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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Twenty Days in the Holy Land
Priests and religious experience “spiritual renewal” during course in Jerusalem, encourage others to attend

Jerusalem priests at Jordan River
On the banks of the Jordan River.

Jerusalem, Israel, April 4, 2011 – Priests from around the world have experienced the “spiritual renewal” of attending a special course for 20 days in the Holy Land, and are now encouraging those who can to attend the event this summer or in the future.

The course is sponsored by Sacerdos and is designed for priests and religious.  Those who attend stay at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, overseen by the Legion of Christ.

“It was like a mini-sabbatical,” said Fr. Steven Liscinsky, LC.  He was among the 30 diocesan and religious priests and 5 Legionaries who attended during January and February of this year.  “We followed the life of Christ - starting with Bethlehem, then going to Galilee for four days, visiting Jericho and the Jordan River, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.”

The group was blessed to relive the “Holy Triduum” of Christ Mass on Thursday recalling the Last Supper in the Cenacolino, followed by a Eucharistic Hour at night in Gethsemane where they renewed their priestly promises.  On Friday, the group celebrated Mass on the site of Calvary, and then celebrated Mass at the site of the burial tomb of Jesus on Saturday.  On Sunday the group participated
in Gethsemane
During the Eucharistic Hour in Gethsemane, the priests lie prostrate around the stone as the litany of saints is sung.
in the liturgies of the local parishes in Jerusalem.

Throughout the following week, the group visited various sites, including Emmaus, the Dead Sea and Masada, Ain Karen, the Church of the Pater Noster and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension.  They concluded their visit at the Basilica of the Dormition of Mary.

The daily schedule consisted of sightseeing trips during the mornings and saying Mass together at a different shrine each day.  Every evening there was also an hour of adoration and evening prayer (vespers) together with the group.  They also heard presentations from experts on topics such as Biblical geography, Jewish theology, ecumenism, apologetics, homiletics and other pastoral topics, as well as the situation of the Christians in the Holy Land. 

The group received three days of Ignatian spiritual exercises directed in three different languages. 

“Most of the priests commented how they really liked the design of the course – following the life of Christ,” said Fr. Steven.  “They also appreciated that there was plenty of time to visit the holy sites and pray, not just see them. There was also time to fraternize with other priests from different cultural backgrounds, which was a very enriching experience for all.”

in Bethlehem
In the Bethlehem grotto where they celebrated Mass.
Paul Pazhangattu from India, who also attended the course said of his experience, “I thank the Lord for making this trip possible and all the experiences I had here. I was able to spend a lot of time in the holy places in and around Jerusalem. The Renewal Course also helped me to renew my priestly commitment.”

Another priest from the state of Delaware, Fr. Anthony Giamello, said, “My experience of the Renewal Course was amazing!   To visit and to pray at the holy sites where Jesus lived, where he ministered for three years, suffered his passion, died and rose from the dead was truly an awe-inspiring experience.  The Scriptures that are so much a part of our lives as priests, what we pray and preach, comes alive in the Holy Land.  I would hope that all priests would have the opportunity to attend the Renewal Course and to renew their priesthood.”

The Jerusalem course takes place twice a year, in winter in January and February, and in summer during July.  For more information, visit the Sacerdos website.  The cost to attend is about $2,000, including meals and transportation.  Sponsorships may be available.  For more information, contact Fr. Alex Yeung, LC at or Father Julian Stanfield, LC, at



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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