Angela DiLaura, Everest Collegiate High School senior, continues her blog written during her classes’ senior trip to Jerusalem in Holy Week 2013.
The sharp sound of a ringing telephone woke me up. I sighed and turned over — and looked directly into bright light. I checked my watch: 6:00 AM. Ok, well then, apparently it gets very light very early and very quickly here in Israel. I guess you learn something new every day. Moving quickly, I packed up, grabbed some breakfast, and headed out to the bus. Today is our last day in Galilee; tonight we begin our stay in Jerusalem.
By 8:00 am, our bus was pulling up to Capernaum. Father Daniel (Pajerski LC) celebrated Mass in a beautiful chapel with a glass floor… located directly above Simon Peter’s house, the house where Jesus performed many miracles. After Mass we ran over to the ruins of Capernaum’s synagogue. There, Father read us the Bread of Life discourse (John 6:53-59). In this passage Christ makes the famous statement, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” The passage ends with John saying, “These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” We were standing right where Jesus Christ stood when he began to preach about the Eucharist. (Cool or what!?!)
We moved on quickly to the Mount of Beatitudes and explored the Church built on the summit and the area around it. Our guide Amer told us that it is likely Christ actually stood at the bottom of the slopes while the crowds stood above. If you are quiet while standing at the top of the mountain, you can hear the fishermen talking on the shore of the Sea. God probably understood the acoustics of the area pretty well!
Then, we drove down the road a bit to Tabga, the site of the location of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, where we saw the rock where Christ preformed the miracle. We lit candles for our intentions. Finally, we drove another few miles down the road to the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Christ instituted the Papacy with the words, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Inside was the huge rock where Tradition says Jesus spoke with Peter. Outside we stepped into the Sea of Galilee, saw the large heart-shaped rocks on the beach, and picked up stones to bring home.
Before we went to lunch we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. The sun was beating down intensely, and it was very easy to imagine St. Peter and the other apostles working out in the sun. The air was humid and thick; visibility was remarkably low. How amazing to be out on the same water that Jesus walked on! Next we went to lunch at a restaurant near the Sea, where we were served “St. Peter’s Fish,” and pita bread with hummus and a variety of other salads and dips. We have certainly been getting plenty to eat!
In the afternoon, we left Galilee for Southern Israel, where we visited the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Finally, we drove a few more miles to the shore of the Dead Sea, where we floated (and tried not to splash too much!) After we dried off, we headed to our new hotel in Jerusalem, happy to spend the evening relaxing. Since we had a little bit of extra free time, Father Daniel took several of us to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is only a 15-20 minute walk away from the hotel. By the time we walked through the old city, most of the vendors had closed up their shops. The people were heading home, giving the city a more peaceful air.