After a long flight from Sydney, first stop was a swim in the Dead Sea for those on the Holy Lands & World Youth Day pilgrimage. From Day 2, the Bible came to life for Bus 1 with visits to Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives, The Garden of Gethsemane, and the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) which allowed pilgrims to literally walk in Jesus’ footsteps as this is where he bore the cross for his crucifiction.
Pilgrims also visited Nazareth, The Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem and other ancient spiritual sites before departing from Tel Aviv for Krakow, Poland. Apart from a hold up crossing the border into Israel, the consesus was that the trip was both beautiful and spiritual.
Champagnat Catholic College Pagewood Year 11 student Richard Vaku’uta described the experience as reviving.
“I felt a strong connection to my faith there. We went to the church of the Holy Sceptre near where Jesus was crucified and buried.”
Brigidine College Randwick Year 11 student Helen Beaini said the new friendships formed on the pilgrimage and the sites visited were among the highlights of the journey so far.
“It has been so good, like nothing you could ever imagine,” she said. “I think walking the way of Jesus was the best thing, and especially the Sea of Galilee. We had Mass on the Sea. We also did the stations of the cross and saw where Jesus was born, buried and rose again.”
St John Bosco College Engadine Year 10 student Angelique Wallworth said the pilgrimage had helped to grow faith and new friendships.
“It has been one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “Being able to meet new people not just from other schools but from other countries has been a highlight. It has been great to grow my faith, and also just mature on the journey.”
Check out some of the highlights of their journey, in photos, below.