Holy Land Pilgrimage

Mass Where Christ Was Born

January 19, 2018

One of the most beautiful experiences that I have had so far has been to visit the Church of the Nativity. The church itself is very beautiful and is a focal point for many tour groups. However the experience that touched me the most was being able to have a Mass in the little shrine of the Manger. This little altar is located in the Cave or Grotto of the Nativity underneath the Church of the Nativity. The little space that we had to celebrate Mass was a small alcove only big enough for the priest and maybe four others. While the space was small it was also very intimate; the cramped quarters made the experience a more special one.

But being packed in like collared sardines was not the wonderful part about the experience. It was in being able to participate in the Mass, in which Christ becomes really present, in the very place where Christ first really entered the world. It was a beautiful and wonderful reflection on the depth of the incarnation of God. That the God of the universe who comes to us in the Mass every day first came to us in this cramped, dark and dank cave.

It is only the first days and we have already had such a wonderfully powerful experience, I cannot wait to see what all else in in store for us as we continue on our pilgrimage.

By Kenneth Clem, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.

Photos by Declan McNicholas, Diocese of Gary, Indiana.

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