December 2012

Thoughts of some pilgrims, on their return from the Holy Land

There are so many pilgrims who, having come to the Holy Land to see firsthand the Places of the Incarnation, return home full of joy and strengthened in their faith. In the section dedicated to pilgrims and pilgrimages, we have published the testimonies and messages that have arrived over the past months. Words full of enthusiasm, of gratitude, of beauty. Below we reproduce some more thoughts, written by a group of pilgrims who visited the Holy Land in July. We invite everyone to visit the section of the site dedicated to pilgrimages, where they will find much useful information as well as some exclusive offers for pilgrims who are preparing to set out…

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We have discovered this initiative on your site and we thought we would make a small contribution by collecting together the thoughts that we exchanged among us on our return from Pilgrimage this past July, accompanied by the Bishop of Livorno, Msgr. Simone Giusti. Small testimonies arising from a beautiful experience.

Simple words, but expressing what each one us of has found and absorbed, in the Land where everything began, and which recapitulates everything in itself…

“A great sense of gratitude to God for having called me to this unique and unforgettable experience together with our Bishop and all of you! I don’t want to lose the Grace and the Joy of these days but wish to nourish them in prayer and daily witness! This is the hope and prayer that I am making for each one of you, my dear friends, both now and forever! Come, Holy Spirit and complete in us the work that you have begun!”

“I will always remember all of you…on the terrace at Tabor, under the stars, in the silence or in the notes of the songs, everyone intent on listening for the great Breath of God! In the colors, smells, sounds and lights of Jerusalem, in that land, so dry and sunny at times, that I would not have imagined could be so welcoming, rich in history and from whose crossroads rise, as if chasing one another, many prayers to the One God.”

“I wish to thank you because, albeit in different ways, each of you has left something in my heart. I felt myself to be accepted for what I am, not for what I should be. I felt myself to be surrounded by a “to do good, no matter what” attitude, and this was such a beautiful sensation that for so long I had lost and almost could no longer remember. I have rediscovered this with you, in this beautiful experience that we shared with one another.”

“I don’t want to lose the joy and peace that I have in my heart, I will dedicate more time to prayer and I will also return with my thoughts by looking at the photos of that Land that is truly Holy.”

“We have experienced all of these marvelous sensations that we will carry with us forever in our hearts.”

“I am thinking of each one of you, I have enjoyed and savored the memories of you, of all those who have not expressed themselves but to whom I feel close. We returned with a great richness in our heart for the living Church that we encountered: for Bishop Simone, whom we heartily thank, for you, our lovely travel companions, for the young people in Tabor, for the sisters in Bethlehem who with their smiles expressed Jesus on earth more than anyone, and for Don Mario and his wonderful blog. They are true testimonies to be made known and that nothing and no one can erase. I was very much struck by the Grotto of the Annunciation, I was able to imagine that everything began there and remained within us. The Holy Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Thanks so much to all of you and in particular to the Bishop, the priests and the seminarians who accompanied us.”

“I wish to thank the entire group for the proper and cheerful manner of all, a fantastic experience.”

“I am definitely missing the daily community prayer. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Bishop for having set up the pilgrimage.”

“Thanks also from me. On the 6th of August I thought again of the beautiful days spent together on Mount Tabor. I am remembering all of you in my prayers.”

“My grateful thoughts to everyone for your friendship and for the shared fraternal experience in the Holy Land.”

“Thank you for the days passed together; you were special travel companions and I am constantly seeking to feel the essence that each one of you has transmitted to me, thanks to the love that only Jesus gives us. I will carry all of you in my heart.”

“My most intense memory of the journey to the Holy Land relates, in fact, to the bus trip from Samaria to Jerusalem, experienced with great emotion, with the spirit of the verses of Psalm 122.” [I rejoiced when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’ And now our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem.]

“My experience this year in the Holy Land was for me something absolutely unexpected, not only for the emotions I experienced in this fascinating and mysterious land, but also for the encounter with each one of you. I will carry all of you in my heart.”

“Our experience was truly extraordinary, a great gift that has left much for all of us. A particular thanks to Bishop Simone, to the “director” of all this, for the grace and simplicity which sets him apart, for his great Faith. And also for the gift of these seeds of friendship. May the Lord help us to not disperse them.”

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