During the October half term, Miss Corlett, Jade Ellis and Allyssa Jones (year 13) headed off on a Youth pilgrimage to Israel with Shrewsbury Diocese led by Bishop Mark.
The aim of the trip was to re-trace Christ's footsteps from the cave of Bethlehem to Jerusalem and to the shores of Galilee.
We began our pilgrimage by visiting the Church of the Nativity, built over the cave that marks the spot where Jesus was born. It was very hard to picture with the hustle and bustle however celebrating mass with Bishop Mark in the cave was a special moment that we will cherish forever.
It was then that we started to re-trace the footsteps of Christ. A special moment was joining the Adult pilgrimage and walking the ‘Palm Sunday’ path which led us to the Garden of Gethsemane and we then went on to visit the room where Jesus celebrated his ‘Last Supper’. Everything we have learnt about the last week of Jesus’ life on earth was starting to come to life for us.
Later in the week we walked the Way of The Cross along the narrow street of the Via Dolorosa. It was a busy day where we saw market stalls and shop keepers selling their goods. Bishop Mark reminded us that this is what it would have been like when Jesus was carrying his cross as this would have seemed normal to passers-by.
After visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem, we then moved on to the shores of Galilee. We headed -1400m below sea level to the Dead Sea where we had the chance to float in its unique mineral-laden waters before continuing on to the River Jordan. It was here we had the spectacular opportunity to re-new our baptismal promises, just like when John baptised Jesus in the River Jordan.
Whilst in Galilee, we sailed on the water where Jesus had performed many of his miracles including ‘The Feeding of the 5000’ and ‘The Calming of the Storm’. We also visited Nazareth where Jesus grew up and visited Cana which was the site of the first miracle (where Jesus turned water in to wine).
This was such a fantastic experience, which has never been done before by the Diocese for young people. Not only did we get to re-trace Jesus’ footsteps, we also had the opportunity to visit young people living within the conflict of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It really puts in to perspective how lucky we are to have the education and opportunities available to us here at home. It really was the trip of a lifetime!
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