Pilgrims Connect with “Living Stones”

Pilgrim, Amy McClelland, found herself so captivated by her visit to the Holy Land in 2009 that when she returned, she designed and wrote a curriculum for Vacation Bible School at St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis. She has been writing and directing the summer experience ever since that time.

Last summer the children took the Franciscan Boys Home as their mission project. They learned about the Christians in the Holy Land and particularly about the Boys Home. They listened to a guest speaker, saw slides and prayed for each of the boys. Letters from each student were translated into Arabic so the boys would know that there were children around the world praying for them.

As a final project, they create a banner using their thumb prints to make grapes showing that we are all branches and Jesus is the vine. That banner was taken to Sr. Maria Grech, Director of the Franciscan Boys Home in Bethlehem this April as representatives of St. Monica Parish returned to the Holy Land.

While they were there, they also met a local parish priest who told the pilgrims about the “Living Stones” in the Holy Land. “Yes, there are many

ancient, cold stones in the landscapes and churches, but the people are the living stones which we must support and pray for,” said Father.

The group of 16 pilgrims was then invited to a reception in the adjoining hall so that they could meet with the priest and members of the family who once attended St. Monica Parish a few years ago.

These personal connections are often one of the highlights of a pilgrimage. Catholic Christians meet with other Catholic Christians who actually live in the land of Christ. They learn to understand and respect each other in a new way so that when the pilgrims return home, they can relate their personal experiences to others in a very meaningful way. These are the pilgrims who make up the backbone of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. They are the ones who spread the word about our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

If you would like information about how to be more active in your region, please call the office, Toll-free, at (855) 500-3345 (FFHL).