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Jerusalem 2003


The Church of the Holy Sepulcher Photo by Victorgrigas, via Wiki Commons

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Photo by Victorgrigas, via Wiki Commons

September 10, 2003 – my plane lands at the Ben Gurion Airport, 25 miles from Jerusalem, at 5:30am  after a 14 hour flight from Chicago, by way of London.  I am looking forward to a three week stay in the Old City of Jerusalem.  A shared van ride with 9 other passengers brings me to the New Gate in the Old City.  On my way to my residence, Notre Dame of Sion, I stop off at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to offer the Mass of the Resurrection in the Tomb of Christ.  I stand at the altar, all alone, delighting in the words, “He is risen, Alleluia!”

At my residence, the front door opens on the First Station of the Way of the Cross. In the sub-level of the building lies the Courtyard of Pilate.  The Sisters of Sion administer this house for pilgrims, with a wonderful spirit of hospitality.  Along with a few others, I was the only pilgrim in the house.  In the complex, a Basilica Church and a small intimate Chapel made inspiring places for Mass and private prayer.  Here, I am going to spend three weeks with no obligations to fulfill.

From our balcony at Notre Dame Sion, about three floors up from the street, each day I see the sun rise over the Mount of Olives to the east. By the way – the weather is perfect, about 80 F, with cloudless skies.  About 100 yards away, the Wailing Wall reminds me that this was the Western Wall of the Temple where Jesus preached.  Three blocks up the hill to the west, at the end of the Way of the Cross, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher lifts its dome shaped roof to the skies.

A spirit of peace fills my being as never before. With no distractions of modern day life to bother me, the Psalms of my daily Breviary Readings take on fresh meaning for me.  The writers of the Psalms speak to me of the beauty of God, the wisdom of serving Him faithfully, and the foolishness of leading a selfish life apart from Him.

The perfect quietness of the Old City of Jerusalem and the purity of the mountain air stoke within me new fires of love for God to relish for the things of Heaven. The daily Mass Liturgies at 7:00am bring us all together in a dedication of the day to God.  I will never forget these days.  On October 1, 2003, I arrive home – tired, but happy!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 1, 2016 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Fr. George, your words today take all of us on this pilgrimage with you! Thank you always for keeping us close to Him! Blessings & Gratitude on 72 years of priesthood!
    We, the sheep are grateful. You make an eternal difference! Marianne

    Comment by mcs | May 1, 2016 | Reply

  2. Wonderful Uncle George, so happy to read this.

    Comment by Mike McKenna | May 2, 2016 | Reply

  3. Hi Fr. George! I love the rich imagery of this post! Oh how I wish that I would have had the opportunity to do such a wonderful pilgrimage with you. But, at least I can enjoy your great descriptions. I hope that you are doing well, my dear friend. We had a nice week here last week: my sister, Linda, and my sister-in-law, Sue, flew out here and spent 5 days with us. It was very nice to have family here. We did a lot of sightseeing in those few days. Very fun! I hope to call you soon, lots to tell you. Love you, dear Fr. George!
    Love,
    Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | May 4, 2016 | Reply


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