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Highlights From the ‘Lent in the Holy Land’ Pilgrimage

Father Dave and Brett joined Lino Rulli and Tyler Veghte of “The Catholic Guy Show” on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel for a Lenten pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They led 125 pilgrims to many important sites in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, including Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and more.

While walking from the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, Father Dave and Lino discuss how visiting these holy places in our modern world can help the Scriptures come alive. Father Dave says, “It helps folks that are very attentive in church, they pay attention, they go all the time. They’ve heard the Scriptures, maybe even read their Bible, and they’ll hear things like ‘Jesus went through the Kidron Valley.’ We’re standing here right now, looking out over the Kidron Valley, and not very far away. We could walk to the Old City of Jerusalem.”

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Lino adds, “Part of the beauty of coming to the Holy Land is seeing things and seeing how they’re put together. So that if you were to say, ‘Jesus had dinner on Mount Zion, the Last Supper, he walked down a hill and through the Kidron Valley and went to the base of the Mount of Olives.’ When you’re here you go, ‘Oh, what is that? Like a 20 or 30 minute walk.’”

“I realize it’s radio, but hopefully we can put it together for everybody else [listening]. It’s Lent, it’s when we hear about all these things. These aren’t made up places,” he says.

They visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which Father Dave describes as the culmination of their trip. He says, “A lot of the pilgrims have been asking me all week, ‘Of all the places we go, what’s your favorite place?’ And, well, it’s hard to rank something above the place where Jesus rose from the dead.” 

They describe how the church layout may be unexpected, as it is divided between different denominations of Christianity. Father Dave says, “When you get inside, you don’t realize it’s not just a church, like with pews facing forward, and there’s the altar up front…up here on the right, you walk up these tiny, narrow little stairs, and you go to something else which is significant: Golgotha, which is where Jesus was crucified.”

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Lino says, “This was a stone quarry, it looks nothing like in the movies. That’s not a critique of movies, it looks nothing like it does even in the great Italian Renaissance art…it’s inside of the current modern walls of Jerusalem, but it was outside the city walls [at that time]. And that’s where the Romans would kill people, as a reminder to say, if you want to steal, if you want to kill, we will kill you in the most painful way possible: crucifixion. And we do it outside the city walls, so that as people are walking into and out of the city, [they see it]. It’s public, it’s humiliating, it’s painful. You see what will come of you if you want to challenge Herod or Caesar, or if you want to say you’re the king of the Jews.”

The sites of Jesus’ death and resurrection are contained in this church, and Lino describes it as his favorite place. He says, “There’s a spot where you can light a candle, and you are looking up at where Golgotha is. Straight ahead is Golgotha, and immediately to your left is the empty tomb. So you can basically see the history of salvation all by standing in one spot.”