Following is the first blog submission (with more to come) from Angela DiLaura, a senior at Everest Collegiate Girls’ High School (Clarkston, Michigan) and a member of the Immaculate Conception Program. Angela is with her classmates in the Everest Class of 2013 for their senior pilgrimage to the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Israel.
Right now I am sitting on a bus in Israel getting ready to go visit Cana and several other holy sites near Galilee. I can’t really describe how excited I am. My soul is ready to be filled with Christ, my heart is full of joy, and my body is pumping with adrenaline.
But, let’s go back to where this began. On Saturday March 23, 2013, 16 members of the Everest Collegiate senior class left for the trip of a lifetime — a pilgrimage to the Holy Land during Holy Week.
We left from Detroit’s Metro Airport, and after a layover in New York City’s JFK Airport, boarded the plane bound for Tel Aviv, Israel. Doing our best not to drive other travelers crazy with our shenanigans, we alternately talked, slept, and watched movies as our anticipation and excitement grew. The flight attendants asked us to keep all the window shades closed, because there is a seven-hour time difference between our Eastern Standard Time and the time in Israel, and the sun would soon be coming up.
Every once in a while Nick, who had the window seat in my row, would open the shade, and as the night went on, it got brighter. By 3:00 in the morning, the sky was shining, and eventually we could see the ocean below us. We landed in Tel Aviv at about 12:30 pm Israeli time (5:30 am EST). When we walked out of the airport, the sun was shining on the palm trees and lush greenery below, and the air was deliciously warm.
After meeting our amazing tour guide, Amer, we hopped on a bus and drove to Joppa, where St. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. There, at the Church of St. Peter, Father Daniel (Pajerski LC) celebrated Mass. Outside the church, we walked around and took in the view. Simply walking around soaking up the sun was incredible. Definitely a change from freezing, snowy Michigan! A few of us climbed up a small hill right outside the church; the view was breathtaking. Facing west, the perfectly azure Mediterranean Sea was directly ahead. To the left was the Church of St. Peter as well as several other older buildings. To the right, the city was more modern, with high rise condominiums, office buildings, and malls.
We cheered as we passed the American Embassy… and a McDonalds! Eventually we got back on the bus and drove through the countryside to Tiberius, a town on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where we spent the night.
During this week we will be traveling throughout the Holy Land, visiting Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, and Jerusalem. We will visit the Church of the Nativity where Christ was born, go to the only remaining wall of the temple where Jesus was lost, and go to Cana where His public ministry began. We will take a boat ride over the sea Jesus walked on, spend time consoling Him in Gethsemane on Holy Thursday, and walk the Way of the Cross with Him on Good Friday. We will accompany Christ, console His heart, and open our hearts to the grace of redemption. We will be following the life of Christ during this Holy week; we will be chasing the Son!