O Little Town of Bethlehem
From Groups 13 & 19, Catholic Education, Parramatta Diocese
Today got off to an early start at 8am with our first visit being to a Christian devotional mega store in Bethlehem. The shop contained a large variety of devotional items including hand-made olive wood nativity scenes, Mother of Pearl Crosses, Rosary Beads and any devotional item you can possibly imagine. The store was a great chance to stock up on gifts for loved ones and was an experience for all.
We then proceeded to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Our first stop was a very special one as we lined up to visit the cave of the Nativity which includes the actual birth place of Jesus Christ and the place where his cradle was layed. Upon entering the cave we each had the opportunity to touch the silver star that marks the birth spot of Jesus Christ. This was a truly amazing experience for everybody and provided much spiritual enrichment.
After visiting the Shrine of the Nativity we then proceeded into the Chapel of St Catherine of Sienna where a traditional Christmas Mass was celebrated by Bishop Anthony and co-celebrated by Fr John, Fr Warren and Fr Robert. The Mass included the singing of Christmas Carols.
We stopped for lunch before then visiting Shepherd's Field. In the Field were hundreds of caves from the time of Jesus. It is believed that one of these caves is the actual spot where the Angel appeared to the Shepherds. Shepherd's Field also included a beautiful Chapel with walls that portrayed the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Our final stop for the day was En Karem, the location of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and the birth place of John the Baptist. Our first point of call at this location after many flights of stairs was the Church of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Despite the long walk everyone was truly amazed when they entered the Church with its beautiful painted walls and wonderful symbolism.
After descending back down the many flights of stairs we proceeded to visit the Catholic Church of St John the Baptist. The Church with all its beauty also includes a crypt featuring the spot where John the Baptist was born.
Today has been another amazing day in the Holy Land and one that as a group has continued to build our faith and understanding of the Bible as we see it come alive in front of us.
Groups 13 & 19
Posted by blog-hlm at 1:17 AM