April 10, 2013 - Cardinal Seán O’Malley on Retreat in the Holy Land*

Braintree, MA – Cardinal Seán and a group of 29 priests of the Archdiocese of Boston have traveled on an Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week. Follow along on the trip at www.thegoodcatholiclife.com/category/holy-land-pilgrimage.

All this week, our colleague George Martell is traveling with the pilgrimage, embedded with the Cardinal and his priests so we can bring you photos, blogs, videos, and audio reports from the Holy Land.  For the latest photo’s please visit www.flickr.com/photos/bostoncatholic. (*Media are welcome to publish photos from this site but are required to credit “George Martell Pilot Media Group”).

The pilgrims will visit places such as the Basilica of the Annunciation, Mount Carmel, the Sea of Galilee, the Church of the Transfiguration, Qumran, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Upper Room, and more. They will walk in the footsteps of Jesus with Cardinal Seán and the Archdiocese’s priests as an Easter retreat experience.

Each day TheGoodCatholicLife.com blog will share some reflections from the priests on the trip about the places they’ve visited. While the interviews will not be allowed, following is an itinerary for each day:·        

  • Monday:  The pilgrims traveled all day Monday, checking into the Domus Galilaeae, a retreat center atop the Mount of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee.
  • Tuesday:  the pilgrims traveled to Cana, where Jesus performed the first miracle of His public ministry. They visited the Wedding Church and then later have Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Later in the day, the pilgrims visited Mount Carmel on the coast and visit Stella Maria, the largest monastery of the Carmelite Order.
  • Today, Wednesday, the pilgrims held Mass in the Church of the Beatitudes and then took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, while taking in both Capernaum and Tabgha, where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 in the multiplication of loaves and fishes. They also drove to Mount Hermon, overlooking the Road to Damascus, where Jesus appeared to Paul, and Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus responded to Peter’s act of faith by declaring him the Rock on which His Church would be built.
  • Thursday will bring the pilgrims to Mount Tabor, the location of Jesus’ Transfiguration, and they will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Church of the Transfiguration. After, they are to stop at the River Jordan, where the pilgrims will have the opportunity to renew their baptismal vows. The next stop will be Qumran, where the hidden library of the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered in 1947. Then they will visit Jericho, the oldest city in the world, and finally, they are to arrive in Jerusalem at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem, where they will be staying.
  • On Friday, the pilgrims are scheduled to have an audience with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twai, who is the shepherd of all Roman Catholics in the Holy Land. They will then drive to the top of the Mount of Olives, visiting the Chapel of the Ascension, the Shrine of Pater Noster, and the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept). Next they will follow Jesus’ Palm Sunday route along Hosanna Road to the Garden of Gethsemane. There they will pray in the Church of the Agony, then visit the Church of St. Peter-in-Gallicantu (The cock crows), built over the site of the palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where Peter denied Jesus three times. In the afternoon, they will to celebrate Mass at the Franciscan Chapel of the Cenacle and then visit the Upper Room where Jesus and the Apostles celebrated the Last Supper and where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Finally, they are to visit the Dormition Abbey, built to honor the Assumption of Our Lady.
  • Saturday brings the pilgrims very early in the morning to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, for the very special privilege of celebrating Mass at the Empty Tomb of Our Lord. Later, they will meet with Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, whose office and community hold the privilege and duty of safeguarding and caring for the principal Christian shrines of the Holy Land. After, the pilgrims will drive to the hills of Bethlehem, visiting the Basilica of the Nativity.
  • On Sunday, the pilgrims will explore the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, the al Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock. They will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then visit Ein Karem, home of Elizabeth and Zachariah, parents of John the Baptist, including the magnificent Church of the Visitation. Then the group will visit Yad Vashem, the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. They will end their stay with a visit to the Israel Museum.
  • Finally, on Monday, the pilgrim group will travel to the convent of the Sisters of Zion to see the Lithostrotos in the chapel of the Flagellation, then follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Crucis in Jesus’ footsteps. After celebrating Mass in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the pilgrims will visit Emmaus, where Jesus first appeared to disciples after the Resurrection and then the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine. Then they will have a meeting with Fr. Jerome Murphy O’Connor, OP, at the École Biblique in Jerusalem. They will return home that evening.

It is a packed itinerary and each stop contains untold riches of spiritual reflection on Jesus’ life, ministry, and teachings as well as our own Christian walk. Along the way, some of the priest participants will provide for us their reflections and impressions on what they are experiencing at each site in blogs that will be posted at www.thegoodcatholiclife.com/category/holy-land-pilgrimage/.

Stay tuned to this website, as well as BostonCatholicPhotos.com, YouTube.com/BostonCatholic and the Archdiocese of Boston Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and for the latest updates from the Holy Land.