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Easter in Israel

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We are a group of five pilgrims, friends from childhood, that gathered on Easter Wednesday to visit the Holy Land: Lucía, Edu, María, Sonso, and Elena, who has been working in Jerusalem for almost a year.

Our trip to the Holy Land has been a bit different from the usual pilgrimages. We took advantage of being a small group to visit non-typical pilgrim sites that allowed us to live a few unique experiences such as watching the sunrise from the top of Mount Arbel, visiting the carpentry workshop of Elena´s friend in Bethlehem, and cooking traditional local food to celebrate Easter.

We were able to visit the most important places in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, and of the Galilee (Tabgha, Peter´s Primacy, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, and more…).

We brought with us the book “In the footprints of our faith” so we could follow the explanations of each site we visited. As Don Álvaro did on his pilgrimage shortly before he passed away, we tried to read the Gospel and its corresponding passage. We read the confirmation of the vocation of Peter by the lake of Galilee, the Last Supper in the Cenacle, the healing of the paralytic in Capernaum…

Above all, we lived Easter in a very special way: Following the footsteps of Jesus during the night He was arrested on Holy Thursday, participating in the Liturgies of Good Friday and Holy Saturday in the Holy Sepulcher… Getting up at 5 a.m. was worth it!

Finally, we got to visit Saxum. We were very happy to see that the project is almost finished, after all the campaigns that have been organized at our cities to get funds. It is a spacious building, full of light and you can tell each detail was carefully looked over; Simple and solemn, but very cozy and beautiful at the same time, and with spectacular views towards the Holy City.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this trip was that we sang walking through the streets, or praying in front of Lake Gennesaret…

There were very intense moments, and we tried to make the most of them, aware of the enormous gift we were receiving by accompanying Jesus so closely during His Passion and Resurrection.

There were times for reflection and reading a book and times to sing and contemplate the landscape. Once, we joined a Spanish group for mass at Nazareth and we launched out to sing the Ave Maris Stella, in Latin, Spanish and Basque and several people approached us to thank us at the end of the ceremony.

I think we sang as another way of giving thanks for this special journey, and for the great joy that the heart experiences when it is close to God.

We sang Christmas carols in Bethlehem in a soft voice, close to the manger where Jesus was born. Our repertoire included popular songs typical of Spain, some of them very joyful, and many Mass songs, which we knew because we all used to participate in the school choir. I think we sang as another way of giving thanks for this special journey, and for the great joy that the heart experiences when it is close to God.

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