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A Pilgrim in Jerusalem 1997

Another section of the 19 members in our Pilgrimage Group. A Sunday morning. Lovely Weather. 6 Priests, 13 lay people. We went to offer Mass in the Chapel at the Fields of the Shepherds. Father Michael Darcy, first row - far left, Irish Missionary.

Friday, January 3, 1997 . . . Jerusalem

This morning, at 6:00 am, I climb 15 steep stairs to reach the altar of Calvary in Holy Sepulcher Church.  What an uplifting experience to offer the sacrifice of the Son of the Father in a unbloody way on the very site where the Bloody Sacrifice took place!

How certain are we that Jesus died in this location?  In the early days, after the death of Christ, on the Hill of Golgotha, His followers, in increasing numbers, came here to pray and worship.  Determined to wipe out the memory of the Crucified Christ, the pagans built their own shrine on the infamous Hill, unwittingly insuring its memory for years ahead.  Around the year 300 AD, Helen, the mother of Constantine, built the Holy Sepulcher Church on the demolished ruins of the pagan shrine.

I ask for many favors this morning, especially a deeper love for the Mass.  The words of Blessed Pope John Paull II come to my mind. . . “The priest is a man of the Eucharist.  In the span of fifty years of Priesthood, what is still the most important and most sacred moment for me is the celebration of the Eucharist.  Holy Mass is the absolute center of my life and everyday of my life.”. . . A heavenly peace fills my being as I walk back for breakfast at my residence.  In all honesty, my daily offering of Mass still thrills me today as much as my First Mass did over 67 years ago.  I totally agree with Our Blessed Holy Father.

Saturday, January 4, 1997

Early this morning, at 5:30 am, I will celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection in the Tomb of Christ in Holy Sepulcher Church.  Leaving my residence at the Sisters of Zion, at the First Station of the Cross, I set out for the Church, up a mountainside, three blocks away, in the predawn darkness.  At this early hour I feel perfectly safe as I move along the steep road (about 20 feet wide,a with buildings on either side) on the Way of the Cross.

As I rest at three different places to catch my breath, in my thoughts I emphasize with the Suffering Christ in His struggles to move along here, or close to this roadway, with a heavy cross on His back.  Weak, badly beaten, His Body crying out with pain, the Lord continued on to His cruel Death.

Much like mausoleums seen in cemeteries, such a free-standing structure contains the Tomb of Christ, set in the center of Holy Sepulcher Church.  My two friends and I stand at the altar in the close confines of the Tomb (capacity four persons).  In the perfect stillness, in this holy setting, the Scriptures of the Mass raise my spirits to high heavens. . . “Alleluia” (Praise the Lord). . . “Rejoice, be glad!  This is the day the Lord has made!”. . . “He is Risen!”  Breakfast bound, my heart beats with the same kind of joy the Apostles had after seeing the Risen Lord!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Bulletins | 2 Comments

Jesus Says “Tell Others of Me”

Seven of our pilgramage group on a street of the Old City. For four of these it was their first trip to the Holy City.

Jesus of Nazareth urges us, His followers, to give witness of His Presence in our lives and in the world about us.  At once, we hear protests coming from our lips. . . “I have no gifts to offer. . . I’m just an ordinary person. . . I’m in no position of authority. . . . “

Consider the story of Mother Angelica of TV fame.  Born in 1923, into a broken family, the only child, in Canton, Ohio, Rita Rizzo experienced poverty, poor health (still with her), with only an ordinary High School education.  At the age of 21, with a new-found faith in God, she entered the Franciscan Order of the Blessed Sacrament.  Due to her poor health and lively temperament she struggled in religious life.

At the age of 59, as Abbess of her Convent in Birmingham, Alabama, she founded a new TV station, EWTN, with 24/7 religious programming throughout the USA, truly a modern-day miracle.  The station is no celebrating a 25th anniversary.  Mother Angelica also set up a Global Radio Station, broadcasting to all corners of the earth.

No one could ever have thought that poor, little Rita Rizzo could have done all these marvels.  In our own little crusade, start out with confidence to make Christ better known in the world about us.  Listen to the words of Michael Ramsey, former Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican faith…..”Amidst a vast world of vast empires, the Lord devoted Himself to a small country, to small things, and to individual men and women, often giving hours to the few, or the one man or woman.  For the infinite world of the one person is the key to the Christian understanding of the many.  We will never be closer to Christ than in caring for the one man, the one woman, the one child . . . . “

Our personal example, coming from our love of Christ, often has more power to bring others to the Lord, than many words.  Our kindness, gentleness, our humility, our loving ways will make others think: what makes that person live life that way?  Be a Rita Rizzo in our own sweet way.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Bulletins | 4 Comments