By Lou Baldwin

Special to the CS&T

GALILEE – Christ was born in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem, but it was in Galilee that he lived, preached and performed most of his miracles.

On Monday, March 28 the pilgrims of the archdiocese of Philadelphia, led by Cardinal Rigali spent a full day in prayerfully following the footsteps of their Lord and Savior in that corner of the Holy Land he called home.

The day started with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was here Jesus commissioned his first apostles from among the humble fishermen. It was here he calmed the turbulent seas; it was on the mountains along the shore he performed his miracle of the loaves and fishes, preached the beatitudes, where he was Transfigured, and where he performed his final recorded miracle, filling the net of Peter and his companions with fish, shortly before His ascension into heaven.
There was also a visit to Capernaum where Jesus preached and performed miracles where the pilgrims visited the ruins of a white fourth century synagogue, clearly situated atop the existing black basalt foundation of the older synagogue where Christ Himself preached and healed the sick.

The day ended with a renewal of baptismal vows, by the Rivers Jordan, a body of water forever sanctified by being the baptismal site of Jesus himself.

Joe and Angelina Caro of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Morton, thought this very special because Jesus was baptized there, but being from the Philippines surrounded by a sparkling ocean, were slightly disappointed because “the water wasn’t very clear.”

On the other hand, Jim Morris, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish found the prayer service truly inspiring.

“At the end of the day, when we were all together renewing our baptismal vows I just found it to be the most moving experience for the day, he said.

Tim Flanagan, a member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Wayne, and the chairman of the Catholic Leadership Institute, had strongest memories of the previous day’s visit to the Hill of the Transfiguration.

“The church was absolutely spectacular,” he said. “It was designed around the whole concept of Moses, Elijah and Christ at the Transfiguration. Celebrating Mass there with the Cardinal was just beautiful.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.