Heading To Philly For The World Meeting Of Families? Watch These Videos…

The last time I saw Diana in person, she was headed to Israel from Jordan.

My pal, Diana von Glahn, aka The Faithful Traveler,  lives in Philadelphia. Lucky her! She’ll be seeing Pope Francis, and a couple of million people inflating the population of the city, come the World Meeting Of Families in September. Even better, she’s made a number of pilgrimage related videos that you’ll want to watch whether you’re making the trip, or not.

Roll commercial! [Read more…]

If A Pilgrimage To The Holy Land Is “The Fifth Gospel,” Then Guess What?

You need to read both sides of the book, saavy? Look at the map above. See how the Jordan River runs through the middle of the geography? The Jordan is like the spine of the book. The spine of the book, long before it became the border of a man-made nation-state.

So what are you saying, Frank? [Read more…]

I Bet You Didn’t Expect The Kingdom Of Jordan To Be This Gorgeous…

Is this the Shire? Or is it the Holy Land?

Is this the Shire? Or is it the Holy Land?

See that lovely countryside above? That is where I am headed today. A number of my Patheos colleagues are coming with me, too. [Read more…]

In Nazareth, This Is Where The Annunciation Took Place…

Looking down on the Grotto

Franciscans incensing where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary*

I was blessed to visit where the Annunciation took place. I figured that I should share some of the photographs of the grotto, and cave-like home, of the Theotokos on this day on which we celebrate this Solemnity. Over this site is built the Basilica of the Annunciation in the pretty crowded (these days) town of Nazareth. [Read more…]

What I Saw In Bethlehem Yesterday (A Photo Essay)

Bethlehem_Advent_2014

Christmas is coming to the City of David.*

I’ll be honest with you and tell you that yesterday was a very emotional day. And when I say that, I mean emotional in a good way. There were tears, surely. But they were tears of awe, wonder, and joy.

Our pilgrimage wound it’s way through security points and ventured into the City of David. What follows is a little photo essay of what we saw there. [Read more…]

Warning: Don’t Travel To The Holy Land, For Thou Shalt Surely Die

Dome, Stella Maris Convent Church, Haifa

The Dome of the Stella Maris Monastery Church, Haifa, Israel*

Before getting into the meat of this short dispatch that I am typing from Jerusalem, I ask you to say a short prayer to God for the souls of  all those who have died for their faith, or due to acts of terrorism, or because of sectarian violence here in the Middle East, and everywhere around the world. [Read more…]

A Minor Miracle In Nazareth (Or, How To Wear Shorts In The Holy Places And Live To Tell About It)

The Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth

The Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth*

You know what is the matter with me when the weather is beautiful and it feels like sunny, Southern California? I want to wear shorts and sandals, and enjoy the warmth, that’s what. But can you do that while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land? [Read more…]

Dispatches From A Holy Land Pilgrimage…

Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor*

Let us go to the place where His feet have stood (Psalm 132:7).

That short verse (from Eusebius’s Greek translation of the psalm) sums up the entire reason for coming to the Holy Land. [Read more…]

My BlogFather Is Hiking the Camino. Let’s All Follow Along!

 

That guy with the beard above is Webster Bull, a pilgrim along the Way of St. James, also known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Webster is the founder of this blog, as long time readers will recall. With him in the photograph is his daughter Marian. They up and decided to take a few months off and hit the trail blazed by countless pilgrims since olden times, and Martin Sheen since the film “The Way” opened in theaters last year.

Below is a recap of Day One of their trek from Webster’s blog Witness. They have seven days, and about 170 kilometers (or so), under their feet so far. Webster is writing about the trek (and Marian is too), and for those of you thinking about walking the Camino, consider these two as your own personal reconnaissance team. Follow along with them for the next few weeks as they wind their way over the landscape (geographical, as well as spiritual) of their own personal Caminos, as they make their way to where St. James is buried.

They are doing all the hard work for us. All we have to do is read. On that note, I’ll turn it over to Webster…

St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles: Short Takes from Day 1

The good news is that Marian and I successfully completed the first stage of the so-called Camino Francés today, starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, at 7:30 this morning and ending late this afternoon in Roncesvalles, Spain, after crossing the Pyrenees. The bad news is, we do it again tomorrow.

I have walked 20 miles before, but on the flat with no pack on my back. Today, we walked over 20 miles, climbed 4,000 net feet, descended 2,000 net feet — all the while carrying 10-kilo backpacks. Before the 9-euro pilgrim supper across the street, I wandered around the halls of the new, state-of-the-art pilgrim refuge here (opened since the filming of “The Way,” which showed Martin Sheen’s character staying in a dismal barracks-like place during his first night on the Camino) like a zombie with blisters. [Read more…]