Holy Land – Celebrating the Empty Tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre

Fr. Israel Rodriguez at Domus Galilaeae (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLife.com)

Fr. Israel Rodriguez at Domus Galilaeae (George Martell/TheGoodCatholicLife.com)

By Fr. Israel Rodriguez

April 13

Fr. Israel Rodriguez is Parochial Vicar at St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence in the Archdiocese of Boston. He 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 fifth full day in the Holy Land.

Today, Saturday, we went to visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. It was an extraordinary experience, being at the very place where Jesus rose from the dead! We celebrated Mass inside the small chapel which houses the Holy Sepulcher. The Cardinal was the main celebrant and all of us priests concelebrated the Mass. At the end of the Mass we all had the chance to kneel and kiss the stone where Jesus’ body was laid for his burial, and from where He rose. It was a very moving experience.

(You want also want to link to or listen to just the audio of the Cardinal’s homily:)

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The Holy Sepulcher is the very place where Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus placed the dead body of Jesus, the place where the angels appeared to the women announcing that He was risen, the place where Peter and John saw the burial cloths. What a blessing it has been for us to be there and pray, and offer the Mass!

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Our belief in the Resurrection is one of, if not the, most important, doctrines of our faith. St Paul says that “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is pointless” (1 Cor 15:16); and every Sunday we profess our belief in the Resurrection when we say the Creed. Through his Resurrection Jesus Christ has conquered Death for all of us, has given us a further proof of his Divinity, and has shown that love ultimately is stronger than sin and death. The tomb is indeed empty. Christ is Risen! And we are his witnesses and the joyful bearers of his Resurrection!

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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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