MURRELLS INLET–A group of pilgrims from St. Michael church rresponded to Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration for the Year of Faith by taking the opportunity to visit the Holy Land in February.
Led by their pastor, Father Ray Carlo, the group of 24 followed the footsteps of Jesus to grow closer to Him, and to discover the roots of the Christian faith.
Visiting Bethlehem, sailing across the Sea of Galiliee, renewing wedding vows at Cana, and baptismal promises at the Joradn River were only a few highlitgts of the trip. Father Carlo celebrated daily Mass in churches, a chapel, outdoors, and in a hotel meeting room. The men took turns serving and the ladies gave the daily readings. Mrs. Pat Tarashuk led the singing.
The group had a particularly spiritual experience beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent his last night praying before he was arrested. After Mass inside the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony, located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, everyone touched the Holy Rock of Agony, where Jesus is said to have prayed.
The next day the group started at Pilate’s Judgment Hall and made their way through the markets of the Old City, taking turns carrying a large wooden cross. They stopped at the Stations of the Cross for scriptural reading and verses of the Stabat Mater hymn. They ended at teh Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Another emotion-filled experience took place when the pilgrims touched the stones of the Western Wall and left behind their personal prayers. The group returned to the United States in time for the Passion of Christ on Good Friday which tied together the sties, events and experience of the pilgrimage in a most significant way.
Photo provided: Pat Tarashuk sings during Mass while Bob Ellendorf and Don Zaits serve at the altar for Father Ray Carlo. They were part of a group who took a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.