Back Row: Damien, Phyllis, Bill, Kath, Lucy, Con, John, Leon.
3rd Row: Denis, Mike, Bob, Margaret, Liz, Tony, Andrea, Reg.
2nd Row: Rami (Our Guide), Canon Martin, Una, Sonia, Helen, Rita, Barbara,
Deanna, Margaret, Julia, Helen, Elie, Sr. Angela, Larry, Brenda, Carolyn, Val, Lucy.
Front Row: Linda, Audra, Angela, Anne, Fuerina, Ann, Attracta, Josie, Pauline, Frances, Jacqueline, Doris, Faye.
It's now just over a week since we returned from our parish pilgrimage from the Holy Land. Most of us had never been previously and although we had several meetings, were still unsure of what to expect. Many of our families and friends were questioning why we would choose to visit Israel at a time of unrest. However having received a reassuring email from the tour operator Damien via our parish coordinator Larry, we were all excited and looking forward to this once in a life time trip.
We had a full programme organised and planned meticulously by Fr Martin , Damien and our local guide to ensure that we had a wonderful, safe and spiritually enlightening experience and felt as if we were really travelling in the footsteps of our Lord.All those stories from the Bible came alive.
We started in Nazareth and finished at the Dead sea.We renewed our Baptismal vows at the river Jordan and for the married couples, our marriage vows at Cana and even prayed at the Wailing wall.
Every day we had prayers, readings and Holy Mass accompanied by singing and had night prayer when possible.
Our hotels were comfortable and the food was good, even if a little different to home.We eat together and had many laughs too. Although we travelled many miles we witnessed no trouble but were aware that our fellow Christians there do not enjoy the freedom that we take so much for granted.
Our group was very varied, singles, couples, families and different ethnic backgrounds, and amazing people in the 80's. We bonded as a group and have
made many new friends.
Our thanks must go to Fr Martin and indeed to Larry who did so much preparatory work to make this pilgrimage a trip of a lifetime.
Thank you again and God bless you always
Kathy and Bill x
Fr. Martin: St. Bede's singing as ever! Accompanied by St Bede's organ thanks to Richard Nott who pre-
Larry: Left at 08.00 for Haifa and Mt. Carmel to visit the church of Stella Maris. Then to the other side of the mount to Muhruqa the site where Prophet Elijah and the prophet of Ba'al took place.
We said morning prayers here and sang. This site overlooks the Valley of Armageddon. Then back to Nazareth for lunch and Holy Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation.
We also visited the Church of St. Joseph and excavations. Then on to the Wedding Church of Cana where couples renewed their vows. We prayed and sang some more before returning to the hotel for dinner and drinks.
Damien: The Sea of Galilee. First visit was to Tabgha , an area situated on the north-
Damien: Next place was the Primacy of St. Peter. The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter is a Franciscan church located in Tabgha on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. This site is thought to be where Jesus appointed Peter 'Primus inter partes' -
Larry: From the Sea of Galilee we went to lunch where most feasted on St. Peter's fish and then on to a boat ride on the sea. Fr. Martin read from the gospel and we sang. Then up to the top of Mt. Tabor to visit the church of the Transfiguration where we prayed together before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Larry: We drove through the Jordan Rift Valley for most of the way before entering Jerusalem. Then onto Palestine to Bethlehem in time for lunch. Then walked in the rain to the church in the Shepherds field. A small church where four other groups were sheltering from the rain. We got them all singing Christmas Carols. A sight and sound to behold. We then visited and toured the Nativity Church including the grotto where St. Jerome lived for 36 years translating the Bible. We then celebrated Holy Mass in the Chapel of St. Helena at 4.00pm. We then visited the birth place of Jesus and the manger before starting our ascent to the eternal city, Jerusalem. After dinner we said evening prayers and sang before ending the day.
Larry: Day 2 was wet and windy. Day 4 hot and sunny. Today sun and rain. After breakfast and check out walked to the Nazareth synagogue where Jesus preached. We then sang more songs. We were invited next door into the Greek Catholic church where we did the same. Then drove to Bethlehem.
More photos from Day 6 are available to view. Taken by Damien and Fr. Martin.