We leave Ottawa in a small snow squall. Toronto is clear and we meet our group. We are being accompanied by Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie, OMI and Fr Susai Jesu, OMI. Our tour provider Maria Drueco is also with us. We are a group of 28 pilgrims. Mostly from Edmonton but some from Sask and Manitoba.
A small mishap. John and Christine from Arnprior board an earlier flight to Toronto. When they get to the gate for Tel Aviv, their bags have apparently not made it to this flight. After a tense search everything is resolved. A smooth flight to Tel Aviv on Air Canada in their newest B787 Dreamliner.
Leaving the plane, another mishap. Marie inadvertently leves her wallet on the plane. After another tense wait, they find it and bring it to her. Hey, we are pilgrims and these things happen.
We head for Nazareth with a tall concrete wall on our right separating the Jewish State of Israel from the Palestinian West Bank settlements. There are gaps so it seems artificial and not needed but this is Israel we learn.
Our hotel is comfortable. Nazareth is very hilly and a large city. Much bigger than in Jesus time. The streets are narrow. We stop for a chicken shawarma sandwich lunch, yum. As we leave the restaurant, the call to Muslim worship sounds. A man looks at me and says to slow down. It’s time to pray. I say we heard this too in Istanbul. He says that is a good place.
That night we celebrate Mass and enjoy awonderful buffet dinner complete with humus, mediteranean style lamb stew, beef, roast chicken and dozens of sauces and spices.
We sleep and sleep at last. Thanks be to God for this pilgrimage and safe journey.
Dave and Marie