Fr. Bill’s Holy Land Pilgrimage Photo Journal

Deacon Scott MaentzHome page 1, Parish News

Fr. Bill is sharing photos of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land currently underway. They will be added to this post daily as he sends them.

Day One – Thursday, September 14

We arrived in Tel Aviv and spent the night in nearby Joppa. Our hotel overlooks a beautiful Mediterranean beach.

Day Two – Friday, September 15

We started our day Friday with a visit to an excavated palace and community on the Mediterranean built by Herod the Great named Caesarea. Next we toured the Church of the Annunciation.  This is historically recognized as the home of our Blessed Mother where the Archangel Gabriel visited her.  I was privileged to say Mass here. Devotional lamps excavated from Mary’s home dating from the early church times. We ended our day at the sea of Galilee.

Day Three – Saturday, September 16

Saturday morning this was the view I woke up to from my bed. We started our day at the chapel of the beatitudes on a hill above the sea of Galilee.   This is where the sermon on the mount was given. After that we went to a chapel, on the shore of the sea, called the primacy of Peter, where, according to tradition, Jesus declared “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church.“ We then made a short drive to the city of Capernaum. it was this community that Jesus called home during the three years of his public ministry starting at about age 29.

I got to say Mass in the church that was built over the home of Peter. Where is Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law of a high fever. Just a few yards from the home of Peter was a byzantine era, synagogue (4th or 5th century) built over the ruins of the first century synagogue. After lunch, we visited the village of Magdala, the home of Mary, one of Jesus’s most devoted disciples, and first witness to the risen Lord. These excavated ruins includes several ritual baths and a nearby first century synagogue.

We then took a boat ride on the sea of Galilee. Lastly, we visited the museum which displays a first century fishing boat, like Jesus would have ridden in.

Day Four – Sunday, September 17

The Jordanian side of the river.


Our visit to Mount Tabor.


My room at Notre Dame in Jerusalem.   It comes with a balcony and a view of Mount Olive.

Day Five – Monday, September 18

Our first stop today was the museum of Israel. It starts out with a 1:50 scale. I don’t think it’s scale model of the city of Jerusalem at 70 A.D. We were not allowed to take pictures of the museum. It was about the discovery, collection, and preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Next we visited Bethlehem, which is which is in the process of being walled in for security reasons.

And the next stop was the Basilica of the nativity. It commemorate the place where Jesus was born.

We also got to hear Armenian priests chanting prayers of praise to baby Jesus.

Lastly, we visited the church of Saint Catherine of Siena and next door to the Basilica. Saint Jerome lived there during his final years. We celebrated Mass there.

Day Six – Tuesday, September 19

First outing today was to Masada mountaintop fortress that rises above the Jordanian desert and the Dead Sea. Here several thousand Jews held out against the Roman army for three years. As the fortress was about to be breached these Zealots and their families took their own lives preferring to die for their faith as free persons rather than be slaughtered by Roman soldiers.

Our next stop was at the Dead Sea. No pictures. Our travels today ended with Mass at Church of the Good Shepherd in Jericho.  Now back to Jerusalem.

Day Seven – Wednesday, September 20

Our first stop is the Church of Pater Noster at the top of the Mount of Olives.  Built by Saint Helena and maintained by Carmelite nuns.

Our second stop is to the Church Dominus Flevit (Lord Weeps).  It is where Our Lord looked over Jerusalem, and wept for her past sins of stoning the prophets and her future catastrophe of rejecting God’s Anointed and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

We then went up toward Jerusalem to the church built into the house of Caiaphas, where Jesus was walked up the very stairs that lead to the house. Here Peter deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed.  Jesus was lowered into a dungeon by rope with his hands bound. We read in Luke’s gospel about the trial before the Sanhedrin in the church above, and we then read Psalm 88 in the dungeon, where Jesus stayed the rest of the night before being handed over to Pilate the next day.

We had a late lunch and a delightful restaurant in the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem.

We also visited the upper room which is believed to be where the last supper was instituted. This room had been a place of veneration prior to the third century. Note the capital of the support pillar that shows the pelican, feeding his children with his own body.

We then visited the Church of the Assumption. One of the mosaics and a side altar shows Jesus receiving his mother’s infant soul into heaven.

Day Eight – Thursday, September 21

We started our morning at 6:15 AM on the via De La Rosa on our last full day in Jerusalem.

We then went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  We completed the stations of the cross inside the church.  At Golgotha, we were able to place our hands inside the stone, in which Jesus‘s cross was placed. Before we entered the Holy Sepulcher, a model was used to demonstrate the outer, and the inner chambers of the tomb, from which Jesus rose from the dead.

The Liturgy of the Word was read in the outer chamber, which was just big enough to hold our group of 12.

In the foreground is the stone upon which Jesus’ lifeless body was anointed for burial.

I then entered the inner room for the Holy Sacrifice above the very spot where Jesus’ Body was laid and from where he was raised. Words can’t express such a miraculous privilege it was.

We then visited the Church of Saint Ann, the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our last stop of the day was the Western Wall of the Temple. I left several petitions there.