In mid-May, 2022, Fr. Dinh Votran, A.A led a two-week pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Oberammergau, Germany to see the Passion Play. Below is a reflection on his trip.
I have had the privilege to lead several pilgrimages to some important sites of the Catholic Faith. In May, with 30 other pilgrims, I organized a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a way of preparation for attending the Passion Play which is held every 10 years in Oberammergau. The Passion Play of Oberammergau in 2022 allows many faithful around the world to encounter God in a form of art.
We arrived in Tel Aviv and immediately moved to Galilee where we visited most of the holy sites: Caesarea, Mount Carmel Tiberias, Nazareth, Cana, Tabaha, Mount Beatitude, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, etc… On the way to Jerusalem, we visited Bethlehem, the Jordan River, Jericho, Mount Temptation, the Dead Sea, and Qumran. Then we visited all of the churches in Jerusalem and of course the Station of the Cross on Via Dolorosa. We were also blessed to visit the Assumptionists community at Saint Peter in Gallicantu for dinner one night.
Visiting and praying at these holy sites, the pilgrims somehow experience the presence of God and His transforming power. At these sites, it seems easy to pray. We can be very vulnerable as we feel so close to the Source of Holiness. In the middle of many small churches, the essence of a pilgrimage seems clearer. It is a journey within our existence to experience how much we are forgiven and loved.
We left the Holy Land with joy and recognized that in all circumstances of life, we are never alone, even if it is a journey within our hearts. We know more about our identity as Christians. Christian means pilgrim. A pilgrimage helps us to understand that the goal of life is a journey toward God until it ends in God alone.
The Passion Play completes the joy we had on the Holy Land pilgrimage. The thirty of us were among four thousand people from all over, who participated in the Passion Play under the big tent and participated in their way of thinking. It is performed in German, but most of the attendants understood the Play in their languages because the message of the Play uses the language of God’s forgiveness and love for the human family and the entire universe.
The Holy Land and Oberammergau pilgrimage cultivated our faith in God. It helped the pilgrims to kneel to pray more often, to take a risk of an encounter with the Holiness, to change our lives according to God’s will for each of us, and most importantly to use our little time on earth to become familiar with Heaven. All of this is on the way to being truly who we are created for.
By Fr. Định G. VÕTRAN, A.A.