With this tour and these conversations, I am being woken up - just like I was this morning with my saltwater swim - to the realities of the Catholic church in the Holy Land. There are a number of difficulties and challenges with a pilgrim church where, it is said, 80 per cent of the people at Sunday Mass are tourists and won't be there to support the parish on any other day. But there are also many privileges, including the presence of a number of priests and religious to guide parishioners in their prayer, the visual inspiration of being in Jesus' homeland, and the layers of history that make up this Holy Land.
These are not necessarily the realities of the North American Church, but they are worth the exploration and consideration. And so is that Mediterranean swim.