Johnstown Parish Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

January 15-22, 2019

Mass was celebrated at the Franciscan Church of the Visitation (Ein Karem). (l-r) Deacon Bruce Becker (Deacon at St. Francis of Assisi), Friar Anthony Francis, and Deacon Ronald Kolonich (Deacon at St. Peter Parish)

Mass was celebrated in the 4th Century Chapel known as the Grotto of Gethsemane (aka Cave of the Olive Press). The crypt holds more than forty 5-8th century graves.

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM Conv. and several of the parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Johnstown, PA), where he serves as pastor, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land the week of January 15-22, 2019. The visit included holy sites in Bethlehem, Capernaum, Tiberias, Cana, Jericho, the Jordan River (where all of the pilgrims renewed their Baptismal commitment), Ein Karem, Emmaus, Nazareth, Tabgha, ending in Jerusalem. There, the the pilgrims visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, walked the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), visited the Antonia Fortress, the Western Wall and the Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-9). The pilgrims returned renewed and greatly moved – walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

Marriage vows were renewed at the Crypt of Franciscan Church at Cana by: (l-r) David & Mary Frances King, George & Carol Pisula and Donna &James Mertes. Friar Anthony Francis took the opportunity to also renew his vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.


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