20 September 2017

On the way to the light: American pilgrims to the Holy Land

They came from the American regions that were hit by hurricanes: 40 pilgrims, some of whom are Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher who came to the Holy Land to rediscover their faith.

Actuality and events

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A path from darkness to light. This is the metaphor that has accompanied the journey of 40 American pilgrims from the United States to the Holy Land.

Guided by Bishop James Tamayo, the first bishop of the diocese of Laredo, a city on the border with Mexico, the participants from different cities, states and ages, had first-hand experience of the biblical places.

His Excellency JAMES ANTHONY TAMAYO
Bishop of Laredo - Texas
"We just walked through the Via Dolorosa, the Via Crucis and we stopped at the church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is special to all of us and to all who believe, because we know that God is present in our lives, He has become present in our flesh and has lived among us. "

After spending the first days in the Northern area, the group of pilgrims walked on the stones and through the streets of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection toward Jerusalem, where they participated in the celebration of the Holy Mass together with the Franciscans in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher that faces the empty tomb of Christ. An experience filled with a particular meaning. Some of the pilgrims come from areas hit by hurricanes: they started their journey with devastation in their eyes and with a heavy heart.

ARNOLD B. AREVALO
Houston - Texas
"It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. I fought in Vietnam, but seeing these innocent people suffer was not watching like a television program, where you could simply change the channel. This was all real.

Every street was flooded, the houses were flooded ... houses that should have never been inundated, were flooded....the water level inside the homes reached 1 meter.

We almost missed the flight, because every street to the airport was flooded! It is usually a 45 minute trip to get to the airport, but it took us 2 and a half hours to get there! In my opinion, this pilgrimage trip could not have taken place at a better time.”

His Excellency JAMES ANTHONY TAMAYO
Bishop of Laredo - Texas
"Some pilgrims who live in Houston saw that devastation; they chose to come here and pray for their brothers and sisters who lost their home, their property, but not their lives. And we are grateful to God for His mercy and goodness because we know, just as we walked through this calvary road, that suffering exists in our lives as it did in His. But he helps us to overcome it.”

Some of the pilgrims are knights and ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and, on the occasion of the trip to the Holy Land, have received a special gift, a 'not to forget' token: the pilgrim shell.

His Excellency Mons. KAMAL BATTISH
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
"The pilgrim shell is consigned only to the knights or ladies who come to visit the Holy Land. It says exactly what you are: you are the guardian of Jesus, you are united to Jesus, the Lord, and you are bound to His home here in the Holy Land ... this is the most important thing.”

REBECCA SEPULVEDA
Lady of The Holy Sepulcher – Laredo, Texas
"We are honored to be members of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher. It is my second visit to the Holy Land and it is my husband's first time here. But coming here and seeing the places where our Lord lived has always been a journey full of blessings which we share, along with the story of the Holy Land, with our three sons and our family at home.”

"What has been planted in your heart here, may it flourish at home." Bishop Tamayo told the group of pilgrims during his homily at the Edicule of the Holy Sepulcher. A wish that already has the scent of hope.