Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our final day—So much yet to do!

Thursday found us jorneying to Bethany, the home of Mary & Martha whose brother was Lazarus. The Church there was beautiful and the accoustics were super for singing! In the picture below Fr. Oscar, from Holy Trinity Church in Paradise Hills, CA (San Diego) leads us in the Prayers of the Faithful.

 As at each mass with our group here in the Holy Land, your prayers requests are remembered and they always sit at the foot of the altar with the collection basket.

After Bethany we made our way toward the Dead Sea and visited the site where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The site has extensive ruins which captured the attention of us all.

This is the cave where it all started in 1947.

After Qumran we journeyed on to the site of our day swim in the Dead Sea itself. The water contains more than 22 minerals and is thus so "heavy" that you don't swim--you float! We promised to not post any picutres of the group in their bathing suits! But this a view of the beach at the Dead Sea.

We continued down to the road to the oldest continuously inhabitated city in the world-Jericho. This is Elisha spring in the center of the square.

Also at Jericho is the mount of Christ's Temptation in the Wilderness. It is toped by a Monastery from the crusader era.

The ruins of the old city are impressive and new discoveries are made every year. Here the group is on a walking tour of some of the extensive excavations.

Jericho also offered an opportunity for some fun. Rosita Basett celebrated her 81st Birthday at the mass in Bethany earlier this day--in the picture below our birthday girl has found a new friend: "Sammy" the Camel.

Happy Birthday, Rosita! Space here doesn't really permit, but we had time for some to take a camel ride and got some great pictures!

After Jericho we headed back to Bethlehem for our farewell dinner at the Tent Restaurant.

Everyone had a good time but we were a little rushed. We had to say goodbye to eight members of our group who were headed back to states at midnight. The rest of us rushed home to pack our bags for Egypt!

Internet access has been excellent here in Bethlehem. Tomorrow is a day of travel and we journey to Sinaie and St. Catherine's Monastery, then on to the Intercontinental Hotel in Cairo. We will continue our story, as time as Internet access permits. Museums, the Pyramids and Holy Family Church in Egypt await us. We head back to the states next Tuesday.

Please keep us in your prayers, as you will be in ours!

-posted by Greg Smithhisler, IHM Liturgist

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