Holy Land – Transfigured on Mount Tabor

Fr. Darin Colarusso at the altar of the Church of the Transfiguration with Cardinal Seán (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLife.com)

Fr. Darin Colarusso at the altar of the Church of the Transfiguration with Cardinal Seán (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLife.com)

Fr. Darin Colarusso, Pastor of St. Athanasiua Parish in Reading in the Archdiocese of Boston, is one of 29 priests joining Cardinal Seán O’Malley for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land between April 8 and April 15. We’ve asked him to share his experiences on their third full day in the Holy Land.

By Fr. Darin Colarusso

April 11

Aside from any theological interpretation, one practical reason Our Lord would have taken only Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor to witness the Transfiguration is that it is so darn steep. I felt like we were in a U.S. mountain state given its heavy forestation and dangerous winding roads that required mini buses to get up to the top. Those rides are always fun, though the view from the top is pretty extraordinary. One can see across the vast Valley of Armageddon to plains that continue to the horizon.

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The Church of the Transfiguration is architecturally impressive, its highlight being the upper and lower altars adorned with gold mosaics. The two levels represent the two natures of Christ, divine and human. We said Mass in the lower chapel, which had a remarkable ability to beautify and amplify sound, due to its bell shape, much like what is found in a music hall. It was powerful hearing all the priests sing together, whether lead by Father Carlos’ guitar hymns or Father Jonathan Gaspar’s typically pitch-perfect Mass parts. Even more moving was the knowledge that the beautiful and powerful sound of the Mass traveled out the open doors of the Church and across the mountain top.

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On a personal note, I can’t stop being struck that all these brother priests of Boston have this wonderful gift of an opportunity to be in a pilgrimage with Cardinal Seán in the most significant and holy locations of Our Lord’s life. It helps, too, that everywhere we go people’s generosity to him allows our retreat to have an up-close and personal dimension. The Cardinal’s homily focused on our need as priests to be obedient to God’s will for our lives. I’m sure it was no accident that this message came at the spot where The Lord strengthened the Apostles as preparation for His Passion. The lesson is clear: we must trust in The Lord even when we know we are journeying to the Cross with Him.


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 TheGoodCatholicLife.com 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.

Please stay tuned to www.thegoodcatholiclife.com, as well as www.BostonCatholicPhotos.com and www.YouTube.com/BostonCatholic and our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/bostoncatholic and Twitter account: www.twitter.com/bostoncatholic for the latest updates from the Holy Land.

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