Thursday, March 14, 2019

Big transition today from Galilee to Jerusalem. We started the day with a wonderful Mass at St. Peters House in Capernaum where Jesus lived during his three years of ministry (homily here). I gave my talk “Defending the Eucharist.“

Then we saw the ancient boat that was discovered from 2000 years ago before getting on a real boat and going out on the sea of Galilee. Lunch of St. Peter’s Fish before driving to the Church of Visitation where Mary visited Elizabeth after walking 100 miles. We settled in for dinner and bed at the Notre Dame Hotel in Jerusalem.

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st-giragos-armenian-churchOn tours and pilgrimages, people often enter a church like it’s a museum or site-seeing destination. “Scratch that off the Bucket List!”

Europe has basically lost it’s faith and churches are no longer viewed as sacred places to encounter the presence of God. So, it was refreshing to see this sign outside of a beautiful, historic and majestic church in Europe.

“Visiting a church is not like visiting a museum or castle. Each building has to be seen according to its main characteristics and purpose. Looking at a church only as an artistic building or museum means you don’t understand is higher value, the meaning given by the faith of those men who sacrificed so much to have it built.

Big churches and even simple chapels are invitations to enter and let yourself be surprised. They’re high like heavens as you enter into sacred space and are drawn upwards. The silence takes you our of this world so you can meditate, look for the absolute, think about the important things and pray.

A church has a soul: a prayer in the presence of God, a Christian community gathering together to worship God in his infinite goodness. Come and listen for this church has many things to tell you.”

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