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Traveling to Blog World and the Holy Land

Gillian Kantor

Friday, February 23, 2007

After weeks of being inspired by my colleagues and their thoughtful entries on the Salt + Light blog, I am finally joining them with my own musings. Well, perhaps these aren’t so much “musings” as they are words written together to form coherent sentences.
At any rate, this opportunity to write and share our ideas, opinions, and insights into the Catholic faith and our work with the Church is exciting, and we look forward to the comments of blog readers and S+L viewers! Great conversations can happen here!
And over the next week, I look forward to sharing more blog entries about my upcoming trip to the Holy Land. I will be heading overseas on Tuesday, February 27 and return the following week. I’m traveling with a group of Catholic newspaper reporters from the United States, and we will have a jam-packed schedule. Stops include St. Peter’s Church in ancient Jaffa, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Mount of the Beatitudes, the Dead Sea (for an unsinkable swim!), the Mount of Olives and Garden of Gethsemane, and the Temple Mount to follow the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
When I was asked to join this pilgrimage, I immediately started to cry. It was an unexpected reaction. Traveling to the Holy Land has always been on the list of “Things to do Someday.” So when the opportunity presented itself so suddenly, I was so surprised and so excited about what sights and sounds lie before me that my emotions poured out.
What will I experience? I have only maps, travel itinerary, and the words of pilgrims before me to give me an idea. And all of these promise that the Holy Land is extraordinary. But I also have the words of my ten-year-old niece to think of: “Why are you going someplace where there is war?”
The Holy Land – despite its esteemed name – does have an unsettled history. The conflict in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis surrounds the places that we – and many other religions – call Holy. How do we reconcile this idea of peace with the reality of war? Well, as I have heard from other travelers, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land does mean only peace… peace experienced and lived and shared.
This is what I look forward to.
I will share my experiences as I travel.

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