Journey to the Holy Land with Cardinal Seán and the Priests of the Archdiocese of Boston


Cardinal Seán and a group of priests of the Archdiocese of Boston have traveled on an Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, and they’re bringing the listeners of The Good Catholic Life along with them.


Cardinal Seán and a group of 29 priests of the Archdiocese of Boston have traveled on an Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, and they’re bringing the readers of blog along with them.

All this week, our colleague George Martell is traveling with the pilgrimage, embedded with the Cardinal and his priests so we can bring you photos, blogs, videos, and audio reports from the Holy Land from the pilgrims at such places as the Basilica of the Annunciation, Mount Carmel, the Sea of Galilee, the Church of the Transfiguration, Qumran, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Upper Room, and more. This once in a lifetime opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus with Cardinal Seán and the Archdiocese’s priests as an Easter retreat experience.


Each day we’ll have some reflections from the priests on the trip about the places they’ve visited. Here’s what you can expect each day:

  • The pilgrims were traveling all day Monday, so they’ll be checking into the Domus Galilaeae, a retreat center atop the Mount of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee.
  • On Tuesday, the pilgrims were to travel to Cana, where Jesus performed the first miracle of His public ministry. They are to visit the Wedding Church and then later have Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Later in the day, the pilgrims plan to go to Mount Carmel on the coast and visit Stella Maria, the largest monastery of the Carmelite Order.
  • On Wednesday, the pilgrims are scheduled to have Mass in the Church of the Beatitudes and then take a memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, while taking in both Capernaum and Tabgha, where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 in the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Later, they plan to drive to Mount Hermon, overlooking the Road to Damascus, where Jesus appeared to Paul, and Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus responded to Peter’s act of faith by declaring him the Rock on which His Church would be built.
  • Thursday will bring the pilgrims to Mount Tabor, the location of Jesus’ Transfiguration, and they will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Church of the Transfiguration. After, they are to stop at the River Jordan, where the pilgrims will have the opportunity to renew their baptismal vows. The next stop will be Qumran, where the hidden library of the Dead Sea Scrolls was discovered in 1947. Then they will visit Jericho, the oldest city in the world, and finally, they are to arrive in Jerusalem at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Center of Jerusalem, where they will be staying.
  • On Friday, the pilgrims are scheduled to have an audience with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twai, who is the shepherd of all Roman Catholics in the Holy Land. They will then drive to the top of the Mount of Olives, visiting the Chapel of the Ascension, the Shrine of Pater Noster, and the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept). Next they will follow Jesus’ Palm Sunday route along Hosanna Road to the Garden of Gethsemane. There they will pray in the Church of the Agony, then visit the Church of St. Peter-in-Gallicantu (The cock crows), built over the site of the palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where Peter denied Jesus three times. In the afternoon, they will to celebrate Mass at the Franciscan Chapel of the Cenacle and then visit the Upper Room where Jesus and the Apostles celebrated the Last Supper and where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. Finally, they are to visit the Dormition Abbey, built to honor the Assumption of Our Lady.
  • Saturday brings the pilgrims very early in the morning to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, for the very special privilege of celebrating Mass at the Empty Tomb of Our Lord. Later, they will meet with Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land, whose office and community hold the privilege and duty of safeguarding and caring for the principal Christian shrines of the Holy Land. After, the pilgrims will drive to the hills of Bethlehem, visiting the Basilica of the Nativity.
  • On Sunday, the pilgrims will explore the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, the al Aqsa Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock. They will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then visit Ein Karem, home of Elizabeth and Zachariah, parents of John the Baptist, including the magnificent Church of the Visitation. Then the group will visit Yad Vashem, the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. They will end their stay with a visit to the Israel Museum.
  • Finally, on Monday, the pilgrim group will travel to the convent of the Sisters of Zion to see the Lithostrotos in the chapel of the Flagellation, then follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Crucis in Jesus’ footsteps. After celebrating Mass in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, the pilgrims will visit Emmaus, where Jesus first appeared to disciples after the Resurrection and then the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine. Then they will have a meeting with Fr. Jerome Murphy O’Connor, OP, at the École Biblique in Jerusalem. They will return home that evening.


It is a packed itinerary and each stop contains untold riches of spiritual reflection on Jesus’ life, ministry, and teachings as well as our own Christian walk. Along the way, some of the priest participants will provide for us their reflections and impressions on what they are experiencing at each site in blogs that we will post here.


The priests of the pilgrimage include:

  • Cardinal Seán O’Malley
  • Fr. David Barnes
  • Fr. Darin Colarusso
  • Fr. Thomas Donohoe
  • Fr. William Dunn
  • Fr. Martin Dzengeleski
  • Fr. Carlos Flor
  • Fr. Jonathan Gaspar
  • Fr. Michael Harrington
  • Fr. Daniel Hennessey
  • Fr. Charles Madi Okin
  • Fr. Joseph Mazzone
  • Fr. Antonio Medeiros
  • Fr. Michael Medas
  • Fr. Daniel Moloney
  • Fr. Mark Murphy
  • Fr. Mark O’Connell
  • Fr. Christopher Palladino
  • Fr. Bryan Parrish
  • Fr. Thomas Reilly
  • Fr. Kevin Sepe
  • Fr. Paul Soper
  • Fr. Paul Sullivan
  • Fr. George Szal
  • Fr. Edward Riley
  • Fr. Stephen Rock
  • Fr. Israel Rodriguez
  • Fr. Gregory Vozzo
  • Fr. Matthew Westcott
  • Fr. Stephen Zukas

Please stay tuned to this website, as well as and and our Facebook and Twitter updates, for the latest updates from the Holy Land. We hope you enjoy this virtual pilgrimage and find it spiritually enriching.


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