SILVER SPRING, Md. — Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, from St. Camillus Church, is preparing to lead another pilgrimage to the Holy Land and welcomes friars and partners-in-ministry to experience this “trip of a lifetime.”
Set for June 15 to 25, the Franciscan Peacemaking Pilgrimage is being organized by Jacek in cooperation with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.
This is a unique trip that integrates a traditional spiritual pilgrimage with the social justice dimension, he said. As such, the trip aims to help participants better understand the complex reality of the Holy Land. Special attention will be given to the religious, social and political dimensions of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, according to an informational flyer.
Jacek said the peacemaking pilgrimage is designed to provide a rich spiritual experience for participants. They will be empowered, upon their return home, to partner with others who seek to build a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land — and to strengthen the bonds of solidarity with the Christian community in the Holy Land.
The upcoming trip to the Holy Land is also intended to assist the minstries of Holy Name Province in developing their peacemaking efforts as stated in the HNP Vision and Strategic Plan 2008-2013 (Mission/Goal C): “Develop our peacemaking efforts by becoming more deeply involved in dialogue among Christians, Jews and msulims, while engaging the religious, social economic and political factors that, when unaddressed, become catalysts for violence.”
Pilgrims will visit holy places in and around Jerusalem and Galilee, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Shepherd’s Fields in Beit Sahour, the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives, the Via Dolorosa, the Cenacle, the Pools of Bethesda, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha and the Sea of Galilee.
Jacek has led four similar pilgrimages before, to positive reviews from those who have participated. “I will remember the trip for the rest of my life,” said Jud Weiksnar, OFM, of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Camden, N.J. Other comments appear on the pilgrimage flyer. Photos taken during the November 2009 Holy Land pilgrimage can be found in a previous issue of this newsletter, in “Finding Hope in the Holy Land.”
The pilgrimage cost is $3,100 per person, double occupancy. A deposit of $750 is required when a reservation is made. Reservations must be made by March 15.
For more information, contact Jacek at 301-434-8400, ext. 14, or email@example.com.
“Please consider informing your partners-in-ministry about this unique opportunity,” Jacek said.
He has provided text for inclusion in parish bulletins: “Are you ready for a trip of a lifetime: to literally walk the streets of Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the footsteps of Jesus or take a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee? Are you also open to discover the presence of the risen Christ in the midst of the present struggle for justice, peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land? If you are, please consider participating in the Franciscan Peacemaking Pilgrimage to the Holy Land scheduled for June 15 to 25, 2010. For more information, contact Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-434-8400 ext. 14.”