28th April, 2022

Holy Land Pilgrimage April 2022

Ampleforth Society

Ampleforth Society
Holy Land Pilgrimage, April 2022

At last, after a two-year delay and five postponements, eighteen members of the Ampleforth Society embarked on an early morning flight on 6th April to Tel Aviv for the inaugural Society Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

We were a disparate group aged from twenty-five to eighty-five comprising devout Catholics, Anglicans, and a few uncertain of their faith. However, we had in common a love and respect for Ampleforth and a desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land.

The pilgrimage was organised by Cassian (J80) and Jane Roberts of JC Journeys. Our guides were the extremely knowledgeable Fr Henry from the Abbey and Ibrahim Emtanis from JCJ's agents in Nazareth.

We followed Jesus from his birthplace to his resurrection. We began our journey by celebrating Mass on the shore of the Sea of Galilee at the Benedictine Monastery of Dalmanutha. We were possibly on the same spot where Jesus had cooked fish for his disciples after the miraculous catch and prompted Peter's rehabilitation.

We closed our pilgrimage a week later. Fr Henry celebrated the Mass of the Nativity at a simple side chapel at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, well away from the glitz of the main church.

In between, we visited historical and spiritual sites, from the source of the River Jordan in the north of Israel to Masada in the south (which a few brave souls climbed on foot). We walked the Via Dolorosa on Palm Sunday and celebrated Mass in the Holy Sepulchre. We trekked along rivers and through the desert, and swam in the Dead Sea. We shopped in the souks and stores and travelled and talked in a way that left us all conscious that we had formed new, deep and significant friendships.

In seven days, we covered a lot of ground, and we were all exhausted at the end (except Fr Henry). However, there is no doubt that each and every pilgrim regarded this as an exceptional, even life-changing, experience.

We will publish a fuller, illustrated account of the pilgrimage and a schedule of forthcoming events in the Ampleforth Society Pilgrimage Programme in due course.

With prayerful thanks for an amazing pilgrimage and a safe return. 

Jeremy Deedes
Managing Trustee
The Ampleforth Society