We all have wish lists.  My list has long included a pilgrimage to the biblical lands. Finally, I made the pilgrimage during the past two weeks with the Eastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The Order's mission is to assist the shrinking numbers of Christians living in Israel, Palestine, and a host of other countries that make up the biblical lands

I am not going to give you a travelogue nor could I begin to describe the all the sites I visited with my colleagues in the Order. A wise friend and scholar told me to concentrate on the actual geography, to walk up and down hills (and this is a very hilly part of the world) in the footprints of Jesus, his mother and his followers. That is what I did and I discovered that it was the most transformative experience of all

Now, you may have worries about the safety of this part of the world. Actually, not for one single moment did I feel the slightest bit of unease. And if you have the right guide (mine had studied with the illustrious biblical scholar, Fr. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor), you will read your Bible with a new appreciation of the events and places mentioned in the Old and New Testaments

You might also want to learn more about the Bible before you embark on your pilgrimage. I can help you with that. The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office sponsors the New York Catholic Bible School Program, which is a segment of our Catechist Formation Program but which is also open to any interested adult. Just visit our Catechetical Office website, www.nyfaithformation.org or just follow this link – NY Catholic Bible School – for all the details

As America's Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am especially grateful that I had this chance to visit the biblical lands. I hope that someday you will have the same opportunity