I am happy to report that ALL pilgrims who traveled to the Holy Land and Egypt have returned home safely! I am sure that over the next few days and weeks you will be hearing all about it, viewing pictures and listening to memories of these very important days in the Holy Land. However, perhaps the best way to sum it all up is to say it was “the time of our lives”! Words are inadequate to try to describe what we all felt and what we experienced.
In a couple of days I will be uploading some of the photographs that are some of the “highlights” from the trip here on my blog. There are simply hundreds and hundreds of photographs that were taken by everyone during the course of the pilgrimage. So, what we will do is collect them all, put them together and then offer an evening in church where the entire parish can come together and experience “the best of the best” with a description of where we were and what we did. This will happen in the next 2 or 3 weeks perhaps. We will let everyone know through announcements and through the bulletin. This way, again, we can all experience it together. I am going to include below a couple of nice photos, however, to “wet your appetite” until then!
Also, I would like to offer to all of you two quotes I used during my homily at our last Mass in Cairo. I offer them for your personal meditation because they have always been meaningful to me. The first quote was given to me by a priest friend of mine several years ago, “the most important thing in life is to live your life for something more important than your life”! And, the second quote was given to me by Dr. Robert Schuller, Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California during a visit with him in 2005. He told me, “always remember, He IS, He CAN and He WILL”! Think about those two quotes and let them change your life!
And, now a few photos I hope you will enjoy!
On the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem.
The entire group at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
At the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
Here you can see I am placing into the Wall the petitions that our parishioners submitted in the weeks leading up to our pilgrimage. Actually each person received several envelopes and we each placed them into the Wall. We pray God hears and answers these prayers!
A wide view at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
In Bethlehem at the place where Jesus was born.
At the Church of the Holy Sepluchre where Jesus was Crucified and Buried.
We actually visited 3 countries on our pilgrmage Israel, Egypt and Jordan. Here we are in Jordan at the very place at the Jordan River where Jesus was Baptized.
At the Great Pyramids of Giza in Cairo. I am consulting with Father Peter and Father Pete to see if we can get a pet camel for the backyard of the Rectory. I will keep you posted! Keep your fingers crossed!!
A wide view of the Pyramids with a camel in the foreground.
Here I am standing at the base of one of the Pyramids.
This is the path you take down into the burial chambers of the Pyramids.
One of the hallways in the depths of the Pyramids.
Here I am in the inner burial chamber of the Great Pyramids.
Here I am giving the “thumbs up” as I exited the Pyramid. I made it! I told everyone before I went in that if I passed away while I was inside to just leave me there. When they got home to celebrate a Memorial Mass and when everyone asked “where Father Chris was buried” to just tell them…”in the Great Pyramids of Giza”. I figured the standard response would be: “well, I know he always liked to do things up big, but this is rediculous!” Anyway, no need to worry, I made it out safe and sound!
Here I am standing in front of the Sphynx.
Here I am at the Tomb of President Anwar Sadat, the former President of Egypt, who was assassinated on October 6, 1981. Those of us who are old enough will remember that event very well. I recall watching it on television and thinking that if I ever went to Egypt I wanted to visit that place and we did!
The reviewing stand where Anwar Sadat was killed is directly across the street from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where Sadat is buried. It has remained unchanged and unused since his assassination in 1981.
A wide view of me in front of the reviewing stand.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the whole trip. This little puppy was huddled with 4 others at the door of a restaurant we ate lunch at in Cairo. I couldn’t resist picking him up for a little attention and a picture. He is very photogenic!! I am consulting with Father Peter and Father Pete to see if we can get a pet puppy for the rectory. I will keep you posted! Keep your fingers crossed!! I am just kidding of course. We don’t want this to turn into Saint Anthony of Padua Petting Zoo!
We’re getting closer to home! (photo of the map inside the airplane indicating our location).
32 minutes till touchdown! About this time we were bringing our seatbacks upright, stowing our tray tables and all of the other “stuff” that goes along with landing.
Our El Al 747-400 at the gate at JFK just after we landed. We’re home safe and sound! Thank God for a beautiful pilgrimage and THE TIME OF OUR LIVES!