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
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
Praying the Way of the Cross
Section of Wall by Station #5 Where It Is Believed Jesus Placed His Hand
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
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
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