On Tuesday morning, from Jerusalem we headed off to Galilee for the next stage of our pilgrimage, where we would be focusing on what life in Christ means. The region of Galilee was where Jesus spent a lot of time during his three years of public ministry. We were able to really pray and meditate about what life in Christ looks like in this place where Jesus taught his disciples how to live a life in and for Christ.
On the way, we started off by going to Nazareth and having mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation, the place where the angel Gabriel came to Mary and Mary said “yes” to being the mother God. We also visited the underground excavations where they believe Joseph’s house was, and where Jesus would have grown up. After Nazareth we went to St. Nathanael’s hometown, where Jesus’ first miracle of the Wedding at Cana took place. From there we finally made it to the beach on the Sea of Galilee where we would be camping, right on the site of the feeding of the 4,000. We had a nice night getting settled and praying vespers as the sun was setting over the mountains and lake.
The next day we had time to reflect and pray about all we had experienced in Jerusalem and Nazareth. We spent the morning in silence like a mini retreat of sorts; reading scripture, praying, going to adoration, and enjoying the beauty of the sea of Galilee. In the afternoon we were able to go swimming and just be in this place where Jesus would have spent a lot of his time.
On Thursday we journeyed to Capernaum, on the north side of the sea, the town where Jesus made his home base during his ministry in Galilee. We read the words that Jesus spoke there from the Gospels, in particular the Bread of Life discourse, and had a time of prayer. There Karalyn met up with us to join our group, she will be with us for the remainder of the pilgrimage. We walked down the road to for Mass at Tabgha, the site of the feeding of the 5,000 and the Primacy of St. Peter, as well as a small hike up the Mount of the Beatitudes where sat down in the shade of a cave to read the Sermon on the Mount.
Friday was another day to reflect on all that Jesus had done in our hearts over the last couple of days. On Saturday we went to the Jordan River to renew our Baptismal vows. We also hiked up Mt Tabor and had mass on the site of the Transfiguration. After we stopped at a Roman aqueduct on the coast at Caesarea where Paul was imprisoned two years and put on trial. After a quick dip in the Mediterranean, we headed back to Emmaus where we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Cristi with the whole community.
Sadly, we had to say bye to three of our pilgrims who are headed home, but will continue to keep them in our prayers as the rest of us journey to the southern desert to spend four days at the “educational community” of Nitzana.