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SCO in the Holy Land: Day Three—River Jordan and Sea of Galilee

A journal of the national pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the Year of Faith covering Wednesday October 9

TODAY’S itinerary listed the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, which really did not do the magical adventure we set out on justice.

The scenic bus journey from Nazereth to the River Jordan dropped us below sea level into a lush, fertile land from—in spite of roads and street lights—Biblical times.

And the heat of the day kicked in.

The number of pilgrim groups we encountered in this area was far greater than on previous days. Northampton and Essex dioceses were here, as were pilgrims from the Greek Orthodox Church. Nonetheless, the renewal of our Baptismal promises here with Fr Reynolds was truly moving, even if the bravest of the group only went paddling in the river, as opposed to full submersion.

On top Capharnaum for Mass at St Peter’s, via an unplanned detour, and in spite of our able clergy, the absence of Archbishop Tartaglia, delayed in transit from the UK, was felt most keenly here. He was missing so much from what should have been his first visit to the home of St Peter.

Lunch of St Peter’s fish by the Sea of Galilee (above) could not have been more apt, even for those who, afraid of feeding the fishes on our boat trip later, abstained or went for another option.

The outdoor Gospel and homily at the Mt Beatitudes brought together the full 120 pilgrims on this trip, now feeling like true pilgrims and singing in one voice.

This warmth was amplified on the Galilee cruise on a replica fishing boat from Biblical Times, with the St Andrew’s Cross flying. Not even failing to catch any fish could suppress high spirits.

We are beginning to run out of space on digital photography memory cards as we hit our stride on this pilgrimage. No doubt we will only truly appreciate what we have seen and done when we return home. Tomorrow, we have a meeting with Archbishop Twal, the Latin Patriarch, and a Solemn entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

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