Day 6: Shepherd's Field & Bethlehem - Pilgrimage to The Holy Land

Pilgrimage to The Holy Land

Oct 06
Day 6: Shepherd's Field & Bethlehem

01_View from Shepherd's Field.jpgAs we journeyed to Bethlehem this morning, we first stopped at the "Shepherd's Field." 03_Shepherd's Field Church.jpgThe Shepherd's Field Chapel was designed by Antonio Barluzzi and decorated with images of the annunciation, shepherds with sheep, the childhood of Jesus. Our guide described the history of the past and present buildings here. 05_Mural1.jpgWe sang "O Come, All Ye Faithful" in the chapel. It may sound strange to sing a Christmas Carol in October, but it was so wonderful to sing those words in this location! 

08_The Shepherd's Cave.jpgThen we headed down to the caves that dated back 2,000 years. These may be the actual caves where the shepherds in the scriptures received the message from the angels announcing the Lord's birth. 10_Altar in the Cave.jpgWe listened to the Scripture passage of the angels appearing to the shepherds and bring them the good news. Then we entered the cave which had a very low ceiling. We sang "Silent Night," in the cave, and reflected on what happened here. 11_Sitting in the cave.jpgThe shepherds may have been huddled with their sheep in the cave or all around it. We walked around ruins of an ancient church, and then boarded our busses for the short trip to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is a large bustling city today, located in an area called the West Bank. Unfortunately, this area is controlled by the Israeli army, and we needed to go through a checkpoint. It was so sad to see that the entire city was surrounded by a tall wall, and the Palestinians who live there live like they are in prison.

12_Church of the Nativity.jpgWe arrived at the Casa Nova, Franciscan House, and walked through their building to get to St. Joseph's Church, where we celebrated Mass in the Chapel of St. Catharine. 16_Mass2.jpgAfter the Mass we were invited to join the Franciscan Friars for their daily procession into the Grotto of the Nativity. 18_Franciscan Procession.jpgWe each held a thin tapered candle and followed them out of the chapel and into the Grotto. 20_Holding Candles in the Grotto.jpgAfter their short service honoring the birth of Christ, we returned upstairs for lunch in the Casa Nova Franciscan House. We returned to the grotto again after lunch.

21_Small Door Entrance.jpgThis time we entered the church through the tiny door on the outside of the church. This door was originally much larger, but much of it was bricked in to make it impossible for an invader on a horse or camel to attack. 22_Inside Church of the Nativity.jpgThe church of the Nativity is the oldest existing original church in the world. The church was originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena on the site that was traditionally considered to be the birthplace of Jesus.

22_Spot Where Jesus Was Born.jpgThis second visit to the grotto allowed each pilgrim the opportunity to venerate the 14-point silver star on the floor beneath the altar. 24_In the Grotto.jpgAround it are the words: Hic De Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). After some free time to shop, we returned to our hotel for dinner. After dinner the pilgrims were invited to attend a penance service in the hotel chapel.

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SO AMAZING !!!  May you all...

SO AMAZING !!!  May you all be abundantly blest and return home so spiritually enriched!!!
 on 10/6/2018 5:39 PM

Italy Pilgrimage
October 19-30, 2017
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