Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage
Traveling to the Holy Land is a pivotal moment in the life of any individual. A pilgrimage to sacred places such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem allow Christ’s life to become more real in the heart of the pilgrim. It is in this spirit that Kenrick-Glennon Seminary is sending transitional deacons in their final year of seminary formation on a pilgrimage and retreat in the Holy Land each January.
By walking in the footsteps of Jesus, scripture comes alive for the seminarian and he can never read and pray the same again. His everyday prayer and everyday preaching are more fruitful as he serves the people as a future parish priest.
The Holy Land Experience includes a five-day Canonical Retreat required for ordination to the Sacred Priesthood, guidance from experienced spiritual directors and a retreat coordinator, time for pilgrimage in the Holy Land, and two days for travel to and from Jerusalem.
What will each deacon gain during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land?
- Enriched homilies as he has been afforded a deep personal connection with the events and mysteries of Jesus’ life;
- A keener sense of Christ’s healing sacrifice at Calvary present in the Mass;
- New insights in prayer as he envisions the events of the Bible in an entirely new manner;
- A sense of the living history of the Church—universal and true;
- Greater awareness of the inter-religious traditions in the Holy Land; and
- A connection with the plight of the Christian people living in the Holy Land.
In addition to the funding sources already in existence, wide support from individuals is requested to make this experience possible each year. Friends of the seminary are invited to support the pilgrimage in a special way by sponsoring one of the deacons. Full and partial sponsorships are requested. Please prayerfully consider sponsoring one of our future priests in the Holy Land.
Pilgrimage Sponsor: $5,000 will sponsor the entire Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage for one deacon.
Galilee Sponsor: $2,000 will sponsor the seven nights on the Mount of Beatitudes, including the five-day Canonical Retreat and visits to Capernaum and Nazareth.
Jerusalem Sponsor: $1,500 will sponsor five days round Jerusalem, including visits to holy sites such as the Garden of Gethsemane, the Wailing Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Travel Sponsor: $1,000 will support a seminarian on his journey from St. Louis to Jerusalem and back.
Day sponsorship ($250) or partial sponsorships of any amount are greatly appreciated.
Convivium: Each November, guests at the Convivium Dinner Auction will be given the opportunity to donate to the Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage during the Fund-A-Need portion of the evening. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact the Development Office at 314-792-7435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expenses and Funding
The retreat and pilgrimage costs approximately $5,000 per participant. The seminary has several available sources which will accommodate some of the costs:
Endowment: A Pilgrimage Fund has been created from the existing Seminary Endowment.
Tuition: Annual tuition in the School of Theology will increase by $500 for each seminarian.
Msgr. William Lyons Fund: A bequest from a beloved alumnus established a spiritual formation retreat fund as a reserve if sufficient funds for the pilgrimage are not received each year. If the pilgrimage is fully funded each year, the Lyons Fund may also be used to support other important retreats and formation programs at the seminary. If you wish to leave a legacy like Msgr. Lyons, please consider making a planned gift to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
Reflections from the 2013 Pilgrimage
Deacon Michael Benz – St. Louis
In Mark 6, Jesus calls his disciples aside to rest, but instead they are greeted at their retreat by a crowd of people seeking Jesus’ help. He had them sit down, multiplied the five loaves and two fish, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the hungry crowd. As I meditated upon this miraculous event at the site where it happened some two thousand years ago, I realized that I need to be more like the disciples here, receiving “bread” from the Lord and setting it before others. This is what my life as a priest will be - seeking “bread” each moment of every day from God and delivering it to the people.
Deacon Raymond Buehler – St. Louis
Already I have experienced how this greater love of Christ has led to a deeper love of his people, the Church, and a greater desire to communicate this same love to those whom I am called to serve. For instance, the experience of the Holy Land has and will continue to enrich my preparation for preaching as I prayerfully enter into Scripture to listen to the Word. What a great gift, and what a great joy!
Deacon Thomas Grafsgaard – Bismarck
We began our time on retreat at the Mount of Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee. One night, I looked to the place where it all began with two simple fishermen simply doing their work in life. Like them, I wasn't looking for the priesthood, nor could have imagined the tremendous joy that comes from saying "yes" to the call. Throughout my priesthood, I will remember that night thinking to myself: "This is where it all began. And who would have thought that 2,000 years later, I too would be given that same call?”