Well, today was the day that I guess had to come…our last day in the Holy Land. After attending Mass here at Notre Dame I went into the Old City to pick up some final gifts for friends and family and to make one last visit to some special places. It seems like we just got here and its already time to leave. This has been such an amazing experience. I can’t begin to summarize it here, so I won’t try to fit it all into this one entry. Suffice it to say that the people I’ve met and the places I’ve visited have changed my life and will continue to do so long into the future. Most of all, I think this pilgrimage has made me excited for the future. I am excited to be a priest. I am overwhelmed by God’s call and humbled to think that He would call me to follow after Him in this special way just as he called those early disciples. Many of my classmates will be ordained Deacons in the coming months and my own ordination in November will be here before I know it. This evening I made my farewell visit to the Holy Sepulcher and prayed especially that I will be a good witness to Jesus and his Gospel which I have experienced here in a way so real that you can reach out and touch it.
Now, it is time for me to get to bed. We leave here in the middle of the night to catch an early flight out tomorrow morning. About a third of the group will be returning to Chicago and a semester break. For me and the rest of the class, we are off to a few more weeks of extended travel in Europe. For myself, I will follow in the footsteps of Peter and Paul and head to Rome. We just read in the Acts of the Apostles how Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome, so I hope not to follow that closely in the footsteps of the Apostles. I also hope to return to the United States in a few weeks rather than die a martyr in Rome, but we’ll leave that up to God. It is sad to have this part of my pilgrimage over, but my heart is full. I am also looking forward to a good time with friends in Rome. I’ve been there before and will be able to relax and get in some good prayer. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my travels in the Land of the Bible. It is truly an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone who can do it. I will try to provide some updates of my continuing pilgrimage in Rome, but for now, I’m signing off from the Holy Land. Shalom and good night.