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Holy Land: A Lasting Imprint

By Tony See On May 13, 2013No Comments

Celebrating Mass inside the tomb of Jesus

We went to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Our experiences of these nine days in Holy Land have left a lasting impression on our hearts. An imprint decidedly marked on our souls, his footprint on our path through life, his purpose on our journey in faith.

Words will never ever be able to describe how we all felt after the Ascension Day mass at the Tomb. It will never do our experience any justice. There was a pull on our soul, we did not want to let go. We did not want to come home. There was something in us, some indescribable feeling; a longing sensation to want to linger on in a presence.

Our experiences culminated at the Tomb of Jesus. We were more than happy; we were tasting joy. Our hearts had no worries, no concerns, not an ounce of stress; we were blissfully at peace. We were touched in our hearts, we felt healed of any unworthiness; we were embraced by love. It was a time of rejoice!

Part of us want to remain in Holy Land; to remain in this time of rejoice. Heaven

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Welcome

By Tony See On April 15, 20131 Comment

Welcome to our Landings Holy Land Pilgrimage blog.

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We are inspired as a community to go on this pilgrimage to mark the Year of Faith. The heart of Landings lies in our faith stories where returning Catholics re-discover God in the events of their life.

We want to physically walk the road to Emmaus as a symbolic offering for all Catholics away from Church, in the hope that one day, as they walk through the happenings of their life, they too will become aware of the presence of the Risen Lord walking with them!

We hope to help them reclaim their Catholic identity – an identity grown and formed from apostolic roots.

We will pray at sites of holy significance, and hope that when we behold the sights, the significance of our apostolic roots will dawn upon us and be echoed in our call to away Catholics: Come Home, for we are Rooted in Faith.

As it is, we are all pilgrims, sharing the path of life, all returning home.

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Recent Posts

Day Nine (Ascension Day): Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross), Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Caesarea Maritima, Church of St Peter and Church of St Anthony (both Jaffa), Departure home

By Tony See On May 12, 2013 No Comments
The Jerusalem Cross on the ceiling in St Pater's

The Jerusalem Cross on the ceiling in St Pater’s

Church of St Anthony, Jaffa, home of Fr Angelo

Church of St Anthony, Jaffa, home of Fr Angelo

Last meal in Israel

Last meal in Israel

Caesarea Maritima is by the Mediterranean Sea

Caesarea Maritima is by the Mediterranean Sea

At Caesarea Maritima

At Caesarea Maritima

The Tomb of Jesus

The Tomb of Jesus

Right inside the Tomb of Jesus where we celebrated mass

Right inside the Tomb of Jesus where we celebrated mass

Entering the compound of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Entering the compound of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Eight Station

The Eight Station

Along the Via Dolorosa

Along the Via Dolorosa

Station IX

Station IX

An early rise at five in the morning, and an uprising of our spirits! Never had a group of people woken up so excitedly to anticipate the blessings of a new day! We felt like the disciples rushing to the tomb. We will be having mass INSIDE the Tomb of Jesus!

This day, significantly, was also Ascension Day.

We began our journey to the tomb following the last footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, praying at each Station of the Cross. We were early, earlier than shopkeepers and peddlers, so we had the silence to contemplate the Passion of Our Lord through the narrow streets of the Old City. Between the day Jesus died on the cross and today; more than 2000 years have lapsed, the colossal institution of the Catholic Church had been established, and every detail of our faith explained with every doubt addressed, and we believed that He is Risen. Yet, the Spirit allowed us to grief at each station. Indeed, it is a blessing to be allowed to enter into His Passion.

It is a special privilege and a unique blessing to be allowed to enter His Tomb and to celebrate Mass in it!

Even in the Tomb we grieved; such is how human emotions and understanding trail spiritual reality. He is Risen and this is not a pilgrimage of suffering but a pilgrimage of Joy!

We emerged from the Tomb, wide-eyed like the disciples, still taking into account our experience and putting our emotions together. We immediately joined the Franciscan community in their High Mass with organ and 12th century Gregorian chant celebrating The Ascension of Our Lord! It was grand, beautiful, wonderful and magnificent!

We found ourselves at our highest spiritual point at the end of this mass. The grandeur of the celebration is what we were able to take in through human sight but beneath what we see, we experienced a giant stirring of our spiritual reality. The events of these past nine days, especially those of this morning, were coming together with a cumulative impact.

No amount of words, however expertly put together, will ever be able to describe and do justice to how we felt this morning. It challenged the extreme boundaries of being ‘very happy’ and being ‘so much at peace’ and to feel, know and to be embraced with ‘unconditional love’. It was a taste of heavenly joy. It was the biggest ‘God moment’ in our lives!

Each pilgrim did not want to let go. We wanted to remain in this spiritual realm. It was a wisdom that this was where my soul belongs. We were in God’s presence – a unique gift to us as we completed this pilgrimage.

And so we went down the sloppy roads of the Old City with tears of joy. Our pilgrimage was completed. We travelled to Caesarea Maritima where Sts Peter and Paul were on mission after Jesus ascended. We stopped to thank St Peter and St Anthony for interceding for us during our pilgrimage and headed for the airport. As we took off, we became the “Fifth Gospel” as Fr Angelo called us, to spread our Christian joy to all we meet on our pilgrimage through life.

We are coming home with our faith rooted in joy.

Some Videos

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
The stone where Jesus was laid on before he was put into the tomb
In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre waiting for the High Mass to begin
At Caesarea National Park – Roman Theatre in the South
Caesarea National Park – Promontory Palace – Video 1
Caesarea National Park – Promontory Palace – Video 2
Caesarea National Park – Promontory Palace – Video 3
Caesarea National Park – Promontory Palace – Video 4
Caesarea National Park – Promontory Palace – Video 5 – The Roman Well
Caesarea National Park – Another View of the Promontory Palace – Video 6
Caesarea National Park – Herodian Amphitheatre
Caesarea National Park – Bathhouse Complex
Caesarea National Park – Near the North End
Caesarea National Park – Another View Near the North
Caesarea National Park – Yet Another View Near the North
Lunch by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
After Lunch by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
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Catherine, Ivan & Irene
The Harbor “Sebastos”
Taking Pictures After Lunch by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
More Pictures Being Taken After Lunch by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
And More Pictures Being Taken by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
Laughing At Their Pictures After Lunch by the Mediterranean Sea at the Harbor “Sebastos”
Aqueduct, Caesarea
Outside Saint Peter’s Church, Jaffa
Another Video Outside Saint Peter’s Church, Jaffa




Day Eight: St Stephen’s Gate, Church of St Anne, Pools of Bethesda, Rest day

By Tony See On May 8, 2013 No Comments

with Fr Angelo in the compound of St Anne's

with Fr Angelo in the compound of St Anne’s

Inside St Anne's where acoustics are transcendent

Inside St Anne’s where acoustics are transcendent

The Pools

The Pools

Entrance to Pool of Bethesda

Entrance to Pool of Bethesda

The Pools

The Pools

St Stephen's Gate

St Stephen’s Gate

Coming home, rooted in Faith.

This was supposed to be a day of rest but we needed the mass! We went to the birthplace of Mary to the Church of St Anne and celebrated mass in a chapel there. In the reading we heard Genesis, when God called out to A and E, “Where are you?” This reading was not intentionally picked, and it became an echo of Fr Angelo’s very first question when we got to Emmaus. Where are you?

“The acoustics in this church are sublime, and listening to visiting groups who can really sing, is transcendent”, says our guide book. We sang, and our last note lingered, somewhat hanging in space. Our voices reverberated. It was as though the angels were singing back to us. Awesome.

Amazing Grace

It was here by St Anne’s where Jesus healed a man who was ill for 38 years by the Pools of Bethesda. It was at this mass that the pilgrims lifted up all the petitions we carried with us especially those that needed healing.

We had the afternoon off but here again was God’s great guiding hand. The police shut Jerusalem down from 1430 to 2100; no traffic allowed as protests were expected on this day, Jerusalem Day. Today we understood the many changes to our itinerary or why we even needed a day off. God knows.

The 86 year-old, founder-president of Guiding Star came on board to appreciate our visit to Holy Land and shared Christian joy with us. His main message was that as Christians we should regard this Holy Land as our first home. And it reverberated with our theme, “Coming home, rooted in faith”.

Again, God is present as a guiding hand in our lives. It is indeed a privilege.

Some More Videos

Amazing Grace
Holy Queen We Bend Before Thee
Kyrie
Alleluia
Regina Caeli
Outside St Anne’s Church
Outside Yad Vashem – Holocaust History Museum
Pass It On – After message from Gabriel inside our coach




Day Seven: Ein Karem at Church of The Visitation and birthplace of St John the Baptist, Israel Museum for Jerusalem model and Dead Sea Scrolls, Upper Room, Church of Dormition, Wailing Wall, Shrine of the Ascension, Church of Pater Noster, Grotto of Gethsemane, Tomb of the BVM, Holy Hour at Garden of Gethsemane

By Tony See On May 8, 2013 No Comments

Inside the Church of All Nations during Holy Hour. The slab of stone is where Jesus prayed on that night.

Inside the Church of All Nations during Holy Hour. The slab of stone is where Jesus prayed on that night.

The Garden of Olives

The Garden of Olives

In the Pater Noster where Jesus taught the "Our Father"

In the Pater Noster where Jesus taught the “Our Father”

Church of Al Nations in Gethsemane

Church of Al Nations in Gethsemane

Shrine of the Ascension

Shrine of the Ascension

Church of the Dormition

Church of the Dormition

in the Upper Room

in the Upper Room

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Along the Wailing Wall

Along the Wailing Wall

Model of Jerusalem, Israel Museum

Model of Jerusalem, Israel Museum

Church of St John the Baptist

Church of St John the Baptist

The grotto where St John the Baptist was born

The grotto where St John the Baptist was born

The grotto where St John the Baptist was born

The grotto where St John the Baptist was born

At St John the Baptst

At St John the Baptst

Down the hill from the Church

Down the hill from the Church

At the entance - Magnificat

At the entance – Magnificat

Roses are Mary

Roses are Mary

The courtyard with the Magnificat in many languages.

The courtyard with the Magnificat in many languages.

The Church of The Visitation, Ein Karem

The Church of The Visitation, Ein Karem

Down the hill from the Church

Down the hill from the Church

“The child in her womb leapt with joy”. For us pilgrims we have felt privileged to be here and like a child we too have leapt with joy at each blessed site.

Ein Karem was magnificent. The church atop a hill had the Magnificat in more than 40 languages in the courtyard. We celebrated mass here and like at every Marian site the emotion is charged up as would when the child meets the mother. We begin to pour out a bit of our sorrows.

Jerusalem, O Jerusalem! We had waited a long time to enter Jerusalem; an eager anticipation and heightened expectations. This is busy and bustling and like any big city the pace picks up. Somehow we missed the lazy, rolling knolls of Galilee. I think Jesus did too.

We had a busy day going to so many shrines, all very near but through heavy traffic. Today is a tougher day to recollect. We search for calm and for peace but they are more elusive here.

We found it in the Upper Room where Jesus gave us the Mass as a memorial of Him, and the Holy Spirit flowed. We sang “Come, Holy Spirit”. Deep in us we desired for our lives to change. This pilgrimage has made us fall in love with the Word.

Inspired we walked back into the crowds, picking up experiences and over loading our spiritual senses which had no time to settle. The beautiful Church of Dormition where our Blessed Mother died was grand and here again our devotion was in the Marian hymns we sang. Ave Maria!

Then we went on to the Wailing Wall and paused at the Shrine of the Ascension as we remember we celebrate on the day we leave Holy Land for home. Jesus left too, for heaven.

We arrived at the Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught us how to pray. We went on to the Grotto of Gethsemane where Judas betrayed Jesus and then prayed at the Tomb of our Blessed Mother.

It has been a very busy day with everything happening so fast but again so were the footsteps of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. As we follow his footsteps, we struggle along to share everything he himself experienced. Jerusalem is meant to be such.

After dinner, as night fell, we entered the Garden of Gethsemane. Here 8 olive trees have lived since Jesus’ time, more than 2000 years ago. This is not a public place and we were privileged to enter as we had Fr Angelo! We went into the Church of All Nations and spent contemplative time with the Blessed Sacrament. Indeed, this was our Holy Hour.

It is a privileged to be here, a privileged to follow the footsteps of Jesus in our life.

Some Videos

Praise Her With A Flower – Church of the Visitation
Outside the Visitation Church
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 1
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 2
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 3
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 4
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 5
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 6
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 7
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 8
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 9
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 10
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 11
Israel Museum For Jerusalem Model – Video 12
Ave Maria – Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hail Mary – Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Silent Prayer – Tomb of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Walking towards the Wailing Wall – Video 1
Walking towards the Wailing Wall – Video 2
Approaching the Wailing Wall
At the Wailing Wall – Video 1
At the Wailing Wall – Video 2
Outside the Grand Court Hotel in Jerusalem
The Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony
The Garden of Gethsemane
Holy Hour inside the Church of All Nations




An excerpt of Gethsemane reflection from http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/cw/post.php?id=492

By EdrisBoey On May 7, 2013 No Comments

After Jesus arrives in the garden with his disciples, he withdraws from them (Lk 22:41). He goes off by himself to pray, separating himself even from his closest companions. Christ’s whole life is a prayer, but this night before his passion is one of several instances in which he isolates himself to pray. Doing so provides an example for us. We should try to live our whole lives as a prayer, but there is still a need for intense moments of deep prayer, where we set aside everything else and focus exclusively on God.

As he starts to pray, Christ addresses God as “Abba” (Mk 14:36). While this term is often translated as “Father,” it is more accurately described as meaning “Daddy.” Abba is an intimate and affectionate term that a child would use for his daddy. It is startling to see Christ, who is God incarnate, using this term in prayer. As he kneels in the garden, preparing to embrace his passion and death, he utters this personal cry of a trusting child to his beloved parent. In the most difficult and frightening part of his life, Jesus throws himself with complete confidence and trust upon the love of his daddy. We can learn from this and apply it to our own prayer. As creatures coming before our Creator, we are approaching a Being to whom we are infinitely in debt, yet the prayer of Christ invites us to address God not as slaves addressing an oppressive master but as children addressing a loving parent. Christ bridges the infinite gap between human and divine, welcoming us into a relationship with God that is not distant and fearful, but rather, loving and deeply personal.

Jesus asks his heavenly Father to “Let this cup pass from me” (Mt 26:39). He is bold in presenting his wishes and desires. He does not hold back, but offers up his requests directly and without shame. We can learn from Christ. Sometimes we hold back, withholding our intentions because we are afraid to ask for what we really want. But God already knows the deepest desires of our hearts. We should not be afraid to ask our loving Father for what we want. We should bring our petitions before the Lord openly and honestly, trusting him to provide.

Of course, along with boldness in presenting our requests, we must keep in mind the next part of Christ’s prayer, “Yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Mt 26:39). After openly making his petitions known, Jesus immediately expresses his acceptance of the Father’s will over his own. He is completely dedicated to carrying out God’s will in his life, even if it is not the path he would have wanted for himself. And the commitment he voices in the garden is confirmed in his actions, as he lives out this acceptance of God’s will. The cup of suffering is not taken away from him, so he drinks it in full, obedient to the point of death. In doing so, he teaches us willingness to follow the Father’s plan even if it does not align with our own. In our prayers, we should ask God for what we want, but we should also fully embrace his will for our lives, trusting him without reservation.

As Christ finishes his prayer, an angel from heaven appears to strengthen him (Lk 22:43). The Father hears the prayers of his beloved Son, and he answers them. He does not take away Christ’s suffering and death because they are part of his divine plan for the salvation of the world. But although he does not give Jesus what he had so boldly requested, he does hear him and answer him. He sends an angel to strengthen Jesus so that he can carry out his difficult calling. In the same way, God always hears us when we pray. He may not answer us in the way that we want him to, but we can be confident that he listens to us. If God in his loving wisdom and providence calls us to suffer, we can trust that he will give us the strength to carry out his will, just as he did for Christ in the garden. We are his beloved children, and he always hears us and answers us according to his divine will, which we can never fully comprehend.




Day Six: Bethany, Basilica of the Nativity, Grotto of Nativity, Shepherd’s Field

By Tony See On May 7, 2013 No Comments

Under this dome, we sounded like angels singing on a high.

Under this dome, we sounded like angels singing on a high.

The Chapel of Angels

The Chapel of Angels

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Inside the Chapel of Angels

Inside the Chapel of Angels

We venerated the spot where Jesus was born

We venerated the spot where Jesus was born

Eager faces waiting to enter grotto

Eager faces waiting to enter grotto

Pilgrims at the grotto entrance

Pilgrims at the grotto entrance

The queue to the grotto. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes

The queue to the grotto. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes

Chapel of Blessed Sacrament in St Catherine's next to Basilica of Nativity. We celebrated mass here before visiting the grotto where Jesus was born.

Chapel of Blessed Sacrament in St Catherine’s next to Basilica of Nativity. We celebrated mass here before visiting the grotto where Jesus was born.

icon of Lazarus emerging from tomb

icon of Lazarus emerging from tomb

Home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary

Home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary

In Lazarus' garden

In Lazarus’ garden

mustard seed plant

mustard seed plant

icon of Lazarus emerging from tomb

icon of Lazarus emerging from tomb

Lazarus Tomb

Lazarus Tomb

And the Word was made flesh.

Our visit to the Grotto where Jesus was born was certainly the spiritual high of the day. It was a wait of more than two hours but a wait filled with patience while we contemplated what this divine moment in time meant to each of us. When our moment came, one word described it, “Awesome”.

The day began travelling from the low, physically, as the Dead Sea is much below sea level, to high as we headed to Bethany. It signified our encounter with Jesus in our journey through life that will lead us from lows to highs. We visited the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha and meditated on their lives so as to alter ours to also become true friends of Jesus.

At the tomb of Lazarus, we pictured the fifth scrutiny and gave thanks for this community that we have. Lazarus was unbound by his friends and for all of us in our growth in faith, we need each other to help and support us to liberate ourselves from sin.

From Bethany we entered Bethlehem singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” in the bus. It was a day of singing, a day of rejoicing! We celebrated mass at the Church of St Catherine in the Blessed Sacrament chapel next to the Basilica.

We moved into the open at Shepherd’s Field where angels gathered on that first Christmas night. We gathered in the Chapel of Angels and joined in with the chorus of angels, singing and singing. We could not stop.

We ended the day with some ‘shopping therapy’ at a store owned by Arab Christians. Here, as well, we couldn’t stop.

Some Videos

In His Time – Pilgrims Singing At The Santuary of Bethany, Church of Lazarus
What A Friend We Have In Jesus – At The Santuary of Bethany, Church of Lazarus
Majesty – The Chapel of Blessed Sacrament in St Catherine’s next to Basilica of Nativity
Joy To The World – The Chapel of Blessed Sacrament in St Catherine’s
Silent Night
Inside the Basilica of the Nativity
The Grotto Of Nativity
Gloria In Excelsis Deo – The Shepherd’s Field
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 1
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 2
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 3
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 4-In A Cave
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 5-In A Cave
Excavations of 4th, 5th, 6th Century Byzantine Church and Monastery-Video 6-Open Air
Noel – Church of Shepherd’s Field
Angels We Have Heard On High – Church of Shepherd’s Field
Silent Night – Church of Shepherd’s Field
O Come Let Us Adore Him – Church of Shepherd’s Field
Alleluia – Church of Shepherd’s Field
Kyrie – Church of Shepherd’s Field
Shopping in Bethlehem on 6th May 2013




Day Five: Jacob’s Well, Baptismal Site of Jesus, View of Temptation of Christ Monastery, Sycamore Tree, Church of Good Shepherd Jericho, Dead Sea

By Tony See On May 6, 2013 No Comments
Mt Temptation. Enlarge to view the Monastery of the Temptation of Christ

Mt Temptation. Enlarge to view the Monastery of the Temptation of Christ

towards Jericho

towards Jericho

At the foot of Mt Temptation. 40 days in this?

At the foot of Mt Temptation. 40 days in this?

Baptismal site of our Lord

Baptismal site of our Lord

Icon of the historic meeting

Icon of the historic meeting

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The Greek Orthodox church built over the Well.

The Greek Orthodox church built over the Well.

At Jacob's Well

At Jacob’s Well

Visualising the terrain for sheep and shepherd

Visualising the terrain for sheep and shepherd

We started this day buoyant in spirit.

We went into Samaria, cutting deep into the Palestinian West Bank, to Jacob’s Well. It was a journey through rugged, desert terrain. Occasionally we would spot a shepherd and his flock and receive a visual lesson of what Jesus meant by being shepherd and sheep.

The Church built over Jacob’s Well is a beautiful, Greek Orthodox Church but the big surprise of today was that we could still draw water from it! ‘Living water’ was cool and rejuvenating to our spirit.

We went on towards Jericho and stopped by Qasr El Yahud to renew our baptismal vows on the bank of the River Jordan, on the site where Jesus was baptised. We all wanted to feel the waters of the Jordan on us, not so for novelty sake, for here a Spirit was moving, to re-affirm our relationship with God.

We continued on to the foot of Mt Temptation to view from afar the Temptation of Christ Monastery. The desert terrain continued to speak to us. Here was barren land with nothing growing. It was hot, really hot. Somehow in this great nothingness, God seem to be present.

We had lunch at a very busy, bazaar like place and imagined a market place in the time of Jesus before moving on to view the Sycamore Tree. This pilgrimage has been a journey towards growth in faith and here we prayed for the ‘Zacchaeus’ in our lives; for those rich in material and even in knowledge, that this abundance will not act as an obstacle to God.

We had mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd and piecing all our experiences together, we realised that in the journey of the lost sheep back to its fold, there is first, the journey of the shepherd in search of the sheep. From the visuals provided by the rugged terrain, the shepherd must take risks and spend time and lots of energy, even endangering his life to go in search. At mass, we celebrated this true love of Christ for us – a love which we now embraced to do likewise.

We ended the day buoyant in body, floating in the Dead Sea.

No Video




Day Four: On the Sea of Galilee, Mt Tabor, Kursi, Jesus’ Boat, Mt of Beatitudes

By Tony See On May 4, 2013 No Comments
Our flag over the Sea of Galilee

Our flag over the Sea of Galilee

Meditation of storms on a calm sea

Meditation of storms on a calm sea

The shores of Galilee

The shores of Galilee

Mt Tabor

Mt Tabor

Towards the Church

Towards the Church

Church for the Transfiguration

Church for the Transfiguration

Beautiful inside

Beautiful inside

Moses

Moses

Sea of Galilee is 210m  below sea level

Sea of Galilee is 210m below sea level

Landings Tree

Landings Tree

A Greek god

A Greek god

Hot Kursi

Hot Kursi

Jesus' Boat

Jesus’ Boat

We aspire to follow

We aspire to follow

View from Church of the Beatitudes

View from Church of the Beatitudes

We had an early morning sail of the Sea of Galilee where so many things happened that long ago. We meditated on the storms in our life, and contemplated walking on water. In both we were swept away and drowned. In the quiet calm upon the Sea of Galilee we realised that in Jesus, we trust.

The physical landscape by the shores of Galilee is beautiful country. The grassy hills with gentle slopes and the mountain tops bring to life the physical terrain of Jesus’ ministry in this area.

So it was up the mountain next for us. Mt Tabor was the scene of the Transfiguration. We celebrated a very solemn mass. We have had four masses and every mass had a different tone, a different message. To me today, God is saying, “Know that I am your God”. I gave thanks for the transformation of so many of our lives.

It was then down to the basin and a long travel to Kursi but to be honest, and speaking for myself, I experienced more of the dessert heat than I did the Gospel.

We went on to a museum to view a boat from the time of Jesus. This is more than 2000 years old and yet as we stand there to marvel the find, we found ourselves marvelling Jesus’ presence in our lives. It is just like recounting our faith stories and be touched by events in the past except that this stretches quite a bit…..till the time of Jesus!

We have had many experiences over the past 4 days and coupled with the searing heat we needed cooling off and recollecting all our experiences. We went back up the mountain to be alone with our thoughts. We revisited Mt Beatitudes and spent an hour in solitude.

Jesus, we trust in you.

Some Videos

Amazing Grace – In A Boat On The Sea Of Galilee
Shalom – In A Boat On The Sea Of Galilee
Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace – Basilica of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor
Sea Level – Sea of Galilee is 210m below sea level




Day 3: Mount Beatitudes, Tabgha, Primacy of Peter, Golan Heights, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum

By Tony See On May 3, 2013 No Comments

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P1030751We started the day ‘happy’ – a happiness defined by Jesus in the Beatitudes. We celebrated a beautiful mass at 8am in the garden on the slopes of Mount Beatitudes. The birds were even chirping after each Beatitude!

“Happy are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

We took a short drive to Tabgha where the multiplication of the fishes and loaves took place. We were impressed by the old mosaic. But the realisation that our own gifts and talents are little mosaic tiles on their own that will make up a grand picture when offered was a lasting impression.

And then it was on to the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the spot where the Risen Lord prepared breakfast for the disciples. We had the opportunity to feel the cool waters of the sea, the waters that commissioned us to be fishers of men.

We went on to the Golan Heights to see the famous rock of Peter on which Christ built the Church. We did not know how massive it was until it greeted us. Huge. Looking at the rock, we understood immediately that our Church will not fall!

Our last stop was in the town of Capernaum where Jesus spent a lot of time in his ministry. We were in a synagogue where Jesus was sharing about the bread of life. It is here too that we entered Peter’s house. Ancient stones coming to life!

It had been a really hot day today but as Fr Angelo said, Jesus must have liked the heat otherwise he would have chosen to go to Hawaii. So happy are those who sweat for they shall experience him!

A Video

The Summons – Mount of Beatitudes




Day Two: Mt Carmel, Stella Maris, Carmelite Monastery, Basilica of The Annunciation, St Joseph Church and Cana

By Tony See On May 2, 2013 No Comments

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Stella Maris Church

Stella Maris Church

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Chapel of Elijah

Chapel of Elijah

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Top of Mt Carmel

Top of Mt Carmel

It is only the second day. The sites have been very overwhelming. At the end of this pilgrimage we run the risk of being spiritually overcharged equivalent to an electric shock! Such has been the impact for many of us pilgrims.

The day started in quiet meditation atop Mount Carmel in the Chapel of Elijah. It is a place of the prophets perhaps encouraging us to be prophetic witnesses of the Gospel. We went through Haifa with its quaint sidewalk cafes suggesting a more hip lifestyle. At the Stella Maris we sang the Hail Mary in front of Elijah’s cave and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It was the best Hail Mary I ever prayed. The acoustics made us sound heavenly!

The Basilica was impressive enough in architecture but here was the place salvation was conceived, where divinity embraced humanity. At this realisation, we all knelt in awe.

Walking the streets of Nazareth was unlike walking in any other place for here was the very town that Jesus grew up in. We visited St Joseph Church and wondered if we stepped on the very spot he step on as he learned to be a carpenter or when he grew to become our salvation.

Our last stop was at Cana where 6 couples among us renewed our marriage vows. Ivan and Irene are adult converts and after 32 years they had this opportunity to celebrate their vows in a church – and this church just happens to be the Wedding Church in Cana!

For us it had been another blessed day!

Some Videos

Nicole singing Regina Caeli
Bahai on Mt. Carmel
Ave Maria




Day One: Emmaus

By Tony See On May 1, 2013 No Comments

As we boarded the plane there was a very strong sense that this community had taken another step forward in its growth. We had been pleasantly surprised to see so many sending us off. As we sat in the plane, the reality that we were off to Holy Land finally sunk in.

We had a restful flight with the only excitement at Istanbul airport where the 3 hour stopover allowed us to stretch our legs, down some really strong coffee and sample the buffet of Turkish delight. Simple pleasures.

The happy pilgrims landed in the Promised Land at 1120 local time. As the plane flew in to land, I looked out the window and surveyed the land below. I felt in me that I have a history here.

We were met by Fr Angelo at the airport and on the bus for lunch, any doubts about this not being a pilgrimage quickly vanished. We were praying a lot. We said grace 3 times! Fr claims he has “infancy Alzheimer’s”!

We visited Emmaus and celebrated Mass within the ruins of the old church. It was a great spiritual experience just being there identifying with the two disciples and then celebrating the breaking of bread….right here at Emmaus!

We went on to Tiberius which was a 2 and half hour bus ride. There is a physical beauty about Israel. Tiberius greeted us quite spectacularly. From atop the hill it was an enchanting sight to behold. Tiberius nestled by the shore of the Sea of Galilee was surrounded by rolling hills. The bus had to make a 200 metre descend and as we took in the beauty, we saw it was all so possible for Jesus to be teaching on the hill slopes.

We had now travelled for more than a day. An early night and a welcomed rest.

Click here for photos by Vincent.

Some Videos

Baptistry Chapel – Emmaus
Within the ruins of the old church at Emmaus
Tiberias – Video 1
Tiberias – Video 2