My dear friends, Happy Easter!
I pray this Holy Day and the entire season leads you closer to Christ and strengthens you to live more fully each day the newness of life He won for us. Christ needs each of us to live our faith with greater fidelity and joy. Let us walk as best we can in his Light, and when we choose the darkness over his Light, may we quickly turn again to his mercy.
Easter Monday, I depart along with a group of thirty two others for a two week pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Last night and this morning, as we celebrated this Resurrection moment, I was very aware that in a week’s time I would be celebrating Mass over the very place where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. What a moment of grace! Please know that I take with me the prayers and intentions of every member of the Diocese of Cheyenne. My overarching intention came to me as I prepared my homily for the Easter Vigil. I will seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother, in this her homeland, that each member of the diocese will be filled with the Holy Spirit, that we my grow closer to Christ and more fervent in our faith. Please join me in this prayer in the next two weeks.
Here is a rough itinerary of our journey:
Monday, April 6: Denver to Newark; Newark to Tel Aviv
Tuesday, April 7: First Evening on Mt. Carmel, Haifa
Wednesday, April 8: Mt Carmel & Nazareth
Thursday, April 9, Sea of Galilee; Capernaum – Tabgha: Church of Multiplication of Fishes and Loaves
Friday, April 10, Mount Tabor & Cana: Transfiguration of the Lord & Wedding Feast Miracle of changing Water into Wine
Saturday, April 11: River Jordan & Dead Sea & Jericho
Sunday, April 12: Bethlehem
Monday, April 13: Jerusalem: Ein Karem, (5 miles from Jerusalem) Site of John the Baptist’s birth, home of Zechariah & Elizabeth;
Tuesday, April 14: St. Peter Gallicantu (church built over site of palace of Caiaphas where Jesus was jailed after his arrest. Gallicantu means ‘the cock’s crow’ from the account of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Also place where Peter and John were taken in Acts 5). Lithostrotos: (Stone Pavement) where Jesus was condemned to death. Church of St. Ann & Pool of Bethesda: waters were believed to have miraculous power for healing the sick. Tradition says Mary was born in a cave near Bethesda pool. Thus, the home of Joachim and Ann. (I always think of my grandparents, as Joachim and Ann were grandparents to Jesus.)
Wednesday, April 15: Church of the Holy Sepulcher: We will have Mass at 6:00 am at this site where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead! The Upper Room: No explanation needed. Dormition Abbey: Benedictine Abbey in Jerusalem known for its mosaics, recounting the women of the Old Testament and Mary with the child Jesus.
Thursday, April 16: Garden of Gethsemani: Basilica of Agony: where Jesus prayed to fulfill the Father’s will. Church of Pater Noster: Also on the Mount of Olives, believed to be the site where Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Our Father and of Jesus’ Ascencion. Church of Dominus Flevit: (Jesus wept) Also located at the base of the mount of olives, overlooking Jerusalem, where Jesus wept for the city (Luke 19: 41-44)
Friday, April 17: Bethany, home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus
Saturday, April 18: return home
It is my hope during these days to post here some of the moments of our pilgrimage. Please stay tuned, and most of all I ask for your prayers.