Following in the footsteps of Jesus

Bishop Richard is again leading the Liverpool Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 8th-15th June 2015.

It is your last chance to book onto the 2015 pilgrimage. Booking info in the box to the right.

Bishop Richard said “Visiting the Holy Land is an important, moving part of our discipleship. Visiting some of the world’s most holy sites gives us a new perspective on the Gospel story. Accompanied by local, knowledge (Palestinian? Guides) enables us to put our faith into the context of today’s religious struggles. I have enjoyed leading these visits and warmly encourage you to join myself and fellow pilgrims on this year’s trip.”

Bishop Richard explains more about this spiritual trip of a lifetime.

"No one can fail to be moved, or changed, by visiting the Holy Land.  Following our successful pilgrimage in 2013 a number of us have wanted to return and to bring new pilgrims with us.  Being a pilgrim there earths one’s faith. Visiting and venerating the place of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem or the actual place of his Crucifixion in Jerusalem impresses the reality of what we have read in the Bible. Nowhere is more moving or evocative than the Sea of Galilee where fishermen still cast their nets on the water.

Jerusalem is a more bewildering experience.  When you finally arrive through a network of dark and narrow passages into the magnificent Gothic church on the site of Calvary, you find yourself in a tumult of myriad different races, languages and liturgies. Nowhere is the fragmentation of Christendom more obvious; voiced so differently, nowhere is the strength and the spiritual depth of the Christian faith so evident and moving.

The intensity of prayer is made all the more striking by the knowledge that pilgrims have been coming since at least the 4th Century. Constantine’s church was begun in 326 and it was in order to pray at this site that pilgrims risked life, limb and freedom to reach it.  And it was to re-possess this site that the Crusades were launched.

The modern pilgrim is in for a shock. It comes as a jolt to realise that Jesus physically resembled the native Palestinians more than us pale-skinned Anglo-Saxons. It is a surprise to realise that Palestinian Christians count for less than 2% of the population of the Holy Land. The wall that encloses Bethlehem and the one erected to separate the West Bank from Israel is brutal and menacing – a reminder that the religious and the political are more intimately intertwined in the Holy Land than anywhere else on earth.

In its turbulent and bloody history, Jerusalem is sacred to all three Abrahamic religions. It is a holy city not because it is especially beautiful but because it is the focal point in the ongoing story of our confused and often violent quest for God. The name Jerusalem means “city of peace” but it will know peace only if Christians, Jews and Muslims can restore to Jerusalem and the Holy Land its character as a Holy place for all of Abraham’s children. As Psalm 122 says: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Pilgrims from 2013 share their experience

Pat Gray and Suzanne Quick made the journey to the Holy Land in the 2013 pilgrimage.

Pat Gray said "The Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in October 2013 was an unforgettable experience- to walk in the land where Jesus walked, to follow in His footsteps, to pray the Via Dolorosa- the route that Jesus took on his way to the cross.

Most memorable were -the beautiful panoramas from the Sea of Galilee, that first sight of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, kneeling amongst the crowds in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where a sliver star marks the birthplace of Jesus and also being challenged by the sights glimpsed on a visit to a refugee camp.

The whole week was made all the more special by very meaningful daily worship lead by Bishop Richard that along with our personal reflections brought the bible and gospel message alive in a wonderfully fresh way.

The Holy Land packs more culture, history and archaeology into its tiny space than any where else in the world and I strongly commend the diocesan pilgrimage 2015 as an opportunity to experience this but most of all as a time to draw closer to God."

Suzanne Quick added  "'It was a privilege to be a pilgrim on the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2013 led by Bishop Richard, walking in the footsteps of Jesus.  Whatever stage you are at on your Christian  journey, if you have the opportunity, I would strongly encourage you to go on the pilgrimage.   The experience has strengthened my faith and really did bring the Bible Alive."

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