Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Greetings from Jerusalem! Yesterday we visited the Garden of Gethsemane and the Holy Sepulcher (The EMPTY tomb of Christ). By the time you read this we will have journeyed to Galilee and will be in Bethlehem. Please know of my prayers for you all as we journey through this Holy Land.
Today’s readings, especially the gospel deal with resolving conflict. It has been said a few times on our pilgrimage that even as Jerusalem is often referred to as the City of Peace, the truth is that there is not much peace. There is tension and conflict, some we hear about, some that is filtered before it is presented to us in the West and some we don’t even know about. Though it stands to reason that the place where Jesus walked would be a place of this type of tension. The Lord himself said that he came to bring division, because not all will accept his invitation.
Please pray for the Christians in the Holy Land. I am here with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem of which I am a member and chaplain for the diocesan members. Our mission is to support Christians in the Holy Land. In this birthplace of the faith, only 1.8% are Christian and that number is dwindling because of the many ways they suffer here. May Christ the Prince of Peace bring his peace to bear in this Holy Land.
I also wanted to share with you that we are in the final stage of preparing for a capital campaign that will focus primarily on the Church, but will also address other issues on our campus. Yesterday we met a gentleman whose family has been the custodians of the Pater Noster Church on the Mount of Olives, the place where it is believed that Christ ascended to heaven, for 500 years. The great pride he took in caring for this holy place and the joy with which he shared this with us told me that this was his home.
Assumption is our Home. Our Church building will be turning 70 years old in January. Though some beautiful renovation and cosmetic work was done in 2013, a great deal underlying work has not been done. The electrical and audio needs which some have already contributed to will be a part of this project, but the intent is to work from the ground up and restore the church for the next 70 years, for the children and grandchildren of Assumption Parish. We will talk more about this soon! Until then, Shalom from Jerusalem!