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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

More photos from walking to Bethlehem

July 1st Free day. A walk to Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity

You may remember seeing photos of the Pope stopping to pray at the wall that now separates Bethlehem ( occupied By Palestine, a people not officially recognized by Isreal ) from Jerusalem (occupied by Isreal).  today I ventured out on my own with a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania.  A two hour walk took over four hours as we tried to follow the star to the church of Christ birth in Bethlehem. I'll post photos of the journey. Already, a student here getting his doctorate in international relations between Isreal and the Vatican, off the record, says he sees no solution for this region on the horizon, all sides are without answers... Maybe that is why the pope called for more prayer....