The weather is beautiful and the sun is shining. Visibility is clear and Israel is magnificent. I guess a lot of people realize that because there are hundreds of thousands of people here from around the world. For those who are afraid to come to the Holy Land realize that more than 3.5 million people will visit this year and you’ve never heard once of one being hurt or even afraid.
Our folks are quite beside themselves with joy, excitement, and deep spiritual blessings. We worked them hard this week :-) and today they get a reward — half of day free.
We started out at the birthplace of Mary and also Bethesda where Jesus healed the crippled man. From there we went to Gethsemane which is always very moving for pilgrims. This is the place with the sins of the world fell on Our Lord; we had Mass among the olive trees.
Next we went to the western wall and joined several hundred Israeli soldiers there for celebrations. Tomorrow is Independence Day for Israel and everyone is gearing up and the Western Wall is throbbing with excitement. All of us got to pray, touch the wall and learn a bit about the history of Israel.
We were the first bus to lunch which is always our goal :-) and everybody scattered throughout Jerusalem in small groups to walk along the tops of the old city walls, to visit the Citadel of King David, to take a nap, to pray at the Holy Sepulchre or just to find a café to relax and enjoy themselves. This was a reward for punctuality and teamwork. Everybody was excited.
I also ended a lot of videos of walking to the hotel when the dining room and through the halls and out to the bus to get a feel what it’s like on a daily basis for what we do over and over again. I thought a lot of people back home would like to see a bit of what we do.
We invite everybody to come join us. We have a pilgrimage in September, a Family pilgrimage over Christmas which is for parents and grandparents to bring their children young and old. It’s filling fast. We also have six trips going to the Holy Land next year.