2 March 2012
A man prays in a Coptic shrine behind the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (photo: Gabriel Delmonaco)
Last month, CNEWA’s Vice President for Development Gabriel Delmonaco, accompanied by our Vice President for the Middle East and Europe Father Guido Gockel, toured the Holy Land with a group of CNEWA benefactors. During their Jerusalem visit, they not only saw first-hand some important CNEWA projects, but they also were able to celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Here is an excerpt from Gabriel’s final blog post from the field:
When the alarm clock went off at 5:30 a.m., I was already awake. The steady sound of the rain hitting the windows and the roofs of the cars woke me up. We all had to be ready by 6:30 to take advantage of the great opportunity to celebrate Mass at the Altar of the Crucifixion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Most of us could not believe that, this place that had been so crowded with pilgrims yesterday, would belong entirely to us for 30 minutes today.
As we walked through the wet roads of the Old City, some of the shops opened their doors. The strong smell of Arabic coffee permeated the alleys. Jerusalem was slowly waking up to a new day that for us would bring many unexpected surprises.
We waited for Father Guido at the Altar of the Crucifixion and at 7 a.m. sharp he arrived, escorted by a Franciscan priest. This altar is cared for by the Franciscans. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and other Eastern churches care for other sections of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. During Mass, we remembered one of our faithful donors from Arizona who will undergo a complicated operation to remove a tumor. This is CNEWA — a family of concerned Christians who care for each other.
For more stories and notes from this trip, check out Gabriel’s blog posts from the field.
Tags: Middle East Christians Middle East Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre Coptic Church