A School of the Word

Father Martino Signoretto
Holy Land Guide

Twenty-three young people have followed this spiritual path over two years. It is called a “School of the Word,” and is centered on the New Testament. It involved weekends of biblical study ending in a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Conceived by Father Martino Signoretto, this was an unusual pilgrimage, culminating here after two years of study. It was a voyage of discovery to biblical holy places, including those of the Old Testament. Something out of the ordinary, twenty-three young people were inspired to walk through the desert, faced with and overcoming heat and fatigue. In the places described by the prophets and praised in song by the psalmists, Father Martino guided the participants in something that was far more than a journey.

“The desert is an essential experience, in which participants learned a kind of tribal language, as well as common knowledge and cooperation. We traveled in two coaches and a car, and we had to improvise in every way. We became a little tribe of disciples, a small school, listening to the Word of God, reading the Bible every day in every place, praying with the Scriptures. We learned a language of prayer: praying in traveling, applying readings from the New Testament to Old Testament places. We prayed at the Sea of Galilee, and Galilee as a whole, particularly Nazareth. We heard the words of Jesus against the background of the New Testament, which sequentially provided us with an adequate understanding.

“Readings from the Bible, prayer, contemplation before landscapes that biblical events have made unique, and where each step is enlightened by the words of the Church Fathers, while remaining in intimate contact with the earth.

“One can say that the Holy Land was the first cathedral, the first holy place. Here, in God’s creation, the Old Testament came to be; here God dreamed, as it were, so that this Old Testament represented for us the first milestones in a spiritual journey. We started with the desert which, through Isaiah’s song, became a garden; the desert which was home to the Israelites for forty years; the desert which was known to Abraham, father of the Chosen People; the desert about which the prophets sang; the desert which was a place of testing, and of evidence, as Deuteronomy says. A Jewish desert, from a certain point of view; a desert which prepares for us a language, a context, an atmosphere and a color, all of which provide a base from which to understand the New Testament.”

Fifteen days for the young people guided by Father Martino; two weeks in which to see what the prophets saw; to discover places which have remained unchanged, and to search for the mysteries of God, like the deer in Psalm 46, who yearn for living springs.

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