It was with such sorrow that I started this day, having learned the night before that our dear friend Chrissie Jackson had been in a horse-back riding accident and was now brain dead and awaiting the arrival of her family and the harvesting of her organs. The prayers on the prayer chain turned from praying for Chrissie to praying for her organ recipients at the request of her children. So Father Bob graciously agree to mention her name at mass at the Garden of Gethsemane. All day, at every holy site, I kept Chrissie and her family in my prayers and foremost in my mind.
I kept thinking about how just the Sunday before I left how I had enjoyed a nice visit with her after church, how she handed me a petition to take to the Western Wall, how she volunteered to lead some hikes this summer, how she was so excited to be traveling to Germany this summer and more.
|The day started with a visit to the Church of the Pater Noster, where the entrance had the Lord's Prayer written in many languages. This was a common theme in many of the churches we visited: a prayer in the courtyard, repeated in as many languages as you could think of. There was a cave, said to be the place where Jesus taught the disciples the prayer.
There were also some burial columbariums from the 1st century discovered there. We saw the many ossuaries with decorations that would have contained the skeletons of the dead, place in them by the family after a year of mourning. Our guide reminded us that chiseling is done more easily right to left so that is why Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic are written that way. Shafiq recited the Lord's Prayer for us in Aramaic.
Then we went to the Mount of Olives to a Jewish cemetary with a beautiful view of Jerusalem. the bodies are buried facing east and people are still buried there to day for the price of $25,000-$30,000. In fact, the police came and made us leave as a funeral was about to start.
We then followed the Palm Sunday road into the old town of Jerusalem. Then we stopped at the Church of the Lord's weeping, where Jesus cried before his last hour. The church is in the shape of a tear.
From the road, we can see the Golden Gates into Jerusalem. Saladin, a Muslim, sealed up the gates in the 800s so that no second coming of the Messiah can happen.
We then visited the Rock of Agony, where Jesus' Disciples fell asleep instead of staying up with him.
For lunch we had Makluba, an upside down lunch, a meal of rice and vegetables baked in a large pot and then turned over onto a plate. Shafiq explained a bit more about food for Easter, including mamoul, a cookie made with course semolina flour and stuffed with dates or pistachios. He also said they pick yellow flowers and boil them with eggs to turn them yellow.
We then visited the Dormition Abbey, the place it is believed that Mary died in her sleep and then was taken to heaven body and soul. This place is right next to where the last supper was held.
We also visited the Church of King David, a revered place for the Jewish people.
On Mount Zion, the last supper was held. The church was turned into a mosque and then taken back during the crusades. now it is owned by the state of Israel.
Then we visited the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. we saw the dungeon where Jesus was held and questioned. "In November 1990, workers found an ornate limestone ossuary while paving a road in the Peace Forest south of the Abu Tor neighborhood of Jerusalem. This ossuary appeared authentic and contained human remains. An Aramaic inscription on the side was thought to read "Joseph son of Caiaphas" and on the basis of this the bones of an elderly man were considered to belong to the High Priest Caiaphas." (wikipedia)
Then we headed back to the hotel but a few of us went with Father Bob to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, wandering down the streets of shops in old Jerusalem.