The first day of any pilgrimage is all about travel - gathering the group together - bus to the airport - flights to the destination - meeting the tour guide - checking into your first hotel. Depending on the destination - anywhere from half a day or more. In the case of our group traveling from our home parish near Chicago to Tel Aviv in Israel - approximately twenty-two hours. Travel was uneventful - everyone met on time - after attending an impromptu Holy Mass with Father Matt - receiving a Pilgrims Blessing from Father Gabriel - no delays in flights or with bus travel. We arrived in Tel Aviv - tired but excited - to meet up with additional pilgrims who had been added to our group. Our first evening activity - a simple welcome dinner - meeting the other pilgrims and tour guide - time for relaxation and sleep.
Holy Mass Deacon Doug - Deacon Dale - Father Matt
Pilgrims Blessing on Bus - Father Gabriel
Surprise Seatmate for Hector (left) - Matthew Faraci (right)
The only out of the ordinary experience on our first day was meeting Hector's seatmate for the international flight. Matthew Faraci - Host of Frankly Faraci (on Dove Channel) - Executive Producer of The Chosen - a new project focusing on the Life of Jesus. For complete information on this very interesting project click this link. The Chosen
Personally I do not believe this was a coincidence that Matthew was seated next to one of our pilgrims - rather a God incident.
Arriving in Tiberias - Safe and Sound - 37 Pilgrims
Holy Mass - Mass of Thanksgiving and Sending
Pilgrimage - Day #1 & #2 - Meeting New People - Interesting Meetup
Praying Our Way Through Israel