The Joy of Pilgrimage
Sandra Brinkley, FHL’s Ambassador in the Hallam Diocese, shares a wonderful pilgrimage report including the many benefits of connecting with the ‘Living Stones’ of the Holy Land.
“Pilgrimage to me is about four things – personal and spiritual refreshment, visiting the holy sites,and supporting the small Christian community, now at just 1% in Palestine. This means using Christian guides and Christian owned hotels, restaurants and transport companies. But, most importantly, it is about meeting Christians face to face, to assure them they are not forgotten.
"I travelled with the Catenian Association, an international group of Catholic ‘Brothers’ and their wives. We attended Mass with the local parishioners at St Joseph’s Church, next door to the Basilica in Nazareth. To see the young children serving on the altar, and to hear their beautiful Arabic singing, will remain with me for a very long time. Their warm welcome and happy smiles made it clear our visit was greatly appreciated.
"The following day in Bethlehem, we divided into two groups to visit flagship FHL projects St. Martha’s House and the School of Joy - many considered this the highlight of their pilgrimage. I will not forget dancing with the St Martha’s House women – much laughter and fun was had in our short visit. We heard a moving presentation by the Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University, sharing the challenges for young people attending the university. Peter Rand, FHL’s Vice Chairman, also spoke, focusing on the charity’s work and how pilgrims could support the most vulnerable Christians when they returned to the UK.We were also able to help in a very tangible way. Every pilgrim was encouraged to take non-prescription medications, toothbrushes and other toiletries, which we passed to FHL for distribution to poor families.I would strongly encourage anyone to go on pilgrimage; you will never know what an amazing experience it is until you do. “