Holy Land Pilgrimage: A spiritual experience that I recommend

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Jacques TremblayPadre Tremblay

A few months ago, I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. With a group of pilgrims, led by a priest and a guide, we walked in the footsteps of Jesus through the places where the biblical stories are becoming alive while visiting some historical cities: Bethlehem (where Jesus-Christ was born), Nazareth (where lived the holy family), Capernaum (where Jesus taught), Jericho (the oldest city of the world) and Jerusalem (the holy city for the believers of the three Abrahamic religions: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim).
This pilgrimage was a succession of moments of grace and blessing! Each day, we had the joy of participating in Mass, even in the wilderness! In Cana, we had a time to renew our marriage promises! In the waters of the Jordan, we had the opportunity to renew the promises of our baptism! In the Dead Sea a sea that contains a lot of salt and minerals – we were able to … float! Sailing in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and visiting the Mount of Beatitudes were some special moments of tranquility and serenity. In Jerusalem, we went to the Wailing Wall, and we also had some visits to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where are located the places of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection!

In several places that we visited, it was possible to be positively disoriented in the souks – these open-air markets – that form a labyrinth of alleys with shops selling handicrafts, spices, scarves, clothes, oriental lamps, ceramics, fruits and vegetables, and many souvenirs. In the streets and lanes, the signs are often written in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English. The people there were nice and the food was excellent. This pilgrimage was also a privileged occasion to bring into our hearts all the people who asked us for prayers.

There would be many things to describe. But it’s an experience to do. If one day you want to have a human, cultural, historical, religious and spiritual experience, I highly recommend a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I think that it’s something to do once in a lifetime. Those who have this desire will find the time and the means to realize this dream.

jacques.tremblay4@forces.gc.ca