Day One: Pilgrimage to Holy Land

JERUSALEM—A group of young adults led by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano and a few diocesan ministry leaders braved yesterday’s cold weather and headed for Newark Airport and their journey to the Holy Land.

The diocesan delegation of 22 people began the day with Mass in the tiny chapel of the Catholic Center.

As part of their spiritual mission the group has also take the prayer intentions of many from the diocese as they visit and pray at Holy sites in Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Calvary.

The first stop after landing in Israel was for Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano at St. Stephen Priory, the site of the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr (died 36 AD).

In their week-long pilgrimage the group will be traveling to many sacred sites both in Israel and Palestine, under the guidance of the Dominican Fathers of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.

“We will walk in the footsteps of the Lord, study a number of Scripture passages associated with each site and offer everything we do each day in prayer,” said Bishop Caggiano.

The daily regimen of the pilgrims will see them attend Mass, offer the Liturgy of the Hours, share meals together and enter into theological reflection at the end of each day’s activities.

“My hope is that each pilgrim will grow in his or her love of the Lord Jesus and love for His Holy Word,” the bishop said.

The journey is being covered on social media and the Bishop Caggiano’s Facebook and Twitters pages by diocesan social media leader John Grosso who is documenting the pilgrimage.

“Please pray for us in the days ahead, that the Lord will grant an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us and all those who will teach and guide us. Also, please post whatever prayer intentions you may wish remembered during this pilgrimage and I will offer Mass each day for all the intentions that are submitted,” said the bishop.
The Young Adult Scripture Study Week program is being coordinated and sponsored by the diocesan Leadership Institute.

“It is designed for young adults in their 20s to fall in love with Scripture by immersing themselves in study of the Sacred Scriptures, pilgrimage to Sacred Biblical sites, and shared theological reflection with a small faith community,” said Patrick Donovan, Director of the Leadership Institute, who is also making the pilgrimage.