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