Saturday, August 9, 2014

Next stop: France Aug 11- mid Sept....


We'll, Mon August 11, I fly tel aviv-Rome-Toulouse Fr., then bus to Lourdes. I will stat in Lourdes until August 18, praying and offering my pilgrimage to Our Lady, for all our needs and concerns.

Then, I will find my way to Chartres for two days and then arrive in Paris, August 18-20... To prepare for my bike journey. I'm a little unsettled in the details, clothing, food, language, etc since I want to travel very light. We will see. This journey, once begun, should end at the border of Spain in 22 days, w God's help and protection. I have not done any special training, so should be interesting how the body holds up....

Monday, July 21, 2014

A closer look at a bar mitzvah

GWell today I went back to the Jewish quarter every Tuesday starting at eight in the morning until almost noon, is a nonstop parade of bar mitzvahs celebrating 15-year-old Jewish boy'sentry into manhood. Similar to our confirmation, I guess...

 It starts outside the gate of the Jewish quarter, I believe it's the Lions gate, there - a small band similar to mariachis or tamborazos, but I guess you could call them "Jewish mariachis" welcome the family and the boy and start singing very lively folk/ religious songs ( I am no expert on what I saw ) 

 At some point, the boy is hoisted on somebody's shoulder's ( padrino?)... Placed under the small tent and begins going up to Jerusalem.....

I've got live footage, but not sure how to import it here...

Then they put the boy down ( they've got to go through security checkpoint.....)... Ans sing some more songs, dance in a circle and finish with the blowing of the shofar (?).  Ram's horn or something larger.... Then they put the two horns up to the boys head .... ( your guess would be better than mine) 


Once inside the wall area.... Woman on their side, men on their's and transgendered....u decide.

  Women ( do they wail louder?)...most of these are mommies and aunts waiting to see what follows next..... Wait for it....

  Men over here and on this day only! There appears a portable - actually two-  ark of the covenants. ( mini replicas )... 
 There is one! And the young man, for the first time will enter the ark, take out the Torah - scroll- and carry it over to the umbrella area ( the frontier between men and women - so MOM CAN SEE AND HEAR, little Ronnie read for the first time from the Torah!


  And when all is done we move outside the segregated wall area but still close enough for a family photo with the wall as a backdrop...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

A post to connect and organize some of my developing photo albums... (work in progress)

1. Tantur to Jerusalem....(the old city)

There also is the new city (north of the old) very modern (starbucks etc)

I like to get a sense of being a pilgrim by walking as much as possible. One great opportunity is the fact that Tantur (where I am staying) is  very close to Bethlehem and not so close to Jerusalem... therefore, I try to walk it whenever I can, to get a sense of how it must of felt for Mary and co. and to get some exercise, do penance etc...

Here are some photos of interesting sites along the way...

Anyone have a few million to do some excavations?

2.  Tantur to the Shopping Mall! 

I decided to walk (not really knowing where I was going, just a general sense of "over there")... to the Mahal Mall - the newest, most extravagent (think 5th avenue or Michigan ave shopping)... Mall. I needed an apple adapter to transfer photos from camera to ipad.... and only in the New Heavenly Jerusalem of the Shopping Mall- could it be found. I refrained from taking pictures once inside the mall, but it was quite the contrast. The yuppies and well to do of the Jewish nation were out in force shopping away on several floors of ice cold air conditioned shopping malls... everything and anything you could imagine, including Apple!, could be found here!

an earthly pilgrimage... Mahal Mall - Michigan mile of greater Jerusalem!

3. Church of the Ascension ( the muslims own the property now, so the area is underdeveloped in relation to other christian holy sites) You will notice a small chapel, we enter and there is a small boxed area on the ground. If you look with the eyes of faith and love, and innocence, you can see, a footprint in the rock, and this is very close to the area that has always been venerated as the place on Mount Olivet where Jesus ascended to His Father and Ours!

the explanation that Hana gave was excellent, but it did give me time to practice my camera skills on a cat in the distance.... ascencion photos

4. Pater Noster (Church where Jesus could have taught the prayer - Our Father to His Disciples) Im sure he had to repeat Himself....  there is also a convent of (I believe carmelite nuns here) see the photo with the bars and Jesus in the inside (with the nuns)... and a small underground chapel - close to the place traditionally accepted where Jesus and disciples could have sat and learned to pray....

Pater Noster  I believe our guide said... (I was distracted with the cats)... the prayer is displayed in over 178 languages.... and still adding more. More tour book said 67 languages...

5.  Take me down to the river,
river jordan (south site) where the Jordan ends

The life preserver is something that I may have to add to our baptismal font...

6. I have many photos and much to say about the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, but for now, here are some photos.
Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Golgotha, Calvary...

Monday, July 7, 2014

What? no Quincineras in Jerusalem?

What's that I see? A Barmitzvah!

The Big kid, 15 yrs old?, under the tent is the 15 (quince)... Our bus driver said, they come from the states, so as to save money on the celebration.... (easier to tell the kid, "no you cant do x, we are doing it old school in Jerusalem...." ... they are going up the the house of the Lord, and that's all I know.... I'll find out more tomorrow.... (I've got so many photos and things to share, but my computer skills and internet service is slowing me down, plus Ive got to sleep and eat and do laundry,... etc... ) more to come 

Just so we dont get too excited with birthday's... another 
site outside the city walls of Jerusalem, that reveals the old tomb's and burial places...

And every year around the 7th of July out pops....

wait for it!

 a groundhog!

yes that is me, they have been feeding us very well, great food and hot sauce to boot!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

All along the watchtower.

First the old old city.... A model of the walls and city of Jerusalem from the time of Jesus :

You get the idea... Also where the temple WAS... The golden mosque is NOW...

The present walls are as follows, with their gates...

You may notice, the ramparts walk does not include the area of ( what the Jews still call ) the Temple Mount or the golden mosque...( the Muslims are not as ecumenical in allowing "outsiders" ).

The walk I did this day (for these photos) started at #2 and went all the way over to #5.....(map above)

Here you see the Wailing wall ( men and women's wall divided and the golden mosque on the other side of the wall.    A city of contrasts....

Do I feel safe?  

All Israeli youth serve two mandatory years in the army...
I have had a chance to chat with a soldier who has already served 3 years. He is convinced that it is all about defending his country. "we did not start this, but we will protect our people..." His words. He seemed very committed to the cause. He just visited his family and was on his way back to the front....

And now (I am still learning how to blog and post photos so bare with me)- I will try to post a link to one of my photo albums, with a few more photos of this three hour walking tour.... 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Why is this icon of Mary smiling? (Our lady of the smile - older than Mona Lisa! )


She smiles because, according to the orthodox, who venerate this icon, on the steps before one descends to the birthplace of Jesus ... ( below the main church of the nativity, where the deepest part of the shepherds cave was, where they kept their flock at night... )


She kept her newborn safe from the menacing tentacles of king Herod the great! 

The silver star and dark center stone is the place venerated as the birth of Jesus! She smiles!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3 doubt no more !

July 3 feast of St. Thomas apostle

A small group of us here at University cited to do a hike to the Old City old Jerusalem inside the walls to visit the cenacle being the place of Christ's Last Supper also the place where thry met the risen Christ, especially since it was the feast of Thomas doubting Thomas

I decided to hike there on hour and 40 minutes probably from where we are instead of going in the bus with the group so I was to prepare my legs for my future bicycle pilgrimage. It also allows me to think of the Holy family walking from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and getting a sense what it says in psalms "let us go up to the house of lord"  going up because  Jerusalem is set on small mountain. 

  The  Hebron Road which goes from Bethlehem to Jerusalem is a modern street probably paved over the ancient path that the holy family could've traveled, at least that's how I imagined it and made the journey.

Although i  met the group in the cenacle and prayed there for a few minutes I really wanted to get over to the Holy Sepulchre and speak to the Franciscans to see if I could celebrate a mass I waited outside the Catholic chapel in the Franciscan sacristy for more than an hour I soon learned that the Franciscans take siesta from 3 to 430. But God is good and when  Franciscans and Fr. Fabi open the sacristy door, he is more than willing to allow me to celebrate a mass- one of my favorite chapels- chapel of the Crusaders, small private chapel behind the Franciscan sacristy not really open to the public ( below) 
So here I spent a good hour praying for all of my family friends and parishioners . especially all the people  throughout my priesthood - in anyway - and for my benefactors and people who help make this journey a reality along with all the priests of the archdiocese And cardinal George. 
  An artist rendition of how the Holy Sepulchre looked when Constantine built the first chapel over Christ tomb. 
 It was definitely much more beautiful than than it is now. The Franciscans iand the Greek Orthodox share the space and a very polite tension  occupy the tomb along with some other denominations. 
 This artist rendering was how Constantine's soldiers remove the tomb from where was located mountainside turned into a small chapel with inside the larger church. It was destroyed in the fire and was replaced by the present inner chapel/ tomb 
 I leave you with one other picture I'm using my iPhone that isnt the best Camera the world but the fastest and quickness to handle in a crowd I tried to pan a picture or mosaic that greets you at the door the Holy Sepulchre in front of the anointing Stone Pilgrims first touch or pray upon. 


Nb I am using the microphone instead of typing this blog so beer with me ! It and i make mistakes and I don't have time right now to go back over and edit the text thank