80 pilgrims from Liverpool are currently visiting the Holy Land where their first port of call was the Mount of Olives.
Gill and Pete Holland reflect on the experience:
Following a quick turn around from our arrival, we were up and out at 8am. We set off for the Mount of Olives and nothing could have prepared us for the experience that lay ahead.
The Mount of Olives...from where Jesus sent his disciples to collect the donkey. 'Say the master needs it' so he might ride truumphantly into Jerusalem.
The Mount of Olives...where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray to his Father...The Church of the Pater Noster depicting the Lord's Prayer in ceramic tiles in many languages.
The Mount of Olives...The spot from where Jesus looked out across the Kedron Valkey to the City and wept bitterly, not only for his fate but the fate of Jerusalem.
In the Dominus Flevit Chapel which commemorates the spot where Jesus wept, we celebrated Mass with Fr Mark Madden. Mass, set against the panoramic and memorable backdrop of the walled City.
The Mount of Olives...where the Garden of Gethsenanae nestles in the foothills and overshadowed by the city walls. A place today free from the angst and pain Jesus would have felt as he watched the soldiers approach with torches ready to arrest him. His suffering reflected in the nearby Church.
The Mount of Olives...the place from where Jesus would ascend back to his Father.
The Mount of Olives... A special, holy and reflective place.
'Mind blowing!' We've heard this said so often today. 'I can't believe I'm here...This is the place where He was, can you believe it?' And we can't!
After a well earned lunch in an Armenian Restaurant and a visit to the Israel Museum to view the model of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Scrolls we made our way to our final destination.
Father Mark arranged for us to meet Bishop William Shomali, ordained an Auxiliary Bishop for the Church of Jerusalem less than one month ago. Following his encouraging words for our pilgrimage, he answered questions and gave us a blessing.
And so...our cheery band of happy pilgrims made our way back to the hotel to rest and relax and share memories of the day as we followed in the footsteps of the Lord, ably led by our priests.
Who knows what awe and wonder day two will hold for us!