Pilgrimages transform individuals and pilgrimages transform parishes: setting out on journeys unknown; discovering the heart of our salvation; experiencing renewal and new life in discipleship. I can safely assume that we live in a season where all souls are in sore need of freshness, transformation, and new life.

The Holy Land is the center of our faith, for here God’s greatest mysteries unfolded. As we see them with our own eyes these same mysteries will continue to unfold in us; we discover new truths about faith, God, and ourselves. Over ten days and from the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the very place of Christ’s Birth in Bethlehem to the ancient walls of Jerusalem, we will literally walk the Way of Jesus, and experience the Risen Christ. Following His Palm Sunday procession into Jerusalem and walking the Via Dolorosa are two moments that will never leave me or grow old: my own keeping of the Triduum will never again be the same.

Holy Land pilgrimages have a special significance for Anglo-Catholics, fluent as we are in understanding that God makes Himself known through the stuff of life – through bread, wine, water, oil – and also through particular places: “thin” places, where the veil between heaven and earth slips. Jerusalem is first amongst such shrines: grounded in gritty reality and humanity and yet, in some special sense, our soul’s truest home.

Pilgrimages are not vacations – they are altogether better and more glorious. But pilgrimages are also fun; and after the last two years fun is an elixir we all urgently need. Look forward to great food, happy times, and deeper relationships with friends known and unknown. If you are thinking about this, then I encourage you to step ahead: few people regret time spent in the Holy Land, and journeying deeper into this greatest mystery. This is open to anybody with an open heart, regardless of parish membership.

 

-Fr. Richard

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• January 20, 2022
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