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4th Extended Edition



The 27 articles in “In the Footprints of Our Faith” offer religious, historical, and archaeological considerations about important sites in the Holy Land: Nazareth, Ein Karem, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jordan River, Cana, Capernaum, the Lake of Gennesaret, Bethany, Emmaus, and more. They have been written in hopes of helping readers personally “immerse” themselves in the Gospel, as St. Josemaria recommended, so that the Word of God may have a deep and lasting effect on their life.

St. Josemaria had always wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and dreamed of starting various apostolic initiatives there which would help the Church. He was never able to fulfill this dream, but his first successor, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, was able to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from March 14–22, 1994. On the morning of March 23rd, only a few hours after Blessed Alvaro’s return to Rome, God called him to Heaven. With the faithful of Opus Dei and those with a devotion to Blessed Alvaro in mind, there are references to his final days in the Holy Land scattered throughout the text of the extended edition of “In the Footprints of Our Faith”.

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Contents and introduction


Nazareth: Basilica of the Annunciation

The room in which the Blessed Virgin received tidings from the Angel Gabriel is venerated in Nazareth. Blessed Alvaro del Portillo celebrated Mass in this cave.


Ein Karem: birthplace of John the Baptist

Tradition locates the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Ein Karem, a town about six kilometers outside the Old City.


Bethlehem: the Basilica of the Nativity

In the town of Bethlehem, our Saviour came into the world. The grotto in which he was born is found in the crypt of the Basilica of the Nativity.


Bethlehem: the Shepherds’ Field

A sanctuary three kilometers from Bethlehem commemorates the place where the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.


The Temple of Jerusalem

After the birth of Jesus, and at the time of the purification of Mary, the Child was presented in the Temple.


With the Family in Nazareth

  • The remains of the house where the Holy Family is believed to have lived are preserved in Nazareth, in the crypt of St. Joseph’s Church.

Across the Jordan

Tradition tells us that the baptism of Jesus took place nine kilometers north of the Dead Sea, on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, near the road from Mount Nebo to Jericho.


The Wedding Feast at Cana

In Cana, a small town near Nazareth, the Lord performed his first miracle, turning water into wine at Our Lady’s request.


Capernaum: the Town of Jesus

Jesus resided for some time in this small community on the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret, which was the center of his public ministry in Galilee.


Tabgha: the Church of the Beatitudes

On a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee, a sanctuary commemorates the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.


Tabgha: the Church of the Multiplication

In Tabgha, pilgrims venerate the rock upon which the Lord placed five loaves and two fish, with which he fed the multitudes.


At the Pool of Bethesda

In Jerusalem, you can find the remains of the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus cured the paralytic. In the same area stands the church of St. Anne, venerated as the site of the Nativity of the Virgin.


Mount Tabor: Basilica of the Transfiguration

Tradition indicates that our Lord may have been transfigured on Mount Tabor, in the middle of the plain of Esdraelon.


Jerusalem: Church of the Pater Noster

In 326 AD, St. Helen had a basilica built over the grotto which was venerated as the place where Jesus taught the words of the Our Father.


Bethany: the Tomb of Lazarus

When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he often stayed at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany. Today pilgrims can visit the tomb of Lazarus, where he was buried before Our Lord raised him from the dead.


He saw the city and wept

On the western side of the Mount of Olives, the Dominus Flevit church recalls the tears Christ shed for Jerusalem upon his triumphal entry into the city, a few days before his Passion.


Jerusalem: in the Upper Room

According to ancient tradition, the room of the Last Supper is located in a southwestern corner of the Old City, on a hill which has been called Zion since the Christian era.


Gethsemane: the Agony in the Garden

Tradition places the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley.


St. Peter in Gallicantu

Not far from the Cenacle stands the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, over the spot which some traditions say to be the house of the high priest.


Jerusalem: the Way of the Cross

The fourteen Stations of the Cross commemorate the Carrying of the Cross from the praetorium to Calvary, the Crucifixion, and the interment of our Lord’s body in the Sepulchre.


Jerusalem: Calvary

The last five Stations of the Cross are located inside the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.


Jerusalem: the Holy Sepulchre

The tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid, which he rose from on the third day, holds the place of honor in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.


A village named Emmaus

The Risen Lord appeared that Sunday to two disciples on their way to Emmaus. Various places in the Holy Land might be identified as this village.


Tabgha: Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

On the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret, a church commemorates the appearance of Christ to the disciples after his Resurrection, the second miraculous catch of fish, and the confirmation of St. Peter’s primacy in the Church.


The Ascension

The Gospels say that the Ascension took place on the summit of the Mount of Olives, on the road to Bethphage.


The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven

In Jerusalem, two churches commemorate the mystery of the Assumption of the Virgin: the Basilica of the Dormition on Mount Zion, and the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, near Gethsemane.


Mount Carmel: the Stella Maris sanctuary

In 1994, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo began his pilgrimage to the Holy Land here. The Stella Maris sanctuary overlooks the Mediterranean and the city of Haifa, and is connected to the prophet Elijah and the birth of the Carmelite Order.

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