We had come to follow in His steps, each answering a call from within. We walked boldly to behold the sites, yet at times gingerly, because from within, the call for transformation confronted us. We came ready to take in the sights, but were not quite prepared for how each historical site was to overwhelm us, encouraging us to let go and be transformed.
“Sent by the Spirit”
We thank the Holy Spirit for sending you to us, Fr Angelo to decipher the wealth of historical facts found in the Holy Land and translate them into rich spiritual messages. For the 9 days you were with us, you not only guided us through ancient stones but made the ancient stones come alive to speak to us.
“Library of Knowledge”
You are a library of knowledge, an earthen vessel containing answers, your input digging deep into history, hundreds of years represented by layers of ancient stones. Each layer, each stone had a story which you expertly told.
At each site you passionately, generously and painstakingly shared all the little details so that the knowledge we acquire will open the door to our hearts. You are a teacher that left no stone unturned; excellent in detail, in hope that we go on to live excellent lives.
“You unblock the driveway; you were the ‘yellow box’”
We have come home and thank you for facilitating a very rich spiritual experience. We still hear the echo of your voice “Do not block the driveway!” Our experience of the Holy Land with you has certainly unblock our spiritual highway leading to a life closer to the one whose footsteps we follow; you were the ‘yellow box’ organising the clutter in our life for a smoother passage.
We thank you for the generosity of sharing your privilege as a Franciscan Friar by bringing us into sites that are normally difficult to enter. The masses we celebrated inside the Tomb of Jesus and at the Manger Altar will always be a pivotal point on our spiritual journey. A lasting impression of you was when you dug into your pocket to produce the key to unlock the Chapel of the Franks atop the steps at Tenth Station; truly you hold the keys to the ‘kingdom’ for us!
“An angel of reconciliation”
Holy Land is the land on which the cock famously crowed. We have come, some with a troubled past, cobbled with stones of unforgiveness and bitterness. Thank you for encouraging us to accept the Father’s offer for reconciliation; the stone of bitterness left behind, a past no longer haunting us. Thank you for being the agent, and angel of reconciliation.
Thank you for celebrating mass for us every day in chapels and places you have carefully chosen. We have come home not only with a deeper appreciation but have re-discovered the meaning and yearning for the mass. During our 9 days you also shared who you are with us. We are humbled by your honest expression of the person you are. You showed us how we should be proud to be Catholic and are impressed by your passion to be one. We admire the old, broken phone you carry, symbolic of the spirit of poverty with which you chose to live life. You not only celebrate life through the sacraments but also showed how to celebrate a sacramental life through our daily life.
“You were magnanimous”
We are sorry for the many times we tested your patience while you were trying to give us more. We wandered away looking for more, but in our celebrations of the eighth and ninth sacraments. We thank you for being so magnanimous when we erred.
“Through you, the beautiful mosaic of a pilgrimage to Holy Land is created”
Our spiritual journey, our personal journey in life is a yet to be completed picture. When it is complete we hope that it would be as beautiful as the many mosaic, littered with Christian symbols, that you showed us. But one thing is for sure, the mosaic depicting our life so far has been beautified by this pilgrimage to Holy Land. And this beauty is due in no small part to you, Fr. Angelo who guided us through this experience; indeed you are a rare find for a pilgrim, like an ancient 4th century stone. In you, history is stored and through you the beautiful mosaic of a pilgrimage to Holy Land is created.
Sr. Mel Benedictos, RC, Lena Leo, Jennifer Leo, Geralding Wong, Catherine See, Grace See, Yvonne Chen, Matilda Woo, Adam Harris and Tony See.