On Ash Wednesday, February 22, Br. Juan and a group of about two dozen others, with Fr. Zachary of the Mother of God, S.O.L.T., as the retreat master, made a pilgrimage retreat to the Holy Land. This twelve-day pilgrimage took Brother to all the major sites of Jesus’ birth, hidden life, public ministry, passion, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. Br. Juan was able to assist daily at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at all these holy sites. Beginning in Nazareth and ending in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the group chronologically followed the life of Jesus. Since this was a pilgrimage retreat, each day Fr. Zachary gave both a retreat talk and, later, a reflection at one of the day’s visited holy sites.
The pilgrimage began in Galilee as our good Brother visited Cana and Nazareth. He later climbed Mount Tabor and visited Mount Carmel, the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and St. Peter Church of the Primacy (where Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and Peter was made the first Pope). The town of Caesarea Philippi was another destination. One day Br. Juan was able to ride in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Before leaving Galilee, he and the group visited the site of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes and later renewed their baptismal promises in the River Jordan. It was then on to the Holy City of Jerusalem via the centuries-old pilgrim route.