Post Pilgrimage Knee Update

Everyone put a huge smile on their face๐Ÿ˜„…for this update…

Upon our return we went ASAP to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knees. Looks like this pilgrim managed to complete the entire pilgrimage with a broken patella (knee cap) ๐Ÿ˜!! I can only thank my beloved husband and all my fellow pilgrims who literally carried and prayed me through to the completion of this amazing journey!! Their acts of mercy were beyond measure!!

The broken patella knee outcome –I now have a three month  ‘opportunity’ to live in and adjust to my new full leg, 24 hour a day,  immovable brace with the additional perspective of managing it all from a walker-:)!!  No weight on that left leg for three months (pretty lousy excuse for me to get out of all that holiday cooking๐Ÿ—๐Ÿฐ! 

Hoping to soon secure a new ‘chariot’ to assist this three month transition to a more sedentary way of life๐Ÿ˜„!! 

Please do not fret or worry …this is such a small blip on the radar screen of life. It is not life threatening and is NOTHING compared to what your fellow blog readers are facing on a daily basis with critical health, emotional and family challenges! Please keep each other in prayer.

Know my prayers and offerings for each of you and may this Thanksgiving be more meaningful than ever imaginable!! 

Thank you for following our journey!!!

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Yes, home safely!!ย 

   
 

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Floating on the Dead Sea

  Yes…there is Bud….floating on the Dead Sea  on the last day of our pilgrimage-:)!! Looks about as perfect as possible until you spot fellow pilgrim Dan…He is REALLY getting the full experience. The mud cake is suppose to make you younger and healthier-:)!!  We didn’t even recognize him when he came out๐Ÿ˜„!!! 

 And here are the ‘rules’… 

 Seriously, the ride through the Judean desert was beautiful. Take a look at our last journey of the Pilgrimage.

   
    
    
  The Dead Sea… Where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by a shepherd boy. We also rode a cable car high above the Dead Sea to Masada, the site of the battle between the Jewish a People and the Romans  

  
    
   

At the airport and off to the USA!!!! How can I ever begin to thank my self sacrificing husband, my college roommate (Molly and her husband Dick Daly) , all the giving ‘charioteers’, Chris for actually physically carrying me down the longest boat ramp that I have ever seen in my entire life–to make sure I was able to experience the ride on the Sea of Galilee, Greg for offering his aisle seat-not once but twice  ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„, the prayer warriors, bag carriers and on and on when one has to humbly depend on others–what Lessons Learned!!! Here is Greg raising his hand to help (smile)and with Chris right beside him… 

Thank you ‘charioteers’ for all your kindness—they will never be forgotten!!  

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
     
   
     
  

   
 Thank YOU for following our journey!!!

 

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The Wailing Wall

   
   
 Today, I failed to mention, that we also took petitions and prayer requests to the area designated as the Western Wall or Wailing Wall. This is considered the holiest site in Judaism and is the place to which Jews turn during prayer. Jews wept at this site over the destruction of their temples. It has continued as a place of great prayer. It is always interesting to see men praying on one end of the wall and women praying in their own area on the opposite end of the wall.  This tradition dates back to the 16th century. Since we visited on the Sabbath, sadly no pictures were allowed to be taken. We all honored this sacred request by the tradition of the Jewish faith. A huge thank you to my female ‘charioteer’, Kris, for quickly taking control of the ‘chariot’ and rolling me into the female section of the Wailing Wall. I am sure Bud was eager for a needed break๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘โค๏ธ๐ŸŽˆ!!!

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Off to Gethsemani!!

We traveled today to the Mount of Olives. It is a hilltop overlooking Old Jerusalem and believed to be the spot where Jesus ascended into heaven. We celebrated the Mass at the Grotto of Gethsemani. Take a peak at this beautiful grotto where Jesus’s disciples waited while He anguished in the Garden of Gethsemani.

   
   
Here are some shots of the thousand year old olive trees still remaining in the Garden of Gethsrmani.  

  

  

 Then on to the path which Jesus took on Palm Sunday. We could hear the people praying and vividly imagine the waving of the palms as people lined His path. We visited the Chapel of the Ascension. 

  The Our Father in three languages along the way. This is Monsignor’s amazing Aunt  Pauline ( who should get the true grit award for the trip-:)!!) saying the Our Father in French!!  
    
    
 A next emotional stop for us was the Church of the Visitation. The ride up was unbelievable as a very kind man actually drove ‘up and over the 100 steps’ to give a few of us and the ‘chariot’ wheelchair  a lift!!! Here Mary traveled many miles on a donkey to be with Elizabeth as she gave birth to John the Baptist.  

  A more modern depiction of Mary greeting Elizabeth. 
The rock which protected John the Baptist from being executed as a child by Herod’s men.

    
The Church of the Visitation…

Off to dinner …tomorrow is our last day and the Dead Sea-:)!!  

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Meet the blessed ‘Charioteers’!!!ย 

We started the morning with the wonderful celebration of Mass at St. Anne’s Church. There was not a dry grandparent eye in the place as we viewed the statue of Jesus’s grandmother, St. Anne, depicted with her daughter Mary…

    
 Then the blessed ‘Charioteers’ kicked in as we headed back through the cobblestone stepped paths of Old Jerusalem. Again, I can not thank my fellow pilgrims enough for stepping up to ‘carry the chariot’. It was another day of unbelievable amounts of steps through winding beautiful century old cobblestone paths-but certainly not ADA approved-:)!! They managed the bags (Thank you Kris, Molly and Ruth!) and offered prayerful ‘charioteer’ support from every corner. Their prayers were overwhelming to this humbled soul. Please meet the ‘Charioteers’…our fellow Pilgrims on a mission to make sure that yours truly could experience everything possible!! They even propped me up and held on to me for the picture on the steps to the Agony in the Garden at the Holy Sepulcher Church. I pray you can hear me applauding their unbelievable efforts!! Here are the selfless ‘Charioteers’!!


Then we were on our way to walk the Via Dolorosa, or “Way of the Cross”. It winds along the cobblestone streets of Old Jerusalem from Ecce Homo Convent to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the traditional route Jesus followed bearing His cross from Pilate’s Judgement Hall to Calvary Hill, the site of the crucifixion. We even carried our own cross to re-live Jesus’s path. Here are Sharon and Jack now leading the first steps of the journey to Calvary. 

 
I have chosen a few pictures, so that you might be a part of the journey. Via Dolorosa winds through the cobblestone streets with vendors doing their daily business along the way as pilgrims fervently and prayerfully walk the Way of the Cross (or Sorrows).

   

  

  

 
 This is the window if the room where Jesus was stripped of His clothes.  

   
    Our lunch in Old Jerusalem had some great views from the variety of vendors to the men tucked in a side alley quietly puffing on their hookahs (pipes).

    
   We then headed to Mount Zion to view the Upper Room, where it is believed the Last Supper occurred and to the tomb of David. Some of today’s favorite pics…-:)!!  

  Looking up to Calvary just as you enter the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.  
Within the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre there are many religions with their own personal prayer space area. This is the open area, adjacent to Jesus’s tomb, which hosts the Roman Catholic services. The picture is of St. Mary Magdeline approaching Christ during the Way of the Cross. 

    
    
   
 

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True Confession

   
  My college roommate touching the slab in which Jesus was laid.  
 This morning was personally the most moving of all. My ‘true confession’ is a traveler’s possible worst nightmare. The ‘mini nightmare’ …I fell on our second night here. It was a bad blow to my left knee and has left me significantly  impaired regarding mobility. Since that moment of time ….Bud, Monsignor Hogan and my fellow pilgrims have stepped up with unbelievable support!!! They have carried this lame pilgrim physically, by wheel ‘chariot’ (our new nickname for the wheel chair-:) and prayed abundantly for a miraculous healing!! I share this NOT for sympathy as I remain VERY blessed to be here. I share it because one just never knows what lies ahead and one has to really trust in God that it will all work out. One has to learn to gratefully and graciously accept help–thank you Monsignor!! Little did I know that God would have me participating in this journey as a ‘physically handicapped pilgrim’. What a learning opportunity now exists for my personal growth!!! The experience has been filled with intense humility—as it is not easy for this independent soul to be at the mercy of everyone else’s care. I can not even begin to thank Bud and my fellow pilgrims for all they are doing to allow me to travel into tombs, across layers of archaic steps, over thresholds 5 plus inches high, across cobblestones that are centuries old, physically loading me on and off busses ….not many handicap accessible spots over here-:)!!! All of this immense, unselfish assistance has been given so that this humble pilgrim might share in the shared joy of seeing the mystery of His presence!! And to boot, all this in the midst of yet another tragic terrorist attack in the exact city in which we are staying… In God We Trust….

This morning we arose at 3:45 so that we could head to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Bud and my fellow charioteers immediately kicked into action to get me down back alleys unimaginable to the likes of a wheelchair!! Today’s journey all lead to where Christ died on Calvary, was then laid on the stone slab and then taken to his tomb–all now housed in the huge Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Tears flowed abundantly as Monsignor said Mass right over Jesus’s burial tomb!! Unfortunately, the pictures could never even begin to adequately capture this sacred moment.

The group then walked to visit the Latin Patriarch. An extremely impactful moment for all….I passed on this opportunity, as I wanted to give my ‘charioteers’ and ‘back pack carriers’  ( thank you, Roomie!!)  a needed break-:)!! 

  Then we were all off to Bethlehem and the site where the shepherds heralded Jesus!! Here are a few pics of our day’s journey…with the first picture being the Threshhold of Humility ( how ironic) with the entrance into the Nativity being the absolute smallest entrance I have ever seen…imagine this and it is the actual spot where it is believed Jesus was born!!! 

  Threshold (Door) of Humility…entrance into the Nativity…..  
  Actual spot of veneration for Jesus’s birth.
  And of course, we turned around and there was St. Anthony of Padua…a family favorite!!  And look who Bud spotted headed in for Mass…..a young MC–those wonderful Missionaries of Charity serving all over the world!!! 

 
 

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Ride that Camel Bud๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘!!

   
 The laughs of the day were watching our fellow pilgrims and dear Bud ‘parking the camel’ after their rides!!! We were actually suppose to be contemplating the overcoming of temptations by Jesus on the Mountain of Temptations but it was a lot more laughs to see if Bud was actually going to bring his camel in for a landing๐Ÿ˜„!!

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Rock of St. Peter

    
    


  This was a very moving moment when the Pilrimage was able to celebrate Mass over the Rock of St. Peter.  We then were able to walk right to the spot where Jesus actually cooked breakfast for His apostles on the Shores of the Sea of Galilee-:)!!

 We then journeyed on to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Here we learned that just this June 18th, 2015, this religious site was hit by terrorist. The smell of the fire still remained and shook one’s soul to the core as you reflected on the need for peace in the Middle East.
We are now headed to the West Bank area of Palestine. Clearing the check point going in was relatively easy. I noticed that those traveling out of Palestine weren’t as fortunate.

We now were surprised by our tour guide to be headed to Jericho. Jericho is claimed as the oldest city in the world!! It is 8,000 years old-:)!! It is also located at 1300 feet BELOW sea level.

   
   We then had the thrill of a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We sat in silence as we each listened to Monsignor Higan’s inspiring message and then meditated on all that Jesus had experienced in this very sacred space. Jedus was exhausted from all his travels and preaching and had fallen asleep. He awoke to disciples not trusting enough that He could calm the seas or the storms of even our personal lives. I believe each Pilgram took away s different experience of His desire for our internal peace and happiness. It was a very moving float experience across the waters of Galilee. 

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Caesarea Philippi, Bethsaida and Capharnaum

   
   Today we drove through the  countryside of Israel to Caesarea Philippe. We drove through the Golan Heights region to reach our destination which was very close to the Lebanon / Syrian border.  The pilgrim discussion was very interesting as we learned of the compulsory Army service for all Isralean Jewish 18 year olds. Women  serve for 2 years and the men for 3 years. For all Isralean Arabs the service is optional, even though they are also Isralean citizens. It is an eerie feeling to watch the passing of signs along the journey indicating “Danger”. This particular sign indicates that there are mine fields along the way. However, this days destination was well worth the effort. Arriving at Caesera Phillippi took your breath away. There we stood where it is believed Jesus said to Peter, James and John: “Who do YOU say that I am?” This is where Jesus named Peter as ‘the Great Bridge Builder’!!
Next we stopped at Bethsaida. This is the spot where Jesus is believed to have worked two miracles. One was the multiplication of the loaves and the fushes to feed the people. The second was the healing of the blind man. In this city, now in ruins, it is believed that Peter, Andrew, Philipp and James and John, the sons of Zebedee  were born. 

  We then went to ‘Capharnaum’where Jesus spent most of his life teaching-:)!! It was from here that Jesus walked to attempt to convert the people of the region to people of faith.

    
 Our last stop of the day was the location of the Mount of Beatitudes. They were beautiful grounds high above the surrounding lands. You could visibly envision Jesus preaching to the flocks of people and sharing with them His messages of the Beatitudes. Monsignor Hogan always reads at our daily Masses the gospel corresponding to the current religious location. It was a an intense feeling to be sitting on the Mount of the Beatitudes listening to the following messages:

   
 The Mount of Beatitude Gardens are pictured below….

Tomorrow off to the Jordan River!! 

 

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