Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage
Each January, our seminarians in their final year of formation and education encounter Christ in a new way. Through the annual Holy Land Retreat and Pilgrimage, they have a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Christ. By walking in the footsteps of Jesus, Scripture comes alive for the seminarian and he can never read or pray the same again. His everyday prayer and everyday preaching are more fruitful as he serves the people as a future parish priest.
What will each deacon gain during his pilgrimage?
- Enriched homilies as he has been afforded a deep personal connection with the events and mysteries of Jesus’ life;
- A deeper understanding of the ministry of Jesus Christ and his own call to serve;
- 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.
What does the experience include?
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.
How can I help?
The retreat and pilgrimage costs approximately $5,000 per participant. In addition to the costs for the seminarians, expenses will also be incurred for the accompanying spiritual directors (one for ever four or five deacons) and the retreat coordinator. The seminary has several available sources which will accommodate some of the costs, including the endowment and tuition. Opportunities for support include:
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.
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.
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 the following sponsorship opportunities:
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. Day sponsorships or partial sponsorships of any amount are greatly appreciated.
2013- 2014 Pilgrimage Itinerary
Sunday, December 29: Depart from the U.S.
Monday, December 30: Arrive in Israel and travel to the Guest House on Mt. Beatitudes (overlooking the Sea of Galilee). Celebrate the opening Mass for the Retreat on Mt. Beatitudes.
Tuesday, December 31: Retreat continues on Mt. Beatitudes. Mass celebrated where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount.
Wednesday, January 1: Retreat continues. Mass at the site where Our Lord fed the five thousand by His Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes.
Thursday, January 2: Retreat continues. Mass at the Primacy of Peter, the place where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership in the Church.
Friday, January 3: Retreat continues. Mass at Mt. Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
Saturday, January 4: Retreat concludes. Visit Capernaum and the House of Peter. Mass in St. Peter Church.
Sunday, January 5: Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Visits to Mt. Tabor (site of the Transfiguration), Nazareth, and Cana. Mass in St. Joseph Church.
Monday, January 6: Drive through the Jordan River Valley to Jerusalem. Visits to Jericho, Qumran, the Dead Sea, and Bethany. Mass in the Church of St. Lazarus.
Tuesday, January 7: Visits to Bethlehem and Ein Karem. Mass in a Grotto of Shepherds Fields. Veneration of the Holy Grotto of the Nativity and devotionals within the Church of the Visitation and the Church of St. John the Baptist.
Wednesday, January 8: Visits to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Summit of Mt. Olives to see the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster. Walk the Palm Sunday Road and celebrate Mass in Dominus Flevit Church. Follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and complete devotionals at the sacred Tomb of Jesus.
Thursday, January 9: Visits to the Western/Wailing Wall and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. Mass at the Tomb of Jesus.
Friday, January 10: Visits to Mt. Zion, the Upper Room, and the Dormition Abbey Church. Mass in the Franciscans' Cenacle Chapel. Depart Jerusalem for the U.S.
Saturday, January 11: Arrival in the U.S. after an overnight flight.
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?”