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America StaffFebruary 26, 2019
Encounter Chapel - Magdala, photo by Vivian Cabrera 

We began today by celebrating Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes on one of the outside altars. We made a short hike down the Mount to the Cave of Eremos, where Jesus went off to pray, for a full reading of the Sermon on the Mount. We also visited the Jesus Boat Exhibit, which showed a recently excavated boat dating from around the time of Jesus. We then boarded a boat of our own and made our way out onto the water for a reflective journey recalling Christ’s coming to the troubled disciples by walking on the water. We made our last stop at the Magdala Center in the home village of Mary Magdalene, where we see the excavation of the ancient synagogue where Jesus met Mary Magdalen for the first time. Below, read a reflection by Mary Bauer.

I entered the encounter chapel totally unaware of its significance. Everyone was posing in front of the mural. There was a singular prayer kneeler desk which called out to me. I knelt with people all around and cameras going off. To me, it felt as if I was alone, except for the presence of Mother Mary and Mary Magdalena. I felt the need to pray that God not take my son's suffering away as I usually do but to help him feel God’s presence in his life again. I recalled some of the countless times God had been present in our lives to help us through. I discussed how I know in my heart God asked “who is willing to come on this earth and show people how you overcome suffering with grace, faith and dignity.” My son raised his hand and said I will. Then I was just brought along for the ride. And what an amazing ride it has been.

But my son is human and as the years have passed, he and I have felt abandoned. He now struggles to feel God’s love. So I asked both Marys to carry my needs to The Lord.

After I got up, Father Matt Malone started telling us we were standing on the road Jesus used as he made his way to meet Mary Magdalene. And the mural, which I had not really paid attention to, depicted the encounter between Jesus and the hemorrhaging woman.

I am so blessed to have truly felt presence of Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary. And to know God is still with me.

For more on the 2019 Holy Land Pilgrimage, visit here. You can send us your prayer requests here.

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