A pilgrimage in the footsteps of Mary is a deeply personal spiritual experience that takes you straight into the heart of the gospel to acquaint you with the mother of Jesus and allow you to discover the divine mysteries. Gaining in-depth personal insights about Mary perfectly rounds out the gospels, and when equipped with a better understanding of the Mother, you will gain even more profound knowledge of the son.
With Easter behind them, Catholics worldwide are preparing for Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (Acts 2, 1-4). In Jerusalem the feast is celebrated at Hagia Maria Sion Abbey on Mount Zion. Its unique blue conical roof, four ornamented towers and landmark clock tower make it an architectural gem. The basilica is a German Benedictine church completed in 1910 and built over the ruins of a Byzantine church, the Hagia Sion basilica and a 12th century Crusader church - Santa Maria in Monte Sion.
The period of Lent is drawing to a close, and both the local Christians and thousands of pilgrims who have come to the Holy City are getting ready to celebrate Holy Week and its culmination on Easter Sunday – the most important time of the Christian liturgical year.
There is nothing like experiencing Holy Week in Jerusalem. Celebrating the greatest events of salvation history and of Jesus’ life at the very sites where they occurred is a moving and unforgettable experience of faith for all believers.
What did Jerusalem look like when Jesus was alive?
The Israel Ministry of Tourism recently invited an ecumenical delegation of Indian church leaders to celebrate Lent in Israel. The delegation was headed by Mumbai Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias. The objective of the visit was to foster good relations between India's Christian community and the State of Israel and to promote tourism between the two countries.
Providing nourishment for the people is of great concern to God, so much so that He commanded in Leviticus:
“And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you leket (gather) every grape of your vineyard: you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:10
And in Matthew 15:32:
And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they ... have nothing to eat.
While the Holy Land enjoys a constant flow of pilgrims visiting its holy sites throughout the year, it is not every day that it welcomes a single group of 700 visitors. The Catholic pilgrims from Venice – who filled three planes and 14 buses – were accompanied by Cardinal Angelo Scola, former Patriarch of Venice and now Archbishop of Milan, and Bishop Beniamino Pizziol, currently Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Venice.
John the Baptist is especially remembered for his baptismal ministry on the shores of the Jordan River. But the Gospel of Luke tells us that John first “grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.” (Luke 1:80)