Here comes part II of Claire, Tiffany, and Nic's experience volunteering in Jerusalem:
Amidst the days of chaotic kids and evenings of city adventures, our highlight of the two weeks was on a Thursday night at the Garden of Gethsemane.
We were honored to attend the Deaconate Ordination Mass...in Hebrew! It was a beloved parishioner and seminarian named Benedetto Francesco Di Bitonto (Beni), truly the culmination of what it means to be community in this unique parish.
Beni is an Italian seminarian who has been in Israel for 8 years at the Kehilla and children’s center. It was often in the small acts of charity form the other volunteers and their dedication to the children that we saw the light of Christ. Beni was truly one an example of this. His charisma and joy was contagious, and it shown through every time we attended Mass at the parish through his music and conversation. This was a great example to us as we transitioned from living with a large group plus Fr. Anthony to just us three on our own in Jerusalem.
We had enjoyed his beautiful music at Hebrew Mass, we had had several moments of conversation with him prior to the big day. The intimate joy we shared in at his ordination was one of the happiest moments we have ever witnessed. People from around the world and from various religions came to the ordination mass to support Beni because they have seen the love and joy that Beni brings to those around him. We were especially surprised to see the many friends that we have made throughout our time in Jerusalem all gather in this one celebration. The Ordination showed us the joy and love found in community, especially in one that strives for holiness and to live in the Kingdom of God.
Our two weeks in Jerusalem came to end an rather quickly. In some ways it had felt like we had just arrived but in other ways it had felt like we had been there for ages. It was another sad farewell saying goodbye to the children and the community we had built there along with our Italian, French, and German roommates. But as always, the adventure continues and brings another opportunity to live in the light of Christ...