SATURDAY, 27TH JULY, 2013
Our last but one day, and it was a free day so destination Bethlehem. Most of us seemed to be going there in two groups, the 8 o'clock and the 9 o'clock. Now so used to early starts, I joined the 8 a.m. group, so Vid, Bino, Harold and I moved off to the bus stop shortly after 8. We had an extraordinary day of sightseeing and just joy at being in Bethlehem and the other places we visited. When we first arrived in Bethlehem we left the bus at the last stop which was quite a way from Manger Square. We were approached by a taxi drive, Josef, and asked him to take us to our destination. The day turned out really well as Josef remained with us as guide and driver until 4 p.m., taking us to Hebron to the Mosque and Souik, then to Herodian, the Shepherds' Field, a Glass and Ceramic Works, Manger Square, and an Olive Wood Factory. A wonderful day - see photos (taken by Bino to relieve me of the task! - what a blessing my companions were this day, and throughout the whole programme.)
Returning to St Charles, there was time to rest and relax before supper.
After supper we met in the classroom as Kristen led a liturgy which was close to a Eucharist. There had been some pain over the Mass; I knew before going what the situation would be and am used to this in other Roman Catholic communities. The main time I felt real pain was when the Mass was by the Sea of Galilee and that seemed the very place where it should be totally inclusive. Other than that, for me it had been a delight when I celebrated for our own Patronal Festival to be able to consecrate the Reserve Sacrament to take with me to Jerusalem. However, there were two others in the group who were unable to receive the sacrament, and did not wish to go down the Reserve Sacrament route either, and for one person there was a feeling of not being a good enough Christian. I had declined to celebrate an Anglican Eucharist there as I believed this could have caused greater problems particularly for Bat Kol and might have been more divisive than healing. However, most of those who attended the liturgy received the bread and wine, as I did also .... One really good song included 'Ancient Words', I'll need to check it out again.
A bit more social time, and another day ended.