucifixion 

 Veneration of the Ground Where the Cross Stood - Station #12

Touching the Rock 

 The Anointing Slab Where Jesus' Body was Anointed 

Reverencing the Anointing Slab 

 Outside the Church of  the Holy Sepulcher

Continuing our pilgrimage we now headed to the Western Wall - the only remaining section of the original Temple - the place where the faithful leave notes at the wall - lay hands on the Wall - in belief that prayers said here - touching the Wall - ascend directly to God 

 Entrance to the Western Wall 

 Praying at the Western Wall - Hands On Prayer

 Prayer of Thanksgiving - Prayers of Petition 

Concluding our prayers - we again moved on to visit the House of Caiaphas - now known as St. Peter in Gallicantu - where St Peter once denied Our Lord - where Jesus was kpet overnight in a lower dungeon 

 Caiaphas' House - St Peter in Gallicantu

 The dungeon where Jesus stayed one night 

 The cock crowed...

The day now ending - the conclusion of our time visiting Holy sites - a farewell dinner - time to thank our tour guide - Baligh - our driver - Jawad - the pilgrims who ventured with us.  Arlene and I distributed a Jerusalem plate to each of those who traveled with us as a memento of our time together in this most Holy place.  Leaving later this evening - some early morning - our group tomorrow night - heading back home. 

Farewell Dinner and Time to Share

Jerusalem Pottery

Thus ended our eighth day of pilgrimage - tomorrow our ninth day in Israel - a free day to wander - to process all that we have experienced to this point. 

Praying Our Way Through Israel
Deacon Dale