Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Two weeks in the footsteps of the Apostles and the Lord means that you are going to see an awful lot. Even in one day, the things that you see and the places you go can bring forth emotions from the sorrowful to the sublime. But whatever it brings out emotionally because of a subjective experience, I can say that without a doubt it is objectively amazing what God has accomplished in these places.
We spent almost the first day of our traveling, with an early wake-up in Columbus, a flight to Newark, and then from Newark to Tel-Aviv and then from there we got on a tour bus, our normal mode of transport while in the Holy Land, and went down to Jaffa. It is here that we had our first encounter with a scriptural story; one which any fan of hotdogs or bacon or a cheeseburger can be very grateful for, Acts 10:9-16.
It is also the place where Peter raised a woman, Tabitha, from the dead. Acts 9:36-43. This was an amazing beginning to an amazing pilgrimage. Last year I had visited Rome, where Peter ended his ministry, but it was here in Jaffa that I felt like I really started to understand what the Apostles accomplished following God's call.
The picture above and right are the modern Franciscan church. This will be a common phrase you will read over the next few posts, as the Franciscans have custody of most Catholic shrines in the Holy Land, and have had for the last 700+ years. But not all of the shrines are modern like the pictures above.
This is representative of what the Crusaders did during there time in the Holy Land. They built or rebuilt churches over the sites of great miracles. Simple places, sometimes small, sometimes quite grand, they would have very thick walls so that they would protect the pilgrims that came from Europe to see with their own eyes the sites of the miracles that they heard about in the pulpit. It was a tangible connection with the past and was a great reminder of the faith of past Catholics and their willingness to bear up under a great deal of danger. I knew that I would be much safer, that the Holy Land was safer today, than I would have been at the time of the Crusades.
For example I could just stand outside and enjoy this beautiful view of the Mediterranean (below) and meditate on why God chose to make his revelation here. What is it about this place made it ideal. I began to suspect very soon that it was the great beauty of the place and its position as a natural crossroads was one reason why and even after one day, I was quite thankful for it.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A little bit of home. This past weekend the guys from the diocese of Gaylord who live in Rome got away for a little R&R before exams start this coming week. Msgr. Gallagher, Father Matthew Cowan, Deacon Tyler Bischoff and myself (now the only non-cleric here in Rome) headed up to a small town tucked in the mountains of central Italy called Campo di Giove. (Picture to the left). . It is a ski town in the winter and a place for Italians to escape the heat in the summer. As you can see below the land lord of the complex we stayed at was busy blowing snow most of the day. It gave a great sense of home at a much needed time. That is Msgr. Gallagher's car covered in snow in the background.
We didn't get out skiing but that was not our purpose this weekend. We just needed to have some time to relax, cook and have some fraternity, so that is just what we did. As you can see in the pictures we had a fireplace and a small kitchen which did the trick. We even did some of the cooking on the open fire as you can see below. To the right is a picture of Msgr. Gallagher standing next to a statue of Ovid a famous Roman poet who was born in the area around 43 BC.
|Here is a picture of the hermitage which was the original place where Celestine V (a medieval pope) lived before he was taken out of seclusion and placed on the chair of Peter because of his great holiness. Click the link and read about him. Interesting to note, he is one of the only other popes to ever have abdicated the Papacy other than Pope Benedict XVI.|
|Potatoes on the fire.|
Friday, January 9, 2015
For the last two weeks I have been privileged to be on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Beginning in Netanya at the church marking the spot where St Peter had a vision which made all things clean and fit for us to eat (e.g. bacon) to Mt Carmel and the place where God showed his power over the false prophets of Baal through His own prophet Elijah.
From there we went down to Nazareth and the rest of Galilee where we commemorated so much of the Lord's life and ministry; healings and the walking on water and the multiplication of loaves and fish and the Sermon on the Mount.
After that we crossed the Jordan River and visited many places in the life of John the Baptist including the Baptism of the Lord and the site of John's martyrdom, the mountain palace of Mukawer.
But it is here in Jerusalem that we have reached the pinnacle of our journey. We have climbed Calvary and this morning we had mass at the tomb of the Lord.
This day I have been privileged to see with my own eyes.
The tomb is empty.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
(I apologize for the lack of photos. I can't seem to add them from my phone. I will do a photo laden post once I return to the states.)
Thursday, January 8, 2015
|Shrewsbury Cathedral: Mary and Joseph by Pugin|
|Here is a shot of me and another seminarian from Denver who we met up with at the place we were staying at in London. Behind us is the parliament building.|
|This is a picture of 4 of us seminarians before the Altar at Westminster Cathedral in London. Pope Benedict XVI said Mass there when he visited in 2010.|
|Picture of us driving on the wrong side of the road... oh wait, the right side... oh wait, the left side which is the correct side. Wow, so confusing.|
Monday, November 24, 2014
This past weekend I was blessed to have been able to make a pilgrimage to Fatima Portugal where our Lady of the Holy Rosary appeared to three children in 1917.
It was a very special time and brought back many memories of praying the rosary at home with the Blue Army group back in grade school. My Mom organized the group and would teach us all about the apparitions at Fatima. For as long as I can remember there has been a statue of our Lady of Fatima in our house.
It was great to be able to make the pilgrimage with Father Matthew Cowan and two other seminarians from my class here at the North American College.
Know that I prayed for the entire diocese of Gaylord while I was there and asked for our Lady's intercession for our Bishop, priests, deacons, seminarians and lay faithful. I also asked for good and holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Lastly, I brought, in prayer, all my family and friends to our Lady asking for her protection and intercession.
Our Lady, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, Pray for us!
|This was taken at the end of the procession which followed the reciting of the rosary on Friday night at the apparition site. You may recognize the back of the head of the person on the right.|
|Myself and Michael Niemczak (Classmate and seminarian of the diocese of Santa Fe) standing before the apparition site and the Church in which are the tombs of two of the visionary children: Francisco and Jacinta.|
|Father Cowan, me and Michael Dion (Classmate and seminarian from the diocese of Seattle)|
Saturday, November 15, 2014
20 seminarians and 4 priests all went to tonight's game, Blue Jackets vs. Sharks. The Blue Jackets won 2-1. It was a great outing with my fellow seminarian brothers..... but nothing beats watching the Red Wings :-)