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If I forget you, Jerusalem...

Updated: Oct 16, 2017

Photo: View of Jerusalem from NDC terrace

“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.”

Psalm 52: 5-6

Today the centuries and the years have passed and the same cry continues in the heart of thousands of pilgrims who visit this Holy Land. If the holy places are jewels, Jerusalem is the crown. Here, all the biblical names and tales come to life and it is possible to see, experience and live them. The same hills, the same paths go through the holy city. Here, it is evident that the environment is not very different from biblical times, the people, the customs, the sounds, the markets. The infrastructure of the city has simply been modernized, but the essence remains untouched.

Beyond the facts, characters and holy places, it is the local Christian community that preserves the continuity and the memory of 2000 years of Christianity. The variety of Christian confessions makes Jerusalem an impressive work in religious experiences. This land is, above all, a place in which the most sublime aspirations and ideas have borne fruit. Here human beings have reached the culmination of their beliefs. This land tells us about the events it has witnessed over time, the present and the future suspended, leaving a legacy of faith that will survive for centuries.

“A unique and fundamental experience for our faith. Our expectations were very high and still they have been exceeded. Strolling through the alleys and cobbled streets of the Old City was a journey through time and in the depths of the history and customs of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religion. Going up the Via Dolorosa by taking Jesus' journey with the Cross, listening to the call for prayer coming from the mosques or seeing the Jews rocking in deep prayer on the Western Wall was a great experience."

Testimony of Family on pilgrimage 2017

Photo: Western Wall

"A journey of immersion in the spirit of faith in Christ. Now all that I have lived is before my eyes and I travel with my mind the places I visited: beginning at the Mount of Beatitudes, the tour of the Sea of Galille thinking about Jesus while sailing through it, getting up early to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, going to Bethlehem and entering the Basilica of the Nativity, going through the Judean desert, visiting Mount Tabor that looks out on the valley of Jezreel, so green and full of vegetation that the gaze inevitably spreads across this plain and you think of Christ who saw all this and who traveled these ways. Unusual panoramas: the green followed by the desert, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and suddenly ... Jerusalem! We did it! What a privilege that God gives us, it is a gift that we receive with gratitude and commitment.”

Testimony of Family on pilgrimage 2017

Photo: Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Knowing how to harness occasions even when it would be more comfortable to be carried away by ailments and pain, is to give an example that gives others strength in difficult times. Also, the communion, the love, the sympathy, the benevolence that unites pilgrims, the formation and diverse experiences become testimonies. This is also Christianity. It is finding peace and strength, sometimes with real courage. Along the way while reciting together the Rosary, every step became immediately lighter, comforted by the Mother of God and traveling companion, singing together from the heart.

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