The above image was taken twelve months ago, early one morning, from a hotel room overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The Our Lady of Victories 2010 pilgrimage had not gone as we planned. Thirty pilgrims met with the effects of the Icelandic Volcano in Singapore and, after three days at the airport gate, were forced to return to Christchurch. Four others having arrived in Tel Aviv were forced by their insurance companies to continue with the pilgrimage. These two Holy Land weeks became a full dress-rehearsal for the 2012 Our Lady of Victories Holy Land Pilgrimage.
You are still able to ‘journey with the four 2010 pilgrims’ on the Pilgrimage Blog.
Planning for the 2012 pilgrimage is now underway. You can find more details and contact information at the parish website www.olv.co.nz
You might wonder what a pilgrimage is? Why do we not simply call our travel a tourist trip or an overseas holiday?
Pilgrimages have an ancient tradition. Pilgrims are people who seek to journey with God. While pilgrims do see and do much of what occupies tourists on their travels, we make a point of journeying together with God at a deeper level. Our main goal is not to go places and to see sights, but to grow in relationship with God. We do this by journeying the roads that our ancestors in faith travelled. We pray in the places that were significant for them. We celebrate the Mass every day as the heart of our encounters with God.
The greatest of all Christian pilgrimages is to the Holy Land. This land, and especially the ancient city of Jerusalem is also the great pilgrimage destination for the Jewish people and the Islam faith.
On our 2012 pilgrimage to the Holy Land we will spend time living in Jerusalem and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. From these two bases the entire country is easily accessible. (The Holy Land is only the size of Canterbury). Each day we will visit sacred places; the places where Jesus was born and died, the town where he was raised, the site of many of his miracles and preaching. We will walk the Way of the Cross, and pray at the place of the crucifixion and the tomb of the resurrection. Our journey will also include some other (secular) places of particular historical significance. You may have heard the story or seen the film Masada. We will visit this remarkable place. Many people who have never left NZ before, will find the pilgrimage an easy way to travel. We will all leave Christchurch together, travelling directly to Tel Aviv. Once you leave Christchurch airport, every detail of the travel is provided for. Busses and tour-guides will meet us and lead us. Our own tour organiser and guide from a local pilgrimage company will travel with us every step of the way. Mike and Suzanne Doolan (the parish pilgrimage organisers) have researched every detail of the pilgrimage and are already liaising with the professional tour guide who will accompany us every step of our journey. If you are interested in receiving further information please register your interest and request information from Mike and Suzanne Doolan. You may know of someone else who might be interested in making this journey with us. Please pass on this information to them. As members of a family you might know a parent or grandparent who would appreciate this pilgrimage as a gift. It may be in your power to arrange this for them?
Our Lady of Victories Parish has now organised four pilgrimages to Italy, France, Ireland, England, Spain and the Holy Land.
We welcome anyone who wishes to travel with us to the Holy Land in April 2012.