Saturday, March 07, 2009
Hello! I want to share with you some highlights of our pilgrimage.
I had a wonderful time in this trip. Seeing those places where we only read about in the bible and in books, and knowing that the incidents actually happened there many thousands of years ago, really gave us goose bumps. Our tour guide was really great – a Filipino Franciscan Priest, who has been there for 20 years (speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Italian, German & French). Under his guidance, I came out of there knowledgeable, holy, and enlightened. We crossed the Sea of Galilee and arrived at Capernaum, traveled to Mount of Beatitudes and Cana and Nazareth. We had masses and prayers said in some of the sites, like the Nativity, where Jesus was born (the cave where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were). We had the Via Cruzes (Stations of the Cross), where Jesus was actually flogged, crowned with thorns, fallen three times, crucified, and died on the cross. We also traced the flight from Bethlehem to Egypt by the Holy Family because the babies where being killed by Herod’s soldiers. We went from Israel, Jordan, and then Egypt. It took the Holy Family three and a half years to get to Egypt. The travel was desert and barren. We were thinking they must have lived with the Bedouins, (Muslim nomads). We had visited a tent, on our own, one night, while in Egypt. We were also offered their herbal tea, brewed in a pitfire. They sang and danced and we danced with them. We had a special bonding with their family, who treated us like a their own real family. All those for free. One of the brothers said, next time you come with your family and I will tour you, promise, you will not spend one fourth of what you spent now. They said we were their brothers because Moslems, Christians, and Jews came out of the same father, Abraham. This is true. Abraham had a son with Sara; his name was Isaac, and another son with his slave, Hagar. The son’s name with Hagar was Ishmael. This is written in the Bible. We visited the place where the Holy Family stayed in Egypt. In Jordan, we saw ruins of a Roman Empire. The ruins date back 3,350 years B.C. We also went to the Egyptian Museum, saw tombs, work of arts, jewelry, statues, dating back 3,350 years B.C. We saw Ramses II statues – huge. Amazing how great the civilization was already at that time. So precise; amazing indeed! We also visited the pyramids. Anyone who have the opportune time would enjoy this portion of the trip (Egypt) plus some of the beautiful scenery from Israel, Jordan, to Egypt. We had so many holy sites visited, even Mary’s sepulcher, it will be hard to write all of them here. Nazareth, Bethlehem, Getshemmane, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, Mt. Sinai, Jordan River, the nile valley of Egypt and more. Places that I only heard, saw on t.v. read on books and stories I heard from the elders. Who would not be amazed.
Try, and am sure you can talk about these places than I could.