FR ANGELO ISON, OFM – A NOTE OF GRATITUDE

IMG_9944We 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.

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“Sent by the Spirit”

IMG_9839We 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.

21455451052_94f687107f_o (2)“A teacher who left no stone unturned”

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.

IMG_0770“You hold the keys to the ‘kingdom’”

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.

21440534226_41e8efa159_o (2)“You celebrate life”

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.

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“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.

IMG_9969               Thank you for being our guide, and much more.

Sr. Mel Benedictos, RC, Lena Leo, Jennifer Leo, Geralding Wong, Catherine See, Grace See, Yvonne Chen, Matilda Woo, Adam Harris and Tony See.

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“THE PIERCING SHARP PAIN WAS GONE!”

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Angela Kuang participated in the recent Landings run that ended on 28 September 2015, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Singapore. Petitions from the Landings community were lifted up during mass at the Chapel of Elijah, Church of the Transfiguration, Mt Tabor on 23rd August 2015 and subsequently at every mass celebrated. Written petitions were left with the Carmelite nuns at the monastery in Haifa.

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“I have been having this persistent sharp pain in my left hip bone right down to my calf. This had been bothering me for more than 1 ½ years. It was so bad that every morning, I had to sit up and stretch for quite a while before I could properly walk. Sometimes the pain was so bad that I cannot even lift my legs to climb stairs. I had tried acupuncture, taken lots of painkillers but nothing helped. Recently, the doctor advised that I seek help from a bone specialist. The worst case scenario would be that I needed surgery as the cause could possibly be nerves being pinched in between the hip bones.

When I knew that a team of pilgrims from Landings was headed to the Holy Land, I wrote a petition to seek help to relieve the pain so as to avoid surgery. On Sunday 6 September 2015, I woke up to a surprisingly painless morning. At that time, the thought of my petition being answered did not cross my mind as I had actually forgotten about the petition. A few days passed without pain and I began to ponder but still with doubts! However 2 weeks passed and I doubted no more. The piercing sharp pain in the left hip bone is gone! My petition had been answered!

Thanks to the Landings pilgrims for their assistance in delivering my petition to the Holy Land. Praise the Lord!”

ITINERARY 22 AUGUST – 30 AUGUST 2015

Saturday August 22: Arrival, Tel Aviv, Caesarea Maritima, Mt. Carmel, Stella Maris, view of Baha’i Garden.

Arrival on TK 794 at 1135 to Ben-Gurion airport, meet and assist through customs. We drive to Caesarea Maritima to visit the restored Roman Amphitheatre and ruins from the time of Pilate and Paul’s imprisonment. Continue to Haifa and drive up Mt. Carmel for a panoramic view of the city and port, River Kishon and the Mediterranean Sea.   The Carmelite Order was founded in this site in the 11th century. We will have mass at the church. View of Baha’i gardens. Dinner and overnight in Haifa. (L, D)

Mass in Stella Maris 5 PM

Lunch at Port Café

Sunday Aug 23: Mt Tabor, Boat ride, Jesus boat, Capernaum

We start the day with a visit to the summit of Mt Tabor where the Transfiguration took place. We have time for Mass. Then we return to the Sea of Galilee for lunch and after lunch we visit the church of the Primacy of Peter which is built over the Rock where the Resurrected Christ asked Peter thrice “Do you love me?”. We then take a relaxing boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. We visit the 1st century boat discovered in the mud of the Sea of Galilee. We end the day in Capernaum where Jesus lived during His Galilean Ministry. We visit St. Peter’s house and the synagogue where Jesus preached. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B, L, D)

Mass at Mt Tabor 11 AM

Lunch at Tanureen 

Monday Aug 24:  Mt Beatitudes, Golan Heights, Kursi, and Sea of Galilee

Our first visit will be the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. We continue to Tabgha where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish. We drive up to the Golan Heights and Caesarea Philippi where Peter said: “Thou art the Christ”. On the way back, we stop at Kursi, where Jesus is said to have healed the two men of demons. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B, L, D)

Mass at Mt Beatitudes 8 AM

Lunch at Daphna

Tuesday Aug 25: Cana, Nazareth and Magdala Center

Depart Tiberias to Nazareth to visit Cana where Christ performed His first miracle and where we can have the renewal of Marriage Vows. We proceed to the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Workshop of S. Joseph Church. We end the day with a visit to Madgala Center. We will pack our luggage tonight. From Galilee, we will drive to Jericho. (B, L, D)

Mass at St Joseph Church, next to Annunciation 10 AM

Lunch at the YMCA Nazareth

Wednesday Aug 26:  Qasr El Yahud Baptismal site, Jericho, Dead Sea

We head to the Jordan Valley and Qasr el Yahud baptismal site on the banks of the River Jordan. We renew our baptismal vows. We visit Jericho and see the Sycamore tree where Jesus’ calling of Zacchaeus is remembered. We will view the Greek Orthodox of the Temptation of Christ Monastery from the foot of Mt Temptation where Jesus was tempted by Satan. After lunch, we have Mass and continue on to the Dead Sea hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Mass at Good Shepherd Jericho 3 PM

Lunch at Mt Temptation Restaurant beside the 7,000 year old Tel (hill).C

Thursday Aug 27:  Bethlehem, Nativity Church, Shepherds Fields, and Mt of Olives

We go to Bethlehem to visit the place of our Lord’s birth in the Basilica of the Nativity. We visit the Shepherd’s Fields where the Angels appeared to the shepherds who were watching over their flocks during the night. In the afternoon, drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem and a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area. We visit the Shrine of the Ascension, Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, Dominus Flevit and then proceed down the Palm Sunday route to the Garden of Gethsemane where we find the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed before this betrayal. We visit the tomb of the Blessed Mother also at the foot of the Mt of Olives. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B,L,D)

Mass at the Grotto of Gethsemane, 4 PM

Lunch at Abu Shanab

Friday Aug 28:  Old City, Mt Zion, Ein Karem, Holy Hour

We have an early start to have Mass at the Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We return back to the hotel for breakfast. We then set off to the Old City via St. Stephen’s Gate. We visit St. Anne’s Church and the Pools of Bethesda, and the Church of the Flagellation. From there, we continue to the Judgment Hall known as the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was led to be condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. We follow the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa through the Old City streets to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the afternoon, we visit Mt Zion to see the Upper Room or Last Supper Room and the Church of the Dormition. We go to St Peter in Gallincatu, remembering Peter’s denial of Jesus and view the 1st century Maccabee Steps, which was very likely used by Jesus. Continue to the village of Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist. We will proceed to the Wailing Wall and view the two entrances of the Temple from the First century.  Holy hour at the basilica of the agony this night. Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)

Mass at Tomb in Holy Sepulcher at 07:30 AM

Lunch at Bulghourji

Holy Hour at Basilica at Gethsemane 08:00 PM

Saturday Aug 29: Rest day from Pilgrimage (B, D) – with Bus and Guide

MASS AT MANGER ALTAR, BETHANY IN THE MORNING. FREE DAY.

We drive to Bethlehem to celebrate Mass at the Grotto of Nativity, at the Manger Altar. We drive to Bethany, home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. We have a rest day exploring the Old City.

Mass at the MANGER ALTAR at the Grotto of the Nativity (8:30 AM – as arranged by Fr. Angelo)

Sunday Aug 30:  Yad Vashem, Model and Israel Museum, Emmaus, Jaffa

We start the day with a visit to Yad Vashem and then to the model of Jerusalem as it was at the time of Jesus and see the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Israel Museum. We proceed to Emmaus where Jesus was recognized by the two disciples. We drive to Jaffa, St. Peter’s Church and celebrate mass there. In the early evening, we transfer to the airport for our flight, departing at 2120. (B, L, D)

Lunch at Modern Israel Museum

Mass at St Peter’s, Jaffa 4 PM

Dinner at St George