5th Mar 2012
This mail comes to you from the only Couple from Chennai – the Johnsons – Reecy & Johnson, who joined your Holy Land Pilgrimage from 21st Feb 2012 to 3rd Mar 2012. We are grateful to God Almighty, His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ and our Counsellor the Holy Spirit and also to our compassionate Mother and all the Angels & Saints who accompanied us on the Pilgrimage. We thank God for leading us to Jenson, a divine ambassador, who was instrumental in fulfilling our dream of visiting the Holy Land.
We were all the more happy to have Rev Fr Mathew Naickomparambil and Rev Sis Therese from the Divine Retreat Centre, as our spiritual leaders during the pilgrimage.
The entire trip was meticulously planned and organised by Jenson, who took special care to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of every pilgrim. There was no cause for worry or tension. Jenson took care of everything. It was indeed a growth retreat, as every moment of the trip was filled with prayerful sessions, praise & worship and testimonies. The visits to the Biblical places brought alive all the events narrated in the Bible and the Word of God came alive and took flesh in every discerning pilgrim. We were transported 2000 years back in history to the times of our Lord Jesus Christ and lo and behold, the feeling was as though we were in the presence of child Jesus, Mother Mary and St. Joseph and finally ending up in the presence of the crucified Saviour of the world, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven! In fact, it was an experience similar to Luke 24: 32 – “Were not our hearts burning within us ?” We will never be the same and we will never study the Bible in the same earlier way. Almost every time we read it, we will recall and say, “we were there”. And our Lord will come alive in our midst!
It was not just the New Testament which took life in us, but even the Old Testament came alive, with the history, events and places related to Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Elijah and others.
The privilege of having the Holy Mass everyday was the greatest blessing, as we took part in the Eucharistic Feast as nourishing food for our Soul, Spirit and Body, beginning with the first day of landing at Mount Nebo. It kept everyone, young and old, healthy and safe during the entire trip. A memorable event was the renewal of Baptismal Vows in the River Jordan at the spot where our Lord was baptized and where the Holy Trinity was revealed concurrently. We were also overawed as we took part in the “nuptial” service at the Church of Cana – “the wedding feast and the jars of new wine” – a “fresh fire” experience indeed! And to boot it, we were given certificates of renewal of nuptial vows!!!
Ash Wednesday in the Holy Land was indeed God’s plan of welfare for us. We cannot forget the “passion” we experienced as we went through the Way of the Cross that week, carrying wooden crosses, along the same path where our Lord was “wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities and upon Him was the punishment that made us whole, and by His bruises we are healed .and He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53: 5 & 7)”. Everyone unburdened their “crosses” during the tearful course via Dolorosa.
The Milk Grotto, the Holy Family Church (Old Cairo) and the Tomb of Mother Mary gave additional insights into Mariology.
St. Peter’s fish was a rare delicacy, while the cruises on the Sea of Galilee and the Nile added elements of adventure and fun to the trip. The Dead Sea brought many of our pilgrims to “life” as they floated aloft on the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world which is 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level !!! The Sound and Light Show at the Tower of David – Jerusalem Citadel, was digitally and technically enthralling. The cable-car trip to the Mount of Temptations helped us with an aerial view of the Holy Land. The trip to Alexandria was fulfilling with a visit to the Library of Alexandria – Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
The daily trips by AC Mercedes – Volvo coaches were fatigue-free and the hotels at all the places were five-star grade in service, food and comfort. The Guides and the Captains of the buses were very warm and friendly and totally dedicated to their profession, thanks to Jenson and his liaison network. Compliments and regards to them.
In short, it was an awesome and incredible experience of a Spiritual Banquet with a five-star buffet every day!
May our loving God, in His infinite mercy, strengthen Jenson, his wife Patricia, their kids and their team as they surrender their feeble hands into the able hands of the Almighty. Well done Jenson and may you continue your “service with a conscience” as a testimony to our Lord’s blessing. Now may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace! Halleluiah! PRAISE THE LORD!
Johnson & Reecy – Chennai
Wise men still seek HIM !