By Sarah Hayes
In November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI had these words to say while visiting Santiago de Compostela: “To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.”
Going on a pilgrimage has long been appealing to me. But a Holy Land journey seemed out of reach. Then came an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up — the CPA Holy Land Tour, sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Tourism for Catholic Press Association journalists.
Beginning Thursday through Feb. 2, I will be among a dozen Catholic journalists visiting biblical sites in Israel. Among the planned visits will be Mount Carmel, Mount of the Beatitudes, the Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor and its Church of the Transfiguration, Cana, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
To be able to "encounter God" by following in the very footsteps of Our Lord and Savior is almost beyond comprehension to me. Such an opportunity is exciting — and very humbling. I ask you for your prayers on this incredible journey, and I invite you to come along with me. Each day, I will be blogging at OSV Daily Take about my experiences, and I will be tweeting pictures and thoughts as well at @shayesOSV. Shalom.
Sarah Hayes is OSV presentation editor.