(JM / Madrid) – From February 8 to 22, a training session was held in the Holy Land for commissioners and guides who lead Spanish-speaking pilgrimages. This session was organized by the liaison office, as well as the commissions of the Custody of the Holy Land, led by Fr. José Manuel Sánchez Caro, who is the former director of the Biblical and Archaeological Institute of Jerusalem, known as the Casa de Santiago. Thirty people attended the session, which was focused on bringing giving participants up-to-date information and on deepening their knowledge, which will later be shared with pilgrims. It took place in several stages all over the Holy Land.
Participants included pilgrimage guides, commissioners and deputy commissioners from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Spain, but also Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Portugal, as well as Venice, Italy. Besides historical and archaeological data, they were able to discover the current situation for themselves, as it is experienced in the region through the witnesses of the friars of the Custody. Particular interest was given to the discussion led by the pastor of Bethlehem, Br. Nerwan Al-Banna, who clearly described the situation of Christians in this city. Participants were then able to visit the Basilica of the Nativity and see the progress that has been made in the restoration of the upper mosaics on the church’s walls. Other important witnesses included that of Br. Ramzi on the Israel-Palestine issue; that of Br. Narcys Klimas on the history of the Custody; that of Br. Carlos Molina, on the Casa Nova; and that of Br. Enrique Bermejo, on the liturgy in the Holy Land. In addition, Br. Agustin Pelayo and Br. Sergio Olmedo shared their extensive knowledge of the different regions of the Holy Land with the group.
At the end of the session, all participants expressed their gratitude to the friars who were in charge of the training, stressing the joy that they always experience when returning to the Holy Land.
Training guides and spiritual pilgrimage leaders is one of the important missions carried out by the Custody of the Holy Land. This is what makes these quality pilgrimages and what sets them apart from more basic tours or spiritual journeys. Visiting the Holy Land is a way of supporting the local Church and continually discovering new things.
The pilgrims’ safety and tranquility in the Holy Land is always guaranteed, and we encourage you to come experience the privileged encounter with the Lord in His own Land for yourself.» custodia.org