November 2013

The voices and experiences of the participants in the first “pro Terra Sancta” pilgrimage

This is how Father Oscar, the Franciscan guide who accompanied the group of pilgrims that between 9 and 16 October visited the Holy Places and the works of the Custody of the Holy Land, described it: “The pilgrims were, with good reason, not satisfied only with visiting the places, which of course are very important since they preserve the memory of Jesus’ presence in our midst, but they also wanted to encounter the local realities, above all the local Christian community. I would say this was an added value for the pilgrimage”.

The video produced by the Franciscan Media Center recounts one of the visits that characterized this special pilgrimage, to the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and the project “Jerusalem, Stones of Memory”, accompanied by the head of the Custody’s Technical Office.

Below we reproduce other testimonies, enthusiastic and full of gratitude, from several pilgrims in the same group.

“I would like to express my profound thanks for all the beautiful things that you have helped us to see and know. If someone were to ask me what impressed me the most, it would be very difficult for me to reply because, in different ways, everything was so beautiful and interesting: Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived his daily life with his friends… and Jerusalem! From the beginning of each day with Mass in the Holy Places, to the reflection on our life in each church and place we visited that came from reading the Gospel and from history, to our encounters with the people who live there. You have allowed me to look with new eyes on this land, so full of history, so marked with contradictions and sacrifices, and this is clearly the fruit of the love which you bring to this place and to the people who are living there. Until our next pilgrimage! Agnese.”

“Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was an unforgettable experience! Each shared moment would be worthy of a long comment! For the enthusiasm, the joy, the richness of this experience, its cultural depth, its witness of Faith, for the way everything was organized, to Father Oscar and the volunteers we met, and to ATS, we wish to simply say: “THANK YOU” and we ask the Lord to bless your efforts. United in prayer, Anna and Domenico”

“I consider it a real privilege to have been a guest of the Franciscans in the Holy Land. This privilege allowed all of us to enjoy a personal and collective experience that far exceeded my expectations, even though I was aware that this wasn’t the typical tour but a pilgrimage. The moments of reflection and explanation helped me to meditate. The atmosphere created within the group will make it easy for me to remember all the friends. A very affectionate greeting, Loretta and Marcello”

What took place in October was the first “pro Terra Sancta” pilgrimage, organized by ATS pro Terra Sancta in collaboration with the Pilgrimage Office of the Custody of the Holy Land. We hope that others will soon follow!

In the meantime, we remind everyone that those who wish can come on an independent visit, reserving their own flights, for several days or a weekend. We will assist you in organizing your visit in the best possible manner, so as to pray at the Holy Places while at the same time learning about our projects and having the opportunity to meet the living stones of the Holy Land!

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