Tag Archive for: Holy Land

Capernaum in Galilee – Holy Land

Come on a journey with us to this town on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, which was at the center of Our Lord’s public ministry. This fishing port and market for merchants was also where St. Peter lived. It was the town where Jesus invited Matthew the tax collector; “Follow me.”

Experience this bustling village where a number of the apostles lived, where Jesus announced the Holy Eucharist, and where he healed and taught.

We will take you to Peter’s house, travel down the Via Maris, and go to the synagogue where Jesus went on the Sabbath day.

Cana of Galilee – Holy Land

Join us as we take a spiritual pilgrimage to Cana in the Galilee region of the Holy Land. We will visit the Wedding Church built over the site of the famous Wedding Feast attended by Jesus, his Mother, and his apostles; where the changing of water into wine took place.

During this program, also discover:

  • the significance of the Wedding at Cana
  • what it’s like to travel as a pilgrim to Cana
  • spiritual insights for our daily lives from Jesus’ first miracle

Listening… In A Noisy World!

Have you ever said to yourself, If only I can get away for some quiet time! or, Is anyone listening?

I certainly have! These questions usually arise in our thoughts when we want some peace, some quiet time after experiencing a full schedule, or a trial, or simply being busy!

Once when I was in the Holy Land on pilgrimage, among the many wonderful and amazing experiences, one was spending time in the Garden of Gethsemane—where Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples when he visited Jerusalem, and where he prayed his hour of agony the night he was arrested; resulting in his Passion.

Today, a large basilica is built next to ancient olive trees that date to the time of Jesus. They are often called the Silent witnesses of Christ’s Agony. Upon entering the Basilica of the Agony, one sees a large area of rock in front of the main altar. This is where Christ prayed his hour of agony, where he sweat blood, and prayed for the will of his Heavenly Father. Imagine sitting in this church commemorating this whole experience—with its mosaics depicting the scenes of the Bible related to his agony and arrest. The light streaming through the alabaster glass windows sheds a somber light in the church, inviting the visitor to ponder what happened here 2,000 years ago.


As I sat, I realized how much I longed for some quiet time with God. To speak with him, and at the same time was hoping for an inspiration from him. The noises of traffic, guides shouting, tourists and pilgrims moving about, and cameras clicking, seemed so distracting at such a holy site.

Yes, it was challenging to attempt to remain silent… You know what helped me?

What helped me were the sacred art, along with my act of touching the very stone where Jesus sweat blood! The large stone area is surrounded by a short, iron crown of thorns. I knelt and bent over the iron crown to kiss the stone, placing both of my hands on the cool, rough rock. I thought, This is where YOU, Lord, prayed for the Father’s will! This is where YOU sweat blood! Help me to listen! While I heard many people around me, the chattering of visitors, traffic noise… that moment seemed to be an eternal moment for me. There seemed to be inner peace. Later, I took some time to sit and simply see the sacred art; the mosaics of Jesus praying, being arrested, even the altar’s shape is that of a chalice.

Leaving this holy place, I thought of sharing this, hoping that others can also be encouraged to seek some quiet time with the Lord. It is possible!

How?

  • Sacred images or art can help us ponder the mysteries of our faith. For example: A stained glass window of a biblical scene can easily help us begin meditating on that Bible passage.
  • Holding or touching a crucifix or a statute can also be helpful. Think about the story in the Gospel of Luke 8 of the woman with the hemorrhage who simply touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed! Jesus tells her it was her faith that healed her!
  • Begin with a desire for some quiet time with the Lord. Ask for a deepened faith. And be consistent. Go to him… in faith and in silence!

Pilgrim Center of Hope is here to help guide you to encounter Christ, so as to live in hope as a pilgrim in daily life. For some quiet moments, we invite you to come visit our 7 acres in the middle of northwest San Antonio. Or, visit our website for more spiritual tools.

Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Church of Pater Noster – Jerusalem

Come along with Robert Rodriguez & Angela Sealana to a holy site on the Mount of Olives where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray. During this program:

  • learn about the significance of the Mount of Olives in the public ministry of Jesus Christ
  • we will look at the Scriptural references to the moment and place our Lord taught the Apostles the Lord’s Prayer
  • you will learn about the history of the exact site, a cave grotto, where Jesus shared the Our Father, praying it in Aramaic
  • We will delve into the meaning of this beautiful prayer and how it relates to our daily lives

Upper Room – Jerusalem

Join Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox as they guide you on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Upper Room, the holy place where early Christians received the Holy Spirit.  This is also the site where the Universal Church was born on Pentecost. During this program you will:

  • virtually travel to this sacred destination in the southwestern area of Jerusalem
  • reflect on the important events that took place here, including Pentecost – the birth of the Universal Church
  • gain a new appreciation for the Holy Eucharist and for the Catholic Church
  • learn about how the events that took place in the Upper Room relate to you today

Jewel for the Journey:
He pours light into our minds, arouses our desire and gives us strength. He gives us light, that we may see; rouses us, that we may will; strengthens us that we may bring about the good which we desire. From His richness our tears spring, through it our minds know compunction, our sins are confessed. As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.— St. Peter Damian

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Church of St. Peter’s Primacy

This week on Journeys of Hope, we’re journeying to the Sea of Galilee’s shoreline where Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” and charged him with the care of the early Church. Join Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox for this special spiritual pilgrimage to a place of mercy and healing.

 During this hour – we will:

  • Describe how this spot looked at the time of Christ and how it is today
  • Look at the scripture story that refers to this site (John 21) about the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus cooking breakfast for the disciples, the meaning of the charcoal fire, and Jesus addressing Peter directly for the first time since his denial.
  • Apply this to our everyday life.

Jewel for the Journey:
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know him and to speak to others of our friendship with him.         – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

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St. Helena Chapel – Holy Sepulcher Church

This week on Journeys of Hope, we’re journeying to Jerusalem where the Cross of Christ was discovered by the mother of Emperor Constantine, St. Helena! Join Angela Sealana & Robert Rodriguez for this timely and meaningful visit to what is the holiest site in all of Christendom.

 During this hour – we will:

  • Learn about Constantine the Great and the story of how his devout mother, Helena, discovered the Cross of Christ in Jerusalem
  • We’ll take you inside the ancient Chapel of St. Helena built on the spot, which is part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • & look at the hope for healing and freedom that this story teaches us for our lives today.

Jewel for the Journey:
May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of His glorious day. A day that knows no end.
– Pope Francis, from his Urbi et Orbi Easter 2020 message

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… Listen to the archived audio recording on our website, ASAP!

When I First Kissed the Empty Tomb

Looking into the inner chamber of the Tomb of Christ in the modern day; on the right is the place where his Body was laid

We are in the Easter Season – the Catholic Church’s 50-day liturgical season. It’s a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and it’s my favorite season in the Church’s calendar year. The scripture readings proclaimed every day during Mass are about Jesus’ resurrection, his apparitions before his ascension to heaven, his promises, and the beginning of the early Church. It also reminds me of the Holy Land.

When Tom and I first traveled to Jerusalem several years ago, we were searching to learn more about the land of the Bible, about the land where Jesus walked. While in Jerusalem, we were able to attend Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher that is built over the Tomb of Christ, Calvary, and the surrounding area. After Mass, we had the opportunity to enter a large marble edifice built over the ancient tomb of Jesus. Upon entering, there is a small chamber called the Chamber of the Angel, where the angel stood and addressed Mary Magdalene and the others, “He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6). Then you must bow very low to enter a smaller area where five persons can fit in tightly. To your right, you see the place where the body of Jesus was placed, wrapped in linen cloth.

Edifice surrounding the Tomb of Christ

Here is where Jesus was raised from the dead, where the resurrection occurred! You can imagine the feelings we felt as we touched this place, and recalled the Gospel stories in our minds. We knelt and kissed where his body laid, we placed our arms on this stone slab, and thanked God for this moment! We thanked God for allowing us to kiss his empty tomb. I remember thinking, “Lord, you know we are here!” It was as if time stood still for us both, recalling what occurred there 2,000 years ago! What indeed occurred there affected us and millions of others.

Even after visiting the Holy Land numerous times, leading pilgrims on pilgrimages; our time spent in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher is always a highlight, as it would be for any Christian! Our pilgrim groups have Mass in the Tomb, we read the resurrection story from the Gospel, we pray, and we receive Eucharist in the Tomb. After leaving the Tomb, we are filled with great joy, with peace. Does it remain with us? Yes! If we continue to follow him in our daily lives.

When I am distraught, or experiencing a trial; I remember my time in the empty Tomb! I will call upon the Risen Lord and recall my time in his empty tomb and other sites in the Holy Land where he lived.

Whenever you need to be reminded of his presence under dire circumstances, think about your favorite scripture story, or a spiritual experience that reminds you of his presence.


Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

Dormition Abbey – Jerusalem

Come along with Mary Jane Fox & Robert Rodriguez to one of Jerusalem’s most recognizable holy sites. During this episode of Journeys of Hope we will travel to Dormition Abbey, located on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, just outside of the Old City walls.

The Dormition church & monastery occupy the site traditionally believed to be where the Virgin Mary fell into a deep sleep and was assumed into heaven. Aside from describing this shrine to Blessed Mother, which contains a reclining sculpture of Mary and several sacred art mosaics, we will also discuss the Assumption of Our Lady, which is celebrated on August 15.

Jewel for the Journey:
By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal good we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful.  — Pope Benedict XVI

 

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Milk Grotto – Bethlehem

This week Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox will take a virtual pilgrimage to Milk Grotto, not far from the Church of the Nativity and Manger Square in Bethlehem. Officially called Magharet Sitti Mariam or the Grotto of the Lady Mary, tradition holds that the Holy Family took refuge in this grotto (hollowed out of limestone) on their way to Egypt as they were fleeing the Slaughter of the Innocents.

It is believed that while nursing the infant Jesus a few drops of Mary’s milk fell upon the yellowish-brown stone and turned it to white. During this program you will learn more about this sacred destination and why it is frequented by new mothers and women who are trying to conceive.

Jewel for the Journey:
Christmas isn’t just a temporal celebration or the memory of a beautiful event; Christmas is more…Christmas is an encounter!  — Pope Francis

Link to Guardian of the Redeemer – St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation on St. Joseph:
http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_15081989_redemptoris-custos.html

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Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org for more information.