In Israel, there is a growing number of tourists: 349,000 visited the country last April. This is the highest number of visitors ever reached this month. An increase of 38% over last year. From January to this day, over a million pilgrims traveled to the Holy Land.
Among them, there are a lot of pilgrims from all over the world. We see them in the shrines of Israel and Palestine, as in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The different groups share the same interests, but each one has its own peculiarity, such as this one, whose trip was organized by the 'Terra Santa' magazine.
Director - Terra Santa Magazine
“(This pilgrimage was organized)to get the Holy Land known from a spiritual and cultural point of view, but also on this particular occasion dedicated to the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land. This is an opportunity to gather friends and benefactors of the Holy Land from all over Italy, people eager to travel to the Holy Land.”
Fr. GIUSEPPE FERRARI
President - Terra Santa Association
"This experience has a more spiritual character, it is a pilgrimage experience, it is not a scientific journey or a study, neither an archeological nor a theological event...... For the majority, this is their first on-site experience: it is one thing to encounter a reality through a script or an article, but coming into contact with the actual situation through their visual experience, is quite something else.”
Pilgrimage is visiting the places of God, those spaces chosen by Him to set up His tent next to us.
"We decided to make this particular wedding trip to the Holy Land because we want to entrust our marriage to the Lord, and what better place than here? We believe that marriage is composed by both the spouses and the Lord at center who leads our marriage.”
"In our wedding celebration, we explained to everyone that our marriage was to be a journey in the service of love and life. And what better place than here, where the Lord showed us how to be a gift of life and love for all. So this pilgrimage was a way of thanking the Lord of a new life, together with Him.”
The Holy Land magazine, in addition to helping pilgrims enjoy their journey, is also a tool for deepening their involvement with the holy places and the lives of Christians who live in the Holy Land.
Director - Terra Santa Magazine
"The Terra Santa magazine was created in 1921; it is a very old magazine and shortly afterwards the twin magazines in other European languages followed. It is still an important tool today, I would say almost indispensable, to encourage pilgrims and of all those who have the desire to stay close to the works of the Custody of the Holy Land.”
During their meeting with Father Francesco Patton, pilgrims also had the opportunity to deepen their sense of pilgrimage and to perceive the importance of the 800 years of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land. "A pilgrimage is a luminous moment in a person's life”, says the Custos, who also wants to extend an invitation...
Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"Come to renew your faith, for here is the source of our experience of faith."