Today we remember all the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001. In the days that followed, we came together as a nation, finding connection and unity in our grieving, our sadness, our hope, and our strength. As a country, and as brothers and sisters all over the world, we continue to mourn seventeen (17) years later, we pray for peace.
Let us pray for:
All those who lost their lives that day are at home with Jesus.
All the families who lost loved ones find healing and take comfort knowing our Lord’s promise of eternal life and everlasting joy.
All the survivors and for all heroes who selflessly risked or gave their lives for us.
In remembrance, let us pray together for healing and peace;
“Father of all, God of all nations, we give you thanks for the mystery of infinite compassion and love expressed in the covenant of creation and renewed through the blood of the new and everlasting covenant shed by your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of all people.
With our brothers and sisters of other world faiths, we employ your mercy and pray for an end to violence.
May all people live together in peace and tranquility, recognizing your own divine image, giving you praise and glory here on earth and together forever in your kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”
On Sunday, February 22, 1931, through the mediation of St. Faustina, Christ passed on the message of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki in Poland. As the 20th Anniversary of her Feast Day approaches, we reflect on her incredible life and the miracle of Divine Mercy.
St. Faustina was born Helena Kowalska, to a poor but religious family in Poland in 1905. She joined the convent at the age of 20, taking the religious name, Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament. While assigned to a convent in Plock, Poland – St. Faustina developed and illness which required her to rest for several months at a nearby farm.
On the night of Sunday, February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to her wearing a white garment with colorful rays emanating from His heart. She details in her diary that Jesus told her that the first Sunday after Easter is to be celebrated as the Feast of Mercy, and that he wished His image as he appeared before her be venerated and displayed for all to see.
Though she could not paint, she promised to venerate this image. After a few years, with the help of Father Michał Sopoćko, she commissioned artist Eugene Kazimierowski to create the painting what has now become the famous image of Divine Mercy. It is accompanied by the phrase “Jezu ufam Tobie” or “Jesus, I trust in You.” The image has been replicated and distributed countless times, however, the original painting now resides at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Vilnius, Lithuania.
For years, St. Faustina conversed with Jesus and devoted her life to His mission of spreading Divine Mercy. Through her steady and impassioned work, the message of Divine Mercy did spread rather quickly through the distribution of brochures, books, and prayer cards. Divine Mercy became a source of inspiration and strength for the Polish people, as just before her death in 1938, St. Faustina predicted that a terrible war was approaching. By 1941, the image and message of Divine Mercy had reached many countries, even as far as the United States.
The main message of the Divine Mercy devotion is to ask for, and receive, the Mercy of God through consistent confession, to trust in Jesus’ Mercy, and to show mercy to others as God would.
In the 1950s, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII personally spread messages of, and approved the devotion to, the Divine Mercy. St. John Paul II was an ardent supporter of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy – and so he Beatified her in 1993, and Canonized her on April 30th, 2000. Surprisingly, he closed the Canonization by officially designating that Sunday after Easter as the “Feast of Divine Mercy”. Coincidently, St. John Paul II died in Saturday, April 2nd, 2005 – on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. He was later Beatified by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011, and Canonized on the Holy day in 2014 by Pope Francis.
Sister Gaudia Skass photographed on a 206 Tours Pilgrimage to Poland.
The legacy and strength of the message of Divine Mercy has not wavered, much in part due to the loyalty and perseverance of St. Faustina and those who honored her legacy. St. Faustina now lies at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, Poland. As her October 5thFeast Day approaches, we take this opportunity to reflect on her devotion and trust in the Mercy of Jesus. In April of 2020, many Catholics will make a Pilgrimage to Poland to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Divine Mercy Sundayand the Canonization of St. Faustina, to learn more about how you can join, visit http://www.206tours.com/divinemercy/
Many Pilgrimage visit important Shrines that house Sacred Catholic Relics. Understanding the way relics are classified in the Catholic Church is important to fully appreciate these amazing pieces of our shared history and why they are so strongly venerated.
A Relic, in religious terms, usually refers to the physical remains or personal effects of a Saint or Holy person that have been saved and preserved in an official reliquary, also known as a Shrine. The Catholic Church recognizes three classes of relics.
1. First-Class Relics
The most sacred class, a first-class relic refers to an item that is directly associated with the life of Jesus Christ. However, physical remains of a Saint’s body are also classified as first-class relics. In many cases, this type of first-class relic is entombed in an altar stone.
An example of a famous first-class relic can be found in Bethlehem in the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square. It is in the Grotto of the Nativity that you can see a relic of the original Manger at the place of Jesus’ birth – now marked by a star in the floor.
Another example of a first-class relic is the incorrupt body of St. John Vianney, the patron Saint of Parish Priests, who’s remains are entombed above the main altar in the Basilica in Ars-sur-Formans in France.
A second-class relic is typically a personal belonging of a Saint or Holy person. In many cases, this is a piece of clothing or an object used by the Saint. The Latin term, “Ex indumentis”, meaning “from the clothing”, is often used when referring to a second-class Holy relic.
A famous example of a second-class relic is the chain that attached the Apostle Paul to the Roman solider while imprisoned in Rome, which is housed in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
An object that has been touched to a first-class relic is classified as a third-class relic. Many Catholics will bring a Crucifix or Rosary to a shrine and touch it to the venerated relic, thereby making it a third-class relic. However, unlike first and second-class relics, third class relics will not be formally recognized with official documentation.
Traveler’s Tip: Third-Class Relics Make Great Gifts!
When traveling in the Holy Land, you can visit all of the sites, and in the order of the Gospel. You will have the opportunity to enter the Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, touch the Rock of Agony in the Church of All Nations, touch the star in the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity .. and many more. Bring extra Rosaries with you – and have them in hand when you touch each spot. This way, you can gift friends and family members with Third Class Relics when you return home!
Father SeánConnolly pictured above at the Knock Shrine while on a Pilgrimage with 206 Tours.
For the past several years, Father SeánConnolly has been a Spiritual Director on a number of 206 Tours Pilgrimages, guiding pilgrims to experience their faith in new ways in Catholic sites like the Holy Land, Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, Mexico, and Ireland.
Fr. Connolly is the currently the Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady Parish in Tuckahoe, New York. He recently authored an essay which was just featured on Catholic World Report’s, “The Dispatch”, about the 1879 apparitions in Knock, Ireland.
As the World Meeting of Families begins this week in Ireland, we’re excited to share his inspiring message and insights with you below.
The Unspoken Message of Heaven at Knock
Published August 21, 2018 originally featured on Catholic World Report “The Dispatch”, seen here.
Written by Father Seán Connolly
139 year ago this very day, an unspoken message from heaven came to our world at the rural wayside village of Knock, Ireland. The little hamlet was a forgotten corner of the earth in 1879. It consisted of a dozen houses or so, along with the little parish church, the rectory, a school-house, a post office and a few small shops. The village and the social condition of its people at the time, was in many respects like that of the little village of Nazareth in the days of our Lord Jesus. It was poor, peaceful and unknown. Both were under the oppression of a foreign occupier—for Nazareth two thousand years ago it was the Romans, and for Knock a century and a half ago it was the English. The Penal Laws were imposed upon the Irish in attempt to stamp out their Catholic faith; those laws were as degrading as they were oppressive.
Painting at the Knock Shrine captured by Fr. Connolly
Just as they began to be relaxed though not repealed, more misery struck the people of western Ireland. The Great Famine which was proximately caused by potato blight but worsened on account of the repression imposed by the occupying government, resulted in the deaths of one million while another million were to emigrate, reducing the island’s population dramatically. The Great Famine took place between 1845 and 1849, but its last waves continued up until the time of the astonishing event that took place in Knock. Further potato blight was always the great fear. And in that year of 1879, that fear was realized when the crop was found to be a complete failure. The only prospect in the time ahead was further hunger and misery. It was in the midst of this struggle and sorrow that the miraculous message appeared before the villagers of Knock in front of the gable wall of their parish church.
The whole day of August 21, 1879 was marked by a dismal downpour of rain from dawn until dusk. The dreariness was an apt metaphor for a nation plagued by poverty, hunger and oppression. At about 7:30 in the evening, a young woman of the village named Mary Byrne was accompanying Mary McLoughlin, the priest’s housekeeper, to her home. As they came in sight of the gable wall of the little parish church, Mary Byrne remarked to the priest’s housekeeper, “O, look at the statues. Why didn’t you tell me the priest had got new statues for the chapel?” But Mary McLoughlin said she’d heard nothing about them. On coming nearer, however, Mary Byrne said: “But they’re not statues, they’re moving. It’s the Blessed Virgin!” She ran home to tell her widowed mother as well as her brothers and sister and soon others had gathered.
There were fifteen primary witnesses who gave documented testimony of what they saw, but as many as 25 to 30 were reported to have seen the vision. They ranged in age from five to 74. Together in the pouring rain they beheld the beautiful spectacle. The Blessed Virgin Mary was in the center of the apparition. She was wearing a large brilliant gold crown and was clothed in white garments. Her hands were raised in prayer and her eyes gazed toward heaven. To her right was her spouse, St. Joseph, whose head was inclined toward her. To her left was St. John the Evangelist, who was attired as a bishop wearing a miter and was holding a book, perhaps the Gospel he wrote, in his left hand. His right hand was raised as if he was preaching. To the left of St. John was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb surrounded by angels.
The eldest of the visionaries, the 74-year-old Bridget Trench, in an act of natural and humble piety, approached the vision to kiss the Virgin’s feet. She was, however, unable to do so. She could not touch what she saw with her eyes and only passed through the image to feel the gable wall of the church in her attempt. The vision lasted for a full two hours. Though it was raining, the ground beneath the vision was dry. A light emanating from the heavenly figures was witnessed by a farmer about half a mile away from the scene.
The enigma of the apparition at Knock was its silence. We can only speculate as to why this is. Surely the reason goes deeper than the fact that at least two of the visionaries did not speak the same language. The oldest among them, Bridget Trench, knew only Irish while the youngest, John Curry, knew only English. No message was imparted to the visionaries as there was by our Lady at Lourdes or Fatima. In those two famous apparitions the Mother of God requested more acts of penance, but such was not the case at Knock. The Irish people had suffered and done penance enough; no suffering or pain should ever be wasted. Those devout Catholic souls knew well that they must in prayer and place themselves in union with Christ’s own suffering. And this offering was answered by the celestial vision at Knock, whose unspoken message was one of love and solidarity with the perseveringly faithful Irish in their time of suffering and sorrow.
Picture of the Altar at the Knock Shrine taken by Father Connolly
Reports of “strange occurrences in a small Irish village” were featured almost immediately in the press, notably by The Times of London. Many miracles were reported, which were methodically recorded in the diary of the parish priest. For example, ten days after the apparition a mother brought her little girl to the gable wall of the church. The young Delia Gordon, had always been deaf in her left ear; her mother placed a small amount of cement or grout from the gable wall into her ear and said a prayer for healing. A little later during Mass, Delia felt an excruciating pain in her ear follow by immediate relief. Her ear had been healed and hearing restored. The apparition wall soon being torn apart by pilgrims chipping out the cement, mortar, and stones to have as relics and to use for prayer.
Two inquiries were held to study the reported apparition and to determine its authenticity. Unlike at Lourdes, no medical commission was ever established at Knock to verify whether claimed cures are unexplainable according to the medical sciences. The first commission of inquiry was established by the Archbishop of Tuam in October of 1879. Fifteen of the witnesses were formerly deposed and the commission’s members deemed their accounts to be trustworthy. In 1936, a second commission of inquiry was established to study the matter further, which relied upon interviews with the last of the surviving witnesses who all confirmed their prior testimony. Even John Curry, who was only four when he saw the vision and had since emigrated to America, was called (under threat of ecclesiastical penalty if he failed to show) to the chancery of the Archdiocese of New York to testify.
In this same commission, the aged Mary Byrne poignantly stated: “I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God.” She died only six weeks later. This second commission, like the first, deemed the testimonies given to be trustworthy.
It is now a commonly accepted pious belief that heaven favored the parish of Knock in particular because of the holiness of its parish priest Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh. He was known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, his penances (he wore a hair shirt), and for living very simply. He was told about the vision before the gable wall of his church but chose not to join his parishioners outside. This has been attributed either to a miscommunication or his disbelief. He later said that not witnessing the apparition “has been to me a cause of the deepest mortification. But I console myself with the reflection that it was the will of God that the Apparition should be shown to the people, not the priest.” Yet it is believed in Knock today that the Archdeacon was frequently favored with visits of our Lady in his own little cottage, and so knew well what was occurring but chose to leave the heavenly vision to be for the sole benefit of his flock. Indeed, many other miraculous manifestations surrounding him were reported but he always requested those who observed them to speak of them to no one.
Statues outside the Knock Shrine, photo credit Father Connolly.
Today there is a large shrine built in honor of the apparition at Knock in County Mayo, Ireland. Over one and a half million people make a pilgrimage there each year. I was fortunate to be one of them this past month, a visit which inspired me to write this essay so more may come to know the unspoken message of heaven given at this holy place.
In just a few days, the Pope himself will go to Knock as a pilgrim while on his apostolic visit to Ireland. It will be a daunting trip. The Church in Ireland is devastated. Christopher Altieri described the current situation well in a recent essayfor The Catholic Herald:
“The once proudly, fiercely Catholic people of Ireland are reeling and bitterly angry over the years of systematic abuse committed by priests and religious, and the coverup of that abuse by Church leaders. They’ve stopped going to Mass. They voted to amend their constitution to allow same-sex marriage in 2015 – even while marriage itself declines… Just this year, the Irish people voted to remove a constitutional protection on children in the womb. It would be hard – but fair – to say that the Irish people are in rebellion against the Faith – though it is not hard to understand the roots of that rebellion.”
There are no words the Holy Father can utter to make up for the failures of the Church or to quickly reverse the tide of secularization. But like the heavenly vision given in Knock, his presence among the hurting Irish Church can be one of union and solidarity in a time of trial. This unspoken message will, I think, be the most important one. And through the intercession of Our Lady of Knock the Queen of Ireland, may it at least begin the process of healing and the Irish people’s return to their greatest legacy—the Catholic faith.
Many people may not fully understand the deeply personal and religious nature that is the act of pilgrimage. Taking a trip to Rome, Lourdes, or Medjugorje with your spouse, spiritual director, or parish may sound to some like an excuse to take a few days off from work to experience a new culture and try new foods. However, a pilgrimage is not a vacation.
Vacation is defined as, “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity; usually used for rest, recreation or travel”.On vacations, we relax, detach from our daily stressors, and treat ourselves to great foods, luxury, and fun activities.
Pilgrimage on the other hand has a much different meaning. A Pilgrimage is defined as, “a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion; as to pay homage.” A Pilgrimage is not a time for detachment, rest, or pampering, but rather a time of deep reflection, modesty, and prayer.
In 2016, during the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis delivered a speech containing his thoughts on the act of Pilgrimage to a sea of thousands of pilgrims making their own pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Square. He said:
“A Pilgrimage is not the same as a Vacation… Making a Pilgrimage to shrines is one of the most eloquent expressions of the faith of God’s people… It would be a mistake to think that those who go on a pilgrimage live a spirituality that is not personal but rather of the masses. The reality is that the pilgrim carries within him his own history and faith and the lights and shadows of his own life. Each person carries within his or her heart a special wish and a particular prayer. Those who enter the shrine immediately feel they are at home, welcomed, understood, and supported.”
Clearly a Pilgrimage is not a “break” from responsibilities like a vacation is – rather it is a calling. It reminds us of our responsibility to our faith as disciples of Jesus. On a Pilgrimage, we encounter God in the very places where He has revealed himself. It can be a challenge – it can take us out of our comfort zone and incorporate tedious travel or navigating difficult terrain. It is a transformational experience that changes lives, and brings us closer to our faith in ways we could never imagine through sincere and concentrated prayer.
To share your own experience of how Pilgrimage has changed your life, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people look forward to travel for months, but dread the airport experience of long lines, confusing information, and large airports that may be hard to navigate. Here are five (5) Apps that are FREE, available in the App Store on your Phone, and can help make your airport experience as quick and seamless as possible.
1. MyTSA App
The MyTSA App was developed by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). This App provides you with the most up to date travel guidelines to ensure your security experience at the airport goes as smoothly as possible. You can access the App’s searchable database to clarify what items you can or cannot pack into checked or carry-on bags, as well as use the chat feature for immediate assistance. It will also save you time by informing you of how busy the airport is estimated to be on a specific time and date – based on historical data. Not to mention, it will also update you on any delay information due to weather or unforeseen circumstances, which can help to determine how early you should arrive at the airport prior to a scheduled flight.
The Mobile Passport App is available for use at 25 US Airports so far (a full list can be found here on link below). This App has been endorsed by the Department of Transportation, and can help to prevent long wait times that can accompany the customs line upon return as it allows you to fill out the custom form online – rather than on the traditional paper form. Simply download the app, set up your profile using the information listed on your passport, and use the app each time you are at your port of entry and receive your receipt.
This App will give you real time updates on your departure time, Terminal, and Gate – as well as any changes to your itinerary like Security wait times, Delays, Gate changes, or Layover time adjustments. It will also show you all the amenities, restaurants, and shops in the area so that you don’t have to waste time walking out of your way to find a restaurant, cup of coffee, or neck pillow.
Google Translate is always a good idea to have downloaded when traveling to foreign countries. In many international airports you will find English directions and signs easily, however if you do find yourself in a jam, simply type a bit of foreign text into the app or even take a picture of a sign and the app will provide you with a translation.
Sunday July 22, 2018 was a historic day in Medjugorje, as they finally welcomed Archbishop Henryk Hoser to St. James Church. Thousands of locals and Catholic Pilgrims came to witness the celebration of Mass led by His Excellency, who was appointed the “Apostolic Visitor” to Medjugorje by Pope Francis on May 31, 2018.
Here is an excerpt from Archbishop Hoser’s homily:
“Let us now ask the fundamental question: Why do so many people come to Medjugorje every year? The clear answer is this: they come to meet someone, to meet God, to meet Christ, to meet His Mother. And then to discover the path that leads to the joy of living in the house of the Father and of the Mother; and ultimately to discover the Marian way as the more certain and sure one. This is the path of the Marian devotion that has been taking place here for.”
-Archbishop Henryk Hoser | St. James Church in Medjugorje July 22, 2018
His Excellency was born in 1942 in Poland and was elevated to Archbishop as personam in 2005 by Saint John Paul II – before being appointed to lead the Roman Catholic Diocese of Warszawa-Praga by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2008. On February 11, 2017 – Pope Francis assigned him to be the special envoy to Medjugorje, with the mission to determine the pastoral needs of the Parish seeing its popularity as a place for prayer and pilgrimage.
After reporting his findings, Archbishop Hoser resigned as the Archbishop of the Diocese of Warzawa-Prage on December 7, 2017. Later, Pope Francis’ went on to appoint him as the Archbishop to his post in Medjugorje for an indefinite period of time.
Medjugorje has a particularly special role in 206 Tours as it was the inspiration for the company’s founding and mission to help Catholics connect with their faith through Pilgrimage. Join us in prayer for Medjugorje, for Archbishop Hoser, and for world peace!
Rapid travel through multiple time zones can take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet Lag” is the phrase used to describe the condition when your body’s internal clock is out of sync with the actual time in the region to which you have traveled. It is important to try to adjust your internal body clock to get the most out of your tour. Here are some tips on how to prevent jet lag:
1. Rise and Shine
On the day of the flight, consider getting out of bed earlier than usual. Waking up earlier, followed by a busy day spent in the airport, will surely help to tire you out so that you can easily fall to sleep on your overnight flight.
It is common to become dehydrated on long flights. Make sure to drink lots of water, before you travel, to compensate for the possibility of dehydration. Keep drinking water during the flight, and after you arrive. Staying hydrated will help you to stay feeling well – dehydration can take a huge toll on the body and make us feel fatigued, dizzy and confused. This can even lead to muscle soreness and headaches.
3. Eat Well
All of our Pilgrimages (except Mexico) require an overnight flight. In this case, you will likely be served an evening meal during your flight. Try to avoid foods that are very fatty or high in sugar or carbohydrates – these foods can keep you awake or impact the quality of your sleep.
4. Change your Clocks
After you eat, set your watch ahead to the actual time of your final destination. This way, you are prepared and in sync when you land which will help to combat any grogginess or confusion you may experience.
5. Catch Some Zzz’s
On your overnight flight, try to get to sleep as soon as you possibly can.
Stick to Your Nighttime Routine
Try to follow some resemblance of your nightly routine – if you watch a TV Show, read a book, take melatonin, or have a cup of tea before bed at home, do that on the plane as well.
We all know that airplane seats are not the most comfortable of spaces to sleep, so try to prepare ahead of time by making sure you have everything you need to get as comfortable as you can on your flight so that you can get to sleep quickly. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a travel blanket, neck pillow, eye mask and earplugs or noise cancelling headphones.
This is the most important step! Take advantage of this time to get as much rest as possible so that you can start you trip refreshed and ready!
If sleep is evading you, try to stretch as much as you can. Get out of your seat and move about the cabin a bit. Stretching will keep your muscles from cramping or becoming stiff and will increase your circulation and oxygen flow.
7. Get Moving
When you get to your final destination, do not check in to your hotel for a nap! Get active right away and try to stay awake until 10:00 PM local time so that you adjust to the local time.
Touring often begins on the day that you arrive, so don’t miss some of the experience by sleeping or suffering through exhaustion. Proper preparation, and following these steps, will help you to take advantage of your travel time for rest so that you can make the most of your trip!
For more helpful travel information like this, check out our Final Instruction Booklets (included with your Travel Documents) or the specific Web Link’s to different countries entitled, “Know Before You Go” http://www.206tours.com/info/
In the Spring of 2019, 206 Tours will be joined by a very special guest – Actor and famous Catholic, Jim Caviezel, in the Holy Land.
His resume consists of such box office hits as Pay It Forward (2000) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) – but Jim Caviezel’s most famous role came in the form of Jesus Christ in the 2004 major motion picture, The Passion of the Christ. The film, directed by Mel Gibson, attracted three (3) Academy Award nominations, along with a huge public response and international awards and nominations. The film details the final days of Jesus Christ’s life, and is still the highest grossing R-rated film of all time – in North America.
Since staring in The Passion Of the Christ, you may have seen Jim in CBS’s widely-acclaimed prime-time drama, Person of Interest (2011 – 2016), or in the film When the Game Stands Tall (2014) and Paul, the Apostle of Christ (2018).
It was announced earlier this year that Jim will reprise his role as Jesus Christ in a new project with Mel Gibson, a sequel to The Passion of the Christ, rumored to be titled, The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection. Jim describes playing the role of Jesus Christ to be a once in a lifetime experience and is excited to reprise the role. Though much of the plot is still under wraps, in recent interviews Mel Gibson has confirmed that the sequel will pick up right where the first film left off and will be based around the days following the Passion, the Resurrection, and the lives of those close to Jesus.
In a 2016 appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, when asked how this depiction of the Resurrection will be different than what we have come to worship every Good Friday, Gibson revealed, “it’s an amazing event, and to underpin that with the things around it is really the story to sort of enlighten what that means.” More than 14 years after the first film, Jim, now 49, is just as enthusiastic for the sequel. Earlier this year he made headlines when he said, “the film he’s (Gibson’s) going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”
In preparation for the project, Jim has decided to make apilgrimage to the Holy Land to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, visiting many Holy Sites. Many of the sites will align with the narrative of the film, including the true Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross), Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration, as well as the site of His Crucifixion and His tomb.
Raised in a deeply Catholic family in Washington, Jim has been married for over 20 years, and has three adopted Chinese children, all of whom have suffered serious illness. Jim’s wife will be joining him on the pilgrimage. In a speech Caviezel delivered to thousands of college students at the SEEK Conference in 2018, he describes receiving a phone call from Mel Gibson about the role out of the blue. Speaking of finding your purpose or calling, he says that Gibson hand selected him, detailing;
“I didn’t know Mel Gibson, I wasn’t politicking for the rule because I didn’t know it was happening. Mel Gibson wants me to play Jesus Christ. He wants the guy with the initials of ‘JC’ who just happens to be 33 years of age, to play Jesus Christ. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.”
Jim’s experience filming The Passion Of the Christ was quite extraordinary – he suffered accidental whipping, was struck by lightning, dislocated his shoulder, and suffered hypothermia which led to open heart surgery. Of the physical pain he experienced, he says, “When I was up there on the cross I learned that in His suffering was our redemption.” He also said, “(filming) was like a penance…the suffering made my performance, just as it makes our lives… so embrace your cross and race toward your goal.”
We are honored to be a part of Jim’s journey, and his pilgrimage to the Holy Land to gain a deeper connection to Jesus ahead of this exciting new film. For more information on joining Jim in the Holy Land, visit: http://www.206tours.com/jimcaviezel.
For most Catholics, a Pilgrimage to The Holy Land is a Bucket-List trip, and life goal. A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to Holy and Sacred places in our world – God calls on us to take pilgrimages to walk towards Him, deepen our faith, and to know Him more fully. A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land has so much to offer, as you can visit the sites where your favorite Bible verses took place, and literally walk where Jesus walked and feel profoundly connected to Him.
The Holy Land Checklist
Here is a checklist of Catholic sites where you can find Jesus in The Holy Land
1. Cana – [John 2:1-11]
This town is the site where Jesus performed His first public miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding, at the request of The Blessed Mother Mary.
Many married couples travel in pilgrimage to Cana and renew their vows at the Franciscan Church.
2. Nazareth – [Matthew 13:54-58]
In Nazareth, you can visit the site of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s home, and tour the town where Jesus lived as a child. Here, you can see the Church of the Annunciation, the Byzantine Church of St. Joseph, and Mary’s Well. Though Jesus lived much of his life in Nazareth, he was famously rejected here by the community upon returning to his home town.
3. The Sea of Galilee – [Luke 5:1]
This astonishing natural beauty is the site where Jesus spoke the word of God to many listeners and encouraged Peter and several fishermen to cast their nets once more after a night of unproductive fishing, to reveal a miraculously fruitful bounty.
4. Tabgha – [Luke 9:10-17]
Tabgha is the town where Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 people from just five loaves of bread, and two fish. Here you can also visit “Peter’s Primacy”, the Church that commemorates Jesus’ reinstating of Peter as an Apostle.
5. Capernaum – [Matthew 4]
Here you can see the Synagogue where Jesus taught and launched His Ministry as well as the Church that was built over the original site of Peter’s home.
6. Mount of Beatitudes – [Luke 6:20-49]
Visit the site where Jesus delivered his powerful Sermon on the Mount.
7. Mount Tabor – [Matthew 17:1-50]
Mount Tabor is where the miracle of Jesus’ Transfiguration took place. You can celebrate Mass at the Franciscan Church of the Transfiguration that sits atop the Mount.
8. Bethlehem – [Matthew 2:1-18]
Bethlehem is home to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square. It is in the Grotto of the Nativity that you can see the place of Jesus’ birth – marked by a star in the floor. There is also a relic of the original manger there. As “Votive” Masses are said in the Holy Land, St. Catherine’s is where you celebrate Christmas Mass – today and every day!
9. The River Jordan – [Matthew 3:13-17]
At the River Jordan you can experience the place where Jesus was Baptized by John.
10. Gethsemane- [Luke 22:29-53]
Gethsemane sits at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It was in this garden that Jesus spent his final night. Pilgrims come to this beautiful garden, which houses trees with roots that go back to the time of Jesus, to reflect and mourn. Nearby is the Church of All Nations, which houses the Rock of Agony – the very rock which Jesus wept over Jerusalem and prayed alone on the night of his arrest.
11. Mount Zion [Luke 22:33-34] & [Matthew 26:17-30]
At the Church of Peter in Gallicantu, on Mount Zion, Peter denied Christ three times. It was also here that you will find the Upper Room, where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the famous Last Supper.
12. Via Dolorosa & the Church of the Holy Sepulcher [Luke 23: 26-33]
Walk the Via Dolorosa, or The Way of the Cross, in the city where Jesus was condemned to death and crucified. The Stations of the Cross goes through the markets in the Old City and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where the site of Cavalry and the Tomb of Christ is located.
Traveling through these sites, reflecting in prayer and spirituality, will no doubt strengthen your relationships with Christ. Your footsteps will become His as you celebrate Votive Masses in the very places where these miraculous gifts became pages in the Gospel. See where He was back then and feel how He is still there today!
Join 206 Toursand make your Pilgrimage to the Holy Land to experience Him, follow in His footsteps, and see Him in the works He performed.