Shalom! Let me tell you there’s no better way to experience the Holy Land than during the weeks I have spent at the Saxum Visitor Center. I arrived at the start of Holy Week and was able to join the crowds on Palm Sunday and witness thousands of locals and pilgrims going down the Mount of Olives; and on Holy Thursday evening I participated in a candlelight procession to what used to be the house of Caiaphas; then on the Sunday of the Resurrection I attended the Holy Sepulcher for Mass at the same time the orthodox were celebrating. I rested on Monday (there are so many holidays here). On Tuesday I enjoyed talking to the pilgrims to find out where they were from and sharing experiences of the events of the previous week.
I not only was able to contribute by helping others staying at Saxum, but I was also able to connect with the pilgrims, make friends from all over the world, practice another language, develop my communication skills, and discover hidden talents.
Let’s not forget the joy of learning about this complex culture, and its language. Saturday is really a day of rest, everything is closed; no bus service; and Sunday is the day to venture into the old city, visit museums and taste some local food. Effectively having had both the experience of a pilgrim and of a local. I returned with heart and mind filled with memorable moments. I hope you will be the next to experience it, just do it. “Today, thanks!”
Todá, shukram, thanks!
By Enante Emilus