Monday, September 5, 2022

Holy Land Pilgrimage Part 4 - Bethlehem


Day 6: Wednesday, July 13
In the morning, we will journey to the hill country of Judea surrounding Jerusalem to visit Ein Kerem, where lived Zachary and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist (Luke 1). At the top of the hill stands the Basilica of the Visitation, where Our Lady met Elizabeth and pronounced her “Magnificat”, and at the bottom is the place where Zachary prophesied his “Benedictus”. Then we will journey to Bethlehem to see the fields where the shepherds received the “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2) and visit the Basilica of the Nativity, where our Lord was born. Under that Basilica, an ancient monastery, lies the grotto where St. Jerome lived for 34 years, producing our monumental Vulgate translation of Holy Scripture, as well as numerous scriptural commentaries and theological works. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.


About to go spend the day in the City of David, Bethlehem!

 But first a quick pic for 5 of my friends (they are the only ones who are gonna get this)...
"We got milk, MmmHmm... And honey, Oooh-yeaahhh."
(Shout out to Fr. Theo - Quo Vadis Days - for this amazing line which I will never forget.) 

The Walls of Bethlehem
I didn't even know this was a thing. Sad story...


We stopped at this Christian store for 2 hours! 
One guy sang the Our Father in Hebrew for us which was really neat. 


These handmade carvings and jewelry were so cool but just too expensive for this broke college kid...  


This was on the cheaper side of things!



The Shepherd's Fields 

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."

Can't see them well in the picture but there are actually sheep in the valley down below. 

Also served Mass in one of the Shepherd's Caves which was incredible. 
Below is some of the artwork of the chapel on top of the hill above the caves. 


Jesus' Birth Place - Bethlehem

"Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men." 

The spot where the manger was kept!

Very moving to say the least. 

This is the cave where the Holy Innocents were buried which is part of the same cave where Christ was born! Below are some of the remains that were found of the Holy Innocents; the first martyrs for Christ. 


                                                        A relic of the Nativity Manger!


The skulls pictured above are those of monks who passed way while living in the caves near where Jesus was born.  

The popemobile used by Pope Francis during his 2013 Bethlehem pilgrimage.

Our last stop was the Carmel in Bethlehem. 


Took that rose picture for you, Mom! <3

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified - I didn't know anything about here at all till visiting this Carmel but she has a very interesting story.

This is also the place where David was anointed king!

Lots of amazing things happening next so stay tuned for part 5... 


  1. This journey of yours is so enlivening, educational and exciting! I'm learning so much through your posts and photos, it's a joy to finally see these places we've all read about in the Bible. What a blessing for you to actually be there, though: kneeling right there at the place where Christ was born, serving Mass in the Shepherd's Cave, discovering a new saint, renewing your baptismal vows in the River Jordan - how many of us can make that claim!, swimming in the Dead Sea (- oh wait, maybe not!). Thank you for sharing this extraordinary journey full of discoveries, reverence, great photos and fun. Can't WAIT for your next installment!

  2. Hey Karen! (Nice alliteration!) I'm happy that people are able to learn through these simple accounts. I definitely learned LOT during my time there through Fr. Gordon and our tour Guide. We didn't cover anywhere near everything by any means but I will cherish what I did learn and will continue to pursue to learn more. And YES being in these places has completely transformed how I read the Bible, how I listen to the Mass readings, etc...! Like I have said before, I'm glad I'm able to share this experience though the pictures/videos I took and the account that I have written about my pilgrimage.


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