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From books to reality. Pilgrimage beyond imagination

"I have never felt so close to the Almighty." 35 American pilgrims visited the Holy Land, to the discovery of the holy places and the living stones.

 

CHORBISHOP JOHN DENVER FARIS
Chorbishop of the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch
"When a pilgrim comes to Jerusalem, he will be astonished, faced with what he has always read and heard about the holy places, about the tomb of the Holy Sepulcher, about the nativity and even about the desert. But he will also be transformed, because no Christian who comes to Jerusalem, can go back home being the same.”

Someone calls it change, someone calls it growth, someone else (calls it) conversion.
The fact remains that, for none of the 35 Americans, mostly from New York, but also from the Bahamas and other regions, who came to the Holy Land from November 7 to November 17, the pilgrimage was just a simple trip.

JOSEPH MATTONE, KGCHS
Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulcher - New York
"It was too good an opportunity to miss. I am 86, I do not know how long I will be around. So, I checked with my boss (my wife), and arranged for us to come. I am truly happy to have done it because I have never felt so close to the Almighty.”

CHRISTOPHER SIMONETTI, KHS
Knight of the Holy Sepulcher - New Jersey
"This is a great opportunity, if you are aware of what is here, from a historical, a biblical and an archaeological perspective. Everything here is educational and I believe it is crucial for young people to have the chance to put their faith in practice, not just on books, but by realizing that these places are real.”

The trip, organized by Agency 206, was planned to take pace from November 7 to November 17; it has allowed pilgrims to have a first-hand experience at the several holy places and to retrace the steps of Jesus, of His daily life, His passion, His prayer.

JOSEPH MATTONE, KGCHS
Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulcher - New York
"We always use our imagination and our books for the places and the geography of these stories. However, being in the actual places of Jesus is really a moving experience and a real feeling that a book can never give you.”

The first six months of 2017 witnessed a historic record for the Holy Land. According to the data released by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, there are 1 million and 74 thousand registered visitors, 26% more than last year, 24% more than 2015. American tourism has risen by 20%. Among those in the group of the Agency 206, many belong to the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. For them, therefore, the trip to the Holy Land was a special mission.

ELMA GARRAWAY, LHS
Lady of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher - Bahamas
"This journey reaffirms the faith in which we were baptized. We just saw the places where Jesus walked and we just recognized the context in which Christianity has developed, with the suffering, the love and all the challenges that are part of it.”

HER EXCELLENCY VICKI DOWNEY, LGCHS
Lieutenant of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre - Eastern Lieutenancy
"This is the place where Jesus came, the home of Christianity. We cannot have a 'world' without Christians in the Holy Land. Now it is more important than ever to give them support around the world. The Order of Knights is spread everywhere, we have 65 worldwide Lieutenancies and our mission is to try to help these people in every possible way.”

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