Would–be pilgrims planning on joining the Connor Diocesan trip to the Holy Land in November heard about the wonderful sites they will visit at an information meeting held on June 6.
The meeting was hosted in St Anne’s Cathedral Hall by the Dean of Belfast the Very Rev John Mann, who will lead the pilgrimage along with the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy.
To date 18 people from a number of Connor parishes have signed up for the pilgrimage, but more places are available if anyone is still interested in joining the group.
The pilgrimage will begin on Tuesday November 12 with flights from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow and on to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv. The first two days are spent in Jerusalem, followed by an optional trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. There will be a visit to Mount Zion and Bethlehem, and the Sunday is spent meeting the people of Jerusalem at St George’s Cathedral, followed by a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial or a relax at the hotel.
On the Monday the pilgrims move via Caesarea, Haifa and Acre to Tiberias, and the second part of the pilgrimage takes in Jesus’s lakeside ministry, Nazareth and Northern Galilee before the pilgrims depart for home early on Friday November 22.
The cost of the tour is £1,745 sharing a twin bedded room. In Jerusalem pilgrims stay in the three star Golden Walls Hotel overlooking the city walls, and in Tiberias the hotel is the four star Ron Beach on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
The information meeting was an opportunity for those committed to going to get to know their fellow pilgrims. During the meeting Dean Mann brought the itinerary to life showing a presentation of pictures taken during the last Connor Diocesan Pilgrimage in 2011.
He spoke of the geography of the area, and addressed questions on issues including currency, weather and security.
A brochure / booking form can be downloaded here, and is also available from Dean Mann at Belfast Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2HB; telephone 028 9032 8332 or email email@example.com.
Inviting people to join this pilgrimage, Bishop Alan writes in the brochure: “This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the places as well as the texts of the Bible and so to encounter and relate to Jesus in a new and thrilling way.
“We shall find the gospel made strikingly contemporary for us in the lives of the faithful Israelis and Palestinians whom we shall meet and who will guide us through their beautiful and troubled land.”
Bishop Alan continues: “The variety of sites and situations will speak to us all differently, but we shall all be united on a journey together, thirsting for holiness, forgiveness, peace and justice. The journey will also be full of laughter and joy, with profound worship and cherishing fellowship.”
In March 2011 Dean Mann led a group of 85 people from Connor on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Pilgrims’ comments on their return included:
A divine experience. Every step was history and gave a visible meaning to the Bible and the New Testament in particular.’
‘We saw the hills that saw Jesus play and enjoy his childhood.’
‘We will always remember the fun and fellowship we felt throughout the tip.’
‘I…returned home energised both physically and spiritually.’
‘It was a privilege to be part of this pilgrimage, so well organised and led, including the meaningful prayers and Bible readings for every site.’
Photos of the 2011 Connor Pilgrimage can be viewed here.