Dear Parishioners and Friends,
am writing you from Newark Liberty International Airport, where Pete and I are awaiting the boarding of our flight to Tel Aviv for a clergy familiarization trip to the holy land (I’m planning to lead a pilgrimage next year for parishioners and friends of St Mary’s). Despite gloomy news stories, we were able to get through security with no problems. Kudos to the dedicated men and women of the TSA and air traffic control who are keeping us all safe and moving during the government shutdown.
While this will not be my first pilgrimage (I went on a Jesuit pilgrimage to Spain in 2015), it will be our first time in the holy land. Already people are giving us lists of “must see” places and liturgies, including a Greek Orthodox service at the Holy Sepulchre that
starts at midnight
until 3:00 am
. It apparently attracts hundreds of people. I am very excited to see the sights and walk in the streets where our Lord once walked. It is almost overwhelming to imagine standing in the places where God’s plan for the salvation of his people played out. I am truly grateful for this time to get away and recharge spiritually after a long and eventful fall and Christmas season.
We are in the octave of the feast of the Baptism of Christ, and today being a feria, we re-heard Sunday’s readings at this morning’s mass in the chapel. Reading the story of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and celebrating his holy mysteries couldn’t have made for a better send off. I look forward to returning with many new stories and insights to share with you as we make our spiritual pilgrimage together into Lent and Easter.