What a day! My emotions are everywhere! Why??
A very early start in order to walk the route that Our Blessed Lord took the death of his death. He walked these streets because he loved us. The pinnacle of this route - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre! 1000's were piled into this one building all trying to worship at the empty tomb, Calvary and other chapels. We queued for what seemed like a lifetime to get just a second inside the Tomb; I would have waited a lifetime to feel what I felt. My emotions took over. I was standing in the place where Our Lord rose from the dead! My prayer was simply to thank Him for all He has done in my life and to pray as was promised for our Archbishop. We had such a special honour to be allowed to celebrate Mass in the Holy Sepulchre, today by Father Mark. We are indeed very blessed.
Back on the buses and a short journey into Palestinian Territory and Bethlehem. We've gone from one extreme to the other in many ways. A great lunch inside a Bedouin Tent and then time for some shopping in the Olive Wood Co-operative which supports local Christian Families. We made a short visit to Shepherd's Fields, the traditional site of the shepherds who received the message of the angels: 'Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to all men.' We were joined by a gentleman named Jacoub, a Student from Bethlehem University who visited Liverpool in 2008. he is a friend of Father Mark's and Archbishop Patrick. Jacoub spoke briefly and welcomed us to his home town. he said that he loves Liverpool and its people who 'Will never walk alone.' Our student, Paul then gave us a great reflection on the story of the Shepherd's. He will make an excellent priest very soon.
The Church of the Nativity beckoned us and once again we found ourselves queuing to make our way down to the Grotto. I was so excited! When I finally entered our whole Group were there and we stood in awe and wonder and sang Silent Night, yes, even in June! That carol will never be the same for me again without my mind going back to that moment.
And if emotions could not get worse! We made our way to the Creche of Bethlehem, supported by some of the parishes in Childwall. We were all filled with tears as the children ran around our feet, wanted our attention and then finally sang and danced for us. I didn't think I had tears left, but I shed many today. Can this pilgrimage get any better??