A group of pilgrims from St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield recently visited the Holy Land with Sr Susan Richert PBVM, the school’s Chaplain.  Here are the thoughts of some of the pilgrims.

“To bear witness by walking in the footsteps of our Lord in today’s troubled Holy Land was deeply moving and pertinent.”Holy Land pilgrimage 1 s

“It was a wonderful experience, further enhanced by the impeccable organisation and care on your part that went into the whole pilgrimage.”

“I cannot fully describe the wonderful experience I had on this Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I feel that I have been very privileged that I have had the opportunity to visit the holy sites and where Jesus walked.  I was quite overwhelmed with the many experiences.  I have had both tears and laughter.  Our fellow pilgrims also made you aware of how diverse we are.  They were wonderful to be with and helped make this trip something I will never forget.”

“We made new friends and shared a journey in faith that was thoroughly enjoyable, deeply spiritual and extremely educational.  The pilgrimage helped to reinforce our faith and to gain an understanding of the plight of the Palestinians and the Palestinian Christians in particular.”

“I shared this experience with my wife who accompanied me on the pilgrimage.  Prior to going I was not really sure what to expect, however the experience has left me spiritually renewed and feeling that my faith has never been stronger.  I hope to go back in two years and would recommend this experience to all Christians and particularly colleagues who work in Faith schools.”

“Travelling in the Holy Land is always special but this trip with Sr Susan was particularly so.  Our trips to the holy sites were arranged so that as far as possible we were not swamped and distracted by other pilgrim groups.  Our Masses and services were private and the homilies of Fr Michael focussed our minds in a meaningful way on biblical events and their wider significance.  In a modern context we saw the realities of the political situation illustrating the plight of Palestinian Arabs as a whole, and of Christians in particular.  There are injustices which may not be ignored or airbrushed away as happens on so many tours, but which call for action and support for the oppressed on our return home. ”

“This was probably our last visit to Palestine.  It was a happy trip and from our point of view could not have been bettered.”

“A wonderful experience that I will always remember and cherish for the rest of my life.  You have to visit the Holy Land to fully appreciate the full extent of this journey.”

Visiting St Martha’s Centre in BethlehemHoly Land pilgrimage 2 s

Sr Susan said, “As part of St Mary’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the group, made up of staff, parents, friends, parishioners associated with St Mary’s, visited St Martha’s.  We took with us donations, wool, cottons, medicines, toiletries, gloves and scarves.  Listening to Laila, the founder of the centre, and meeting the ladies and those who worked at the centre was a very moving experience.  We are grateful to all those who gave us donations and items to take with us. Holy Land pilgrimage 3 s

“We are now beginning remote preparations for February, half-term 2017.  If you would like to join us, please contact Sr Susan at St Mary’s High School, Chesterfield, 01246 201191; srsusan@stmaryschesterfield.org.uk or susanpbvm@yahoo.co.uk – for further details.”