AN ILLUSTRATED PILGRIM’S NOTE

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October 16, 2013 (Wednesday): JERUSALEM – BETHLEHEM – JERUSALEM

Our early breakfast was at 6:15AM. We left the Commodore Hotel at 7:29AM and drove to Bethlehem for our 10AM Mass at St. Catherine Church near the Church of the Nativity. Morning Prayer was said and Bible passages were distributed. I got this one: “You are mine. Before I formed you, I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you,” (Jer. 1:5).

Table Mat at Cpmmodore Hotel - Jerusalem
Table Mat at Cpmmodore Hotel – Jerusalem

My Breakfast at Commodore before going to Bethlehem
My Breakfast at Commodore before going to Bethlehem

Under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, visiting the Bethlehem may require special arrangements, including coordination for transportation and guides because the site is in the West Bank and West Bank is under the control of Palestine. Bethlehem, literally mean “House of Meat,” or the Hebrew Beit Lehem means, “House of Bread,” located in the central West Bank in Palestine, approximately 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem. The Old Testament identifies Bethlehem as the City of David because he was crowned here as the king of Israel. The New Testament Gospels identified Bethlehem as the Birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth and has been a prime destination for Christian pilgrims for centuries: “And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn,” (Lk. 2:4-7).

Bethlehem - going to the Church of the Nativity
Bethlehem – going to the Church of the Nativity

The Basilica of the Nativity is maintained  by the Greek Orthodox Church and one of the earliest and most important of all Christian ecclesiastical buildings, enshrines a grotto believed to be the place where Jesus was born (Luke 2:7). The Church of Saint Catherine, a Roman Catholic Church, is connected to the Church of Nativity at its northern end. Steps leading down from the main hall of the Church of Saint Catherine arrive at a series of caves, one of which is the Chapel of Saint Jerome.

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, West Bank
Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, West Bank

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, West Bank
Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, West Bank

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, West Bank
Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, West Bank

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, West Bank
Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, West Bank

Church of the Nativity - Bethlehem, West Bank
Church of the Nativity – Bethlehem, West Bank

The Milk Grotto located in the crypt of a small Franciscan chapel, celebrates the tradition that the cave was used as a place of refuge by the Holy Family before their flight into Egypt.

We arrived in Bethlehem at 8AM and entered the Three Arches Co. Ltd., a souvenir shop located in 388 Manger Street, Bethlehem, Palestine. We bought some souvenirs to be our ‘pasalubong‘ to friends back home and to help Christians who are living in Israel according to Joseph, our tour guide. Christians in Israel count only up to 135,000 as of 2013 census.

At around 9:15AM we went to St. Catherine Church for the Mass at 10AM. Fr. Roming Subaldo presided at Mass. His homily focused on Nativity. According to him that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (or House of Bread). Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is not after popularity but of saving people. Jesus loves all.

418 st. catherine church beside nativity church
Entrance to Saint Catherine Church beside the Nativity Church

Me at inside the St. Catherine Church
Me at inside the St. Catherine Church

Bishop inside the St. Catherine Church
Bishop inside the St. Catherine Church

Me and Marigem inside the Saint Catherine Church - Bethlehem
Me and Marigem inside the Saint Catherine Church – Bethlehem

Inside the St. Catherine Church in Bethlehem beside the Nativity Church
Inside the St. Catherine Church in Bethlehem beside the Nativity Church

st catherine church sacristy
st catherine church sacristy

Inside the Saint Catherine Church before the Mass
Inside the Saint Catherine Church before the Mass

St Catherine church altar
St Catherine church altar

ross inside st catherine church
ross inside st catherine church

Fr. Roming Subaldo presiding the Mass
Fr. Roming Subaldo presiding the Mass

Fr. Roming S. during Holy Communion distribution at st. catherine church
Fr. Roming S. during Holy Communion distribution at st. catherine church

Kissing of the Baby Jesus and Picture taking took place after the Mass. We went into the Chapel of St. Jerome which, according to Christian tradition, is the site where St. Jerome translated the Greek Holy Bible into the Latin Vulgate.

kissing-baby-jesus-atnst-catherine-church
kissing-baby-jesus-atnst-catherine-church

kissing baby jesus at st catherine church - Bethlehem
kissing baby jesus at st catherine church – Bethlehem

Taking pictures after the Mass at St. Catherine Church-Nativity bethlehem
Taking pictures after the Mass at St. Catherine Church-Nativity bethlehem

Taking pictures after the Mass at St. Catherine Church-Nativity bethlehem
Taking pictures after the Mass at St. Catherine Church-Nativity bethlehem

baby jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem
baby jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem

Me and Baby Jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem
Me and Baby Jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem
 436 Me and baby jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem  437 Me and baby jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem
 438 Me and baby jesus-St. catherine Church, Nativity in Bethlehem

Besides the Chapel of St. Jerome, there are other chapels in the Church of Nativity which include the Chapel of Saint Joseph, commemorating the angel’s apparition to Joseph, commanding him to flee to Egypt: “When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him,’” (Mt 2:13); the Chapel of Innocents, commemorating the children killed by Herod (Mt 2:16-18).

a-tomb
a-tomb

cave innocent infant st catherine
cave innocent infant st catherine

a tomb - at the bottom of the St. Catherine Church - Bethlehem
a tomb – at the bottom of the St. Catherine Church – Bethlehem

st jerome empty tomb at the bottom of St. Catherine Church
st jerome empty tomb at the bottom of St. Catherine Church

Me at an altar where St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin
Me at an altar where St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin

Tomb of St. Joseph
Tomb of St. Joseph

We entered the Church of the Nativity and fell in line Church and down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar, there is a silver star with the Latin inscription: “HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). We ended at around 12:15PM.

Nativity Church - Bethlehem
Nativity Church – Bethlehem
 446 nativity church
 447 nativity church02 mosaic

entering-the-nativity-grotto
entering-the-nativity-grotto

queuing for the nativity grotto
queuing for the nativity grotto
 450 queuing for the nativity grotto

Me and Gem queuing for the nativity grotto
Me and Gem queuing for the nativity grotto
 459 queuing for the nativity grotto
 461 queuing for the nativity grotto  462 Entrance to the Nativity grotto

Entrance to the Nativity Grotto
Entrance to the Nativity Grotto

Me and Fr. Estong at the entrance to the Nativity grotto
Me and Fr. Estong at the entrance to the Nativity grotto

entering the nativity grotto
entering the nativity grotto

sign entrance nativity grotto
sign entrance nativity grotto

nativity grotto site
nativity grotto site

Me and Belle at the manger
Me and Belle at the manger

Nativity Grotto
Nativity Grotto

Me at the back of the nativity grotto
Me at the back of the nativity grotto

st george killing the dragon
st george killing the dragon

Nearby the Nativity Church is the Crystal Restaurant where we had our lunch. After lunch, at 1:20PM, we drove to Shepherds’ Field. We entered the Church of the Shepherds’ Field; a gospel passage was read by Fr Roming Subaldo, the shepherd of the day, and toured the place.

we-ate-our-lunch in Cyrstal Restaurant - Bethlehem
we-ate-our-lunch in Cyrstal Restaurant – Bethlehem

Inside the Crystal Restaurant
Inside the Crystal Restaurant

my lunch at crystal restaurant - bethlehem
my lunch at crystal restaurant – bethlehem

The Franciscans, the Custodians of Holy Land places, have a lovely Chapel of the Shepherds in the form of a tent, about 3 kilometers east of Bethlehem, whose cupola, with tiny glass windows, reminds one of the heavens and the stars. The place is located in the Village of Beit Sahour. The Shepherds’ Field is identified as the scene where the Angel of the Lord visited the Shepherds’ Field and informed them of the Birth of Jesus: “Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. he angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord,” (Mt 2:8-11). The shepherds saw the Star of Nativity. This image of the Star of nativity is enshrined beneath the Altar of the Church of the Nativity.

shepherds-place-entrance
shepherds-place-entrance

shepherd's place entrance
shepherd’s place entrance

No Smoking sign going to Shepherd's field area
No Smoking sign going to Shepherd’s field area

Shepherd's field Chapel from a short distance
Shepherd’s field Chapel from a short distance

Inside the Shepherd's field Chapel
Inside the Shepherd’s field Chapel

Written in the wall of Shepherd's field Chapel
Written in the wall of Shepherd’s field Chapel

Inside the Shepherd's field Chapel - its dome
Inside the Shepherd’s field Chapel – its dome

Shepherd's field Chapel
Shepherd’s field Chapel

entering the Shepherd's field grotto
entering the Shepherd’s field grotto

Inside the Shepherd's field grotto
Inside the Shepherd’s field grotto
 485 Inside the Shepherd's field grotto

Me Inside the Shepherd's field grotto
Me Inside the Shepherd’s field grotto

Marivet C Inside the Shepherd's field grotto
Marivet C Inside the Shepherd’s field grotto

Me, Marivet C Inside the Shepherd's field grotto
Me, Marivet C Inside the Shepherd’s field grotto

Afterwards, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent his last hours praying before he was arrested, is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives: “And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray” (Mk. 14:32). To get there, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley: “… he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered,” (Jn. 18:1). It was also in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus and His disciples often retired and meditate and pray. When we arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane, we waited for awhile and then entered the Garden; spent 15 minutes there, and burned all the petitions sent to us and our own petitions too.

olive-trees-at-the-garden-of-gethsemane
olive-trees-at-the-garden-of-gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane Sign
Garden of Gethsemane Sign

Olive trees at the Garden of gethsemane
Olive trees at the Garden of gethsemane

Basilica of gethsemane Sign
Basilica of gethsemane Sign

Olive trees at the Garden of gethsemane
Olive trees at the Garden of gethsemane

Burning Urn in the garden of Gethsemane during our Petition
Burning Urn in the garden of Gethsemane during our Petition

Me Burning my intentions
Me Burning my intentions

the Burning Can at the Garden of gethsemane
the Burning Can at the Garden of gethsemane

Garden of gethsemane sign
Garden of gethsemane sign

Garden of gethsemane sign
Garden of gethsemane sign

After the Garden of Gethsemane, we entered into the Church of Agony, a Roman Catholic Church, also called the Church of All Nations, home to some magnificent mosaics depicting the Agony of Jesus. According to tradition, the Rock of Agony lies inside the church where Jesus is said to have prayed before His arrest (Mk. 14:32-42). This Church is in the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and next to the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Grotto of Agony is not far from The Tomb of the Virgin Mary and The Church of St. Mary Magdalene. And near the top of the Mount of Olives is the Chapel of the Ascension: “And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight,” (Acts 1:9).

going-the-the-basilica-of-gethsemane (Church of the Agony)
going-the-the-basilica-of-gethsemane (Church of the Agony)

at the Entrance of the Church of the Agony, Gethsemane - a Reminder
at the Entrance of the Church of the Agony, Gethsemane – a Reminder
 501 at the Entrance - a Reminder

Basilica-of-the-Lord's-Agony-sign-gethsemane
Basilica-of-the-Lord’s-Agony-sign-gethsemane

Inside the Basilica of the Lord's Agony -Gethsemane
Inside the Basilica of the Lord’s Agony -Gethsemane

Inside the Basilica of the Lord's Agony -Gethsemane
Inside the Basilica of the Lord’s Agony -Gethsemane

The Stone were Jesus was agonizing
The Stone were Jesus was agonizing

The Stone were Jesus was agonizing
The Stone were Jesus was agonizing

Inside the Basilica of the Lord's Agony -Gethsemane
Inside the Basilica of the Lord’s Agony -Gethsemane

Me at The Stone were Jesus was agonizing
Me at The Stone were Jesus was agonizing

Me at the altar Inside the Basilica of the Lord's Agony -Gethsemane
Me at the altar Inside the Basilica of the Lord’s Agony -Gethsemane

After touring, taking pictures and praying silently at the Church of Agony, our tour bus driver Saher, brought us to Pater Noster Church, one of several splendid churches in this sacred place called Mount of Olives. Mount of Olives is also called Mount Olivet, is a mountain ridge in east Jerusalem and is administered by Israel as part of the country’s capital, Jerusalem. It was named after the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with David’s flight from Absalom (1Sam 15:30) in the Old Testament: “And David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up.” The Mount of Olives too is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Mt. 21:1; 26:30) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. Jesus spent time on Mount of Olives, teaching and prophesying to His disciples (Mt 24-25), returning after each day to rest (Lk 21:37), and also coming there on the night of His betrayal (Mt 26:39).

Pater Noster(The Lord’s Prayer) Church was named after the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: “Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4). At the wall, inside out, of the Pater Noster Church, the Lord’s Prayer is translated into several languages of the world including Tagalog, Ilonggo and Pampango.

pater-noster
pater-noster

our Tour Guide and some of of my co-pilgrims inside the Pater Noster
our Tour Guide and some of of my co-pilgrims inside the Pater Noster
 514 Pater Noster  515 Pater Noster

Pater Noster in Tagalog
Pater Noster in Tagalog

Inside Pater Noster
Inside Pater Noster

Pater Noster in Ilonggo
Pater Noster in Ilonggo

And then we went to Dominus Flevit Church, another splendid church of Mount of Olives, passing the Palm Sunday road: “And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it…” (Lk. 19:41). While walking along the Palm Sunday road, we saw cemetery of Jews (necropolis) and Muslims. Upon arrival at Dominus Flevit Church, a prayer was said and took some pictures. And then we went back to our tour bus waiting us near the Church of the Agony down below the Mount of Olives passing again through the Palm Sunday Road.

Palm Sunday Road going to Dominus Flevit
Palm Sunday Road going to Dominus Flevit

Palm Sunday Road going to Dominus Flevit
Palm Sunday Road going to Dominus Flevit

Jewish Cemetery while on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road
Jewish Cemetery while on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road

Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road
Jewish Cemetery while on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road

Some of our co-pilgrims on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road
Some of our co-pilgrims on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road

Me and Some of our co-pilgrims on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road
Me and Some of our co-pilgrims on our way to Dominus Flevit passing by Palm Sunday Road

Another Jewish Cemetery
Another Jewish Cemetery

The Sanctuary of the A Sign before entering the Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem
The Sanctuary of the A Sign before entering the Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem

a Tomb Inside the Dominus Flevit
a Tomb Inside the Dominus Flevit

Dominus Flevit Church
Dominus Flevit Church

Viewed from Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem
Viewed from Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem

Viewed from Dominus Flevit - a Russian Orthodox Church
Viewed from Dominus Flevit – a Russian Orthodox Church

Dominus Flevit Sign
Dominus Flevit Sign

We drove to Commodore Hotel and arrived at 5:22PM. Bishop Gutierrez blessed all religious articles we bought. Dinner at 6:30PM, rest and sleep.

at-Commodore-Hotel-Jerusalem-where-Bishop-Gutierrez-blessed-all-our-religious-articles
at-Commodore-Hotel-Jerusalem-where-Bishop-Gutierrez-blessed-all-our-religious-articles

Bishop Gutierrez blessed our religious articles at Commodore Hotel Jerusalem
Bishop Gutierrez blessed our religious articles at Commodore Hotel Jerusalem

For more pictures please see: My Facebook

For more pictures during this DAY see this LINK courtesy of Rence Galbo

Back to: AN ILLUSTRATED PILGRIM’S NOTE

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