Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thank You!

Thank you to all those who followed this blog during the pilgrimage to the Holy Land and afterwards for our newspaper coverage and the columns by Archbishop Tobin!

Though there will be no more future posts, this blog will remain archived permanently for all who wish to browse through its contents--keep in mind that the posts are in reverse chronological order, so to rewind to the beginning of the pilgrimage go to the last post.

Final Columns by Archbishop Tobin

Here are the final two Lenten/Easter Columns in which Archbishop Tobin discusses the pilgrimage to the Holy Land:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Life for Catholics in Holy Land involves persecution and economic hardship
From Natalie Hoefer at The Criterion:
GALILEE and JERUSALEM REGIONS OF ISRAEL—The Azraq family roots dig deep into the soil of Old City Jerusalem.

“Our house is about 300 years old,” says Anton “Tony” Azraq, 39, a Melkite Catholic who has lived in Old City Jerusalem his whole life. “It’s built on top of a previous structure that goes back to the 12th century, to the Crusader time.”

His family name, which means “blue” in Arabic, goes back much further, to the seventh century when Muslims invaded the Holy Land and made Christians wear blue belts for easy identification.

But such deep Christian roots are at the risk of being severed in the Holy Land. Wars, laws, a poor economy and the high cost of living are driving Christians from the land where Christ began the Church.

This story looks at life in the Holy Land through the eyes of two Catholic Christians—Azraq, who served as tour guide for the archdiocesan pilgrimage, and Alfred Ra’ad, a shop owner in Old City Jerusalem.
Read the rest of the story here

Related: Tour guide gives pilgrims cultural, historical and archaeological insight on Scripture

More Quotes from Pilgrims

Pilgrims reflect on visit to Jerusalem

More Columns from Archbishop Tobin

The latest columns from Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin that refer to the Holy Land pilgrimage:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Catholics in central and southern Indiana can help keep a Christian presence in the Holy Land
From Natalie Hoefer at The Criterion:
After 11 days on the archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I believe that were it not for the presence of the Franciscan order as pilgrimage site custodians, the Christian presence would all but evaporate from the region.

For centuries, the Franciscans have maintained the properties of numerous shrines, chapels and churches in the Holy Land, making them available for pilgrims to visit for veneration, prayer and spiritual renewal.

So what can we in central and southern Indiana do about the situation for our brother and sister Christians in the Holy Land?
Read the rest of the story here

A land of calm and chaos: Holy Land pilgrimage observations
Natalie Hoefer writes:
The sky was clear as we sat in the wooden boat that plied the waters of the Sea of Galilee. I inhaled deeply then exhaled slowly, taking in the view.

To the east and the north, green hills continued their watch as they did in the time of Christ. To the west, the mountains of Jordan seemed to slumber in a shroud of mist.

Such a peaceful feeling it was, riding upon the lake in the early morning quiet.

Yet thanks to the small size of the “sea” (33 miles long by 13 miles wide), its shallow depth and its location between two mountain ranges which trap weather systems, a storm on that same placid lake can create waves as high as 12 feet, large enough to swamp the Apostles’ boat and cause them to cry out, “Lord, save us!” (Mt 8:25)

That contrast of calm and chaos on the Sea of Galilee is an apt analogy to describe the Holy Land in general.

It is a land where views like the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea and the lush vista from Mount Tabor can produce such serenity, yet where religious, ethnic and political differences create a palpable tension that seems ready to combust at any moment.

One simply can’t walk away from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land without spiritual growth.
Read the rest of this story