Holy Land Pilgrimage Jan. 08: Day 5

After a night stay at the Dead Sea, the pilgrims boarded their tour bus and headed out for another day packed with historical sites, Biblical lessons and spiritual growth.

Cavins Tour Bus

Yet, no visit to the Dead Sea is complete with out a little 'Syn-Crow-nized' swim, so Chad, Marilyn and Jordan Crow together with their teammate Patricia Laedermann (all the way from Switzerland) showed the group that although life in the Dead Sea is impossible, coming up with an entertaining routine while floating in the mineral-rich waters isn't.

The pilgrims visited Masada, Herod's fortress in the wilderness where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. Then it was on to Qumran, the site of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

Ladies at Qumran

The Schmitz' in Qumran

In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd boy discovered strange looking earthenware jugs containing the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave. This would prove to be the most dramatic discovery of ancient Hebrew documents ever found.

Fr. Rich Finds a Cave

In 2008, a Minnesotan Bible Study Tour Leader discovers a familiar looking priest (Fr. Richard Kunst) from Duluth Minnesota in a gift shop. This would prove to be a most enjoyable discovery of a fellow Minnesotan thousands of miles from home.

Jeff Runs Into Fr. Kunst

JoAnn Magnuson takes time out from leading to read a little story to the ladies in Hebrew and offer advice on which books to buy.

JoAnn and Ladies in Book Store

From there the pilgrims head, via a very friendly military escort, to celebrate Mass at the site that commemorates Jesus' baptism by the John the Baptist, Qasar El Yahud.

The Ladies Pose

Fr. Rich and Nate at the Jordan

"Then Jesus came from the Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he consented" (Mt 3:13-15).

Jeff Teaching at the Jordan

"And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and behold, a voice from heaven saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Mt 16-17).

Group at the Jordan River

With that in mind, the pilgrims had a chance to meditate on the first Luminous Mystery of the Rosary: The Baptism of Jesus.

1st Luminous Mystery

As the day was drawing to a close, the pilgrims once again boarded the tour buses and headed "Up to Jerusalem" singing songs of praise and learning from Jeff why we always go "Up to Jerusalem." Roni the tour guide explained that the proper way to enter Jerusalem is to get out and walk; and he gave a blessing over Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus, thanking God for bread and wine and a safe journey. Then he welcomed the pilgrims to Jerusalem, the Holy City.

Roni Give Blessing Over Jerusalem

With the sun setting on Jerusalem, Jeff offers a prayer and the pilgrims end another beautiful day in the Holy Land.