Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Holy Land Pilgrimage Summer '22

Hey Y’all! 

My name is James (or Captain) 

This is the first time I’ve ever written something here on the blog and, despite having over fifteen years of my life shared on here by my mom, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself in my own words!

I’m 21 years old and am the oldest of nine in my family. I grew up in beautiful Southern Oregon for eighteen years but currently live (still with my family) in North Idaho. After attending school at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia for two years, I transferred over to University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where I just finished up my junior year of college. If everything works out, God willing, I will graduate next spring with a degree in Criminal Justice. I know I won’t be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but I can do my best to make right the injustices within the communities and populations that I will be working with in the future and in that way, I hope to strengthen our communities and leave a lasting positive impact for future generations. 

Now that you know a little bit about my background, I thought I’d share a little bit about what I enjoy doing. First off, I absolutely love the outdoors and spending time in nature. Whenever I can, I try to go swimming in the lakes or hiking in the mountains all while admiring God's beautiful artwork. If I’m not out spending time in nature, I like to stay active and spend my time with my family and friends playing all sorts of sports and board games. I think I would have to say that pickleball has become one of my favorite sports to play with family and friends and for board games it’s still Settlers of Catan. ;D


I also really love road trips and visiting unique sites! My favorite road trip this year was the bus ride with my friends from Bismarck to DC in January for the March for Life.  There were many things about that trip that I loved but one of my favorites was visiting the National Archives Museum for the first time and reading for myself the words of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. That moment that I was able to experience was incredible! Not gonna lie, my vision became a little blurry when I was reading those monumental documents. It made everything that I believe and love about this country that much more meaningful. Sure, I have read books on the founding of America and have studied certain aspects of how this country has grown throughout history, but by observing first-hand the documents that formed America, it made everything, in a way, real.  It added a new perspective on my Constitutional Law class (that I took this last semester), American History, and the American government system.

This summer, I have been granted the wonderful opportunity to partake in an upcoming pilgrimage traveling to the Holy Land with my godfather, Father Dennis Gordon!
During our travels, God willing, we’ll be blessed to visit where Christ was born, where He walked on water, where He prayed on the Mount of Olives, where He was crucified, and where He rose from the dead! These are just a few of the places we'll be visiting on my pilgrimage. Similar to how seeing the documents on which our country was founded created a more personal understanding of America, I believe that going on this pilgrimage and visiting the holy sites throughout Jerusalem will create a new, real, and reinvigorating understanding of the Faith that I believe in. Yes, I encounter Christ in a very real way every day in the people I interact with, in His beautiful nature that He created, and at Mass in the Holy Sacrament, but by going and literally walking the same streets He walked on will make the Faith that I live out that much more real and meaningful to me. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will make reading the bible that much more vivid, the consecration of the Eucharist that much more impactful, and create in me an even greater zealousness to live out the Christian Faith.

However, I can’t do this on my own.
 In addition to working (more than) full time this summer and working as an RA during the upcoming school year, I’m trying to fundraise to help offset the pilgrimage costs. Therefore, I humbly ask you (to find it in your heart) to help support me and my trip to the Holy City of Jerusalem. (Not gonna lie, I feel like I am a knight embarking on a crusade and begging for the support of the community to help him go on his holy mission! lol) But in all seriousness, your unselfish generosity would make something that I thought would never even be a possibility a REALITY. Again, I am humbled by and eternally grateful for ANY financial support you can provide. I understand, however, if you are unable to help financially, and I would appreciate the spiritual help in prayers for a safe and fruitful pilgrimage. If you have any intentions that you'd like me to pray for while in the Holy Land, don’t hesitate to send them to me, and I’ll remember them as I visit the holy sites. :) 

Anywhoooo, I hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about me and what I like in my own words and if you are able to offer any help either spiritual or financial (or both!) I will be forever grateful! 

Take care and God Bless :D


(Donate at GoFundMemy Venmo or Mom's Paypal

P.S. Here is the tentative itinerary for our trip: 

Departure Day
  • Leave North America
Day 1
  • Meet at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv
  • Transfer to Nazareth for Mass and supper at the hotel
Day 2
  • Basilica of the Annunciation
  • Cana of Galilee
  • Mount Tabor & Transfiguration
Day 3
  • Mount of the Beatitudes
  • Caesarea Philippi & Confession of Saint Peter
  • Golan Heights
  • Primacy of Saint Peter
  • Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
  • Capernaum
  • Tabgha Priory & Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Day 4
  • Zippori National Park: Sepphoris & the birthplace of Our Lady
  • Tel Megiddo National Park: Armageddon
  • Muhraqa & Carmelite Monastery: Holy Prophet Elias & the priests of Baal
Day 5
  • Leave Nazareth and drive south for Jerusalem
  • Qumran National Park: Saint John the Baptist & the Essenes
  • River Jordan & the Baptism of the Lord
  • Jericho
  • Dead Sea swimming
Day 6
  • Bethlehem & Church of the Nativity
  • Shepherds’ Fields
  • ‘Ein Kerem & the Visitation of Our Lady
Day 7
  • Mount of Olives, Pater noster & Church of Eleona
  • Dominus flevit
  • Gethsemane
  • Mount Sion: Dormition Abbey, Cenaculum
  • Saint Peter in Gallicantu
Day 8
  • Via Dolorosa
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
  • Bethany & the Tomb of Lazarus
Day 9
  • Drive to Haifa to visit Mount Carmel for the Feast Day
  • Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery
  • Caesarea Maritima (extremely important early Christian centre connected with the Apostles and Church Fathers: Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Zacchaeus, Philip the Deacon, Cornelius the Centurion, Origen, Eusebius, and the Nicene Creed!)
Day 10
  • Sunday Mass at a place to be determined (Notre Dame? Latin Patriarchate?)
  • The Israel Museum
  • The Shine of the Book
  • Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath)
Day 11
  • Cross the Jordan River at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge
  • Mount Nebo, where Moses looked out and saw the Promised Land
  • Madaba & ancient Christian sites
  • Wadi Musa (Spring of Moses)
Day 12
  • Petra
Day 13
  • Mount Hor & the Tomb of Aaron
  • Kerak Castle Crusader Fortress
Day 14
  • Queen Alia Airport for travel home

“Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the Gospel will save it.” ~ Mark 8: 34-35