Jackie was one of our pilgrims on this trip to the Holy Land. She is a marathon runner who’s achieved great success. Even while here she would arise early and run several times around the Wall of Jerusalem.

Deacon Jim was also on our trip along with his wife and daughter. He is struggling with serious stage 4 cancer. He was a trooper the whole way and never once complained. He served at Mass and struggled but never fell behind.

Jackie has run thirty-one marathons, seven of them Boston Marathons. But she missed the Boston Marathon this year and I’ll let her tell you why. Why is the number 7 so important to her. What makes her run?

Deacon Jim did not expect Jackie’s announcement – none of us did, but we were all stunned and moved to tears.

Why will Jackie run the Boston Marathon next year? I think you will enjoy her story which she shared with us on the bus yesterday. There was not a dry eye on the bus and no one spoke for a long time. This is one incredible lady!

Jackie wrote:

As many of you know, Andrew and I went with my parents on a Holy Lands pilgrimage in April. It was a unique and fascinating experience. From the Christian perspective, I would strongly recommend our tour host, Steve Ray (and his wife Janet) https://www.catholicconvert.com/ . His (and her) knowledge of both Testaments of the Bible and the Holy Lands itself is stunning, and he conveys it to the group in a way that is easily understood and appreciated. I have attached photos from 2 places that I felt were quite powerful. The first is from within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, and marks the spot where Mary stood during the Crucifixion. The second is within the Church of all Nations, and is the stone upon which Christ began His passion in the Garden of Gethsemane on Holy Thursday.

        We have been back for about 2 weeks now, and everything we experienced is still filtering in. God willing, Andrew and I have increased our commitment to each other, and hope to be better neighbors to everyone else as well.