I know a priest-friend who had worked almost twenty years under Cardinal Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome but had never visited the Holy Land. This priest was highly-educated and has since become an Archbishop and Papal Nuncio to Ireland, but he said that it was a pilgrimage to Israel that brought new life to the Scriptures for him. “I’ll never pray the psalms the same way again,” he told me.
The same burning love for Scripture came to me after I led my first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. My parish has asked me to lead another in February, and I invite any of you reading this to join me. We will visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee. I will offer Mass in the Basilica of Christ’s Holy Sepulcher, the Shepherd’s caves at Bethlehem, the Mount of the Beatitudes, and the Basilica of the Annunciation in Mary’s room in Nazareth. I hope we can again do a holy hour at night in the garden of Gethsemane, after the gates are closed to tourists.
The dates are February 3-11, and the cost is $2600, which includes airfare, hotels, and meals. Daniel Grimm, director of the Thomas Aquinas College choir, and his wife Rose will be joining us to provide traditional Catholic music for our Masses. We have 12 spots left, so if you would like to join me, call Martin in the parish office at 415-751-0450 xt 10. Let us pray that all who make this journey to the land of Christ’s birth, miracles, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension will become more perfectly His disciples.