Holy Land Pilgrimage

The Blood of the Sacred Heart

March 7, 2019

Our first day in Jerusalem, our group woke up very early. At 4:30 am, we were on our way to the Holy Sepulcher to celebrate Mass at Calvary. As you can read from the previous posts, there are great crowds that are typically found in the Church. Despite it being a blessing that so many people desire to encounter the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, it makes for a challenge to prayerfully enter into these most important mysteries. However, at such an early hour, we were guaranteed to have a prayerful experience at Calvary.

Speaking briefly of the layout of the Holy Sepulcher, Calvary is directly above the Chapel of Adam, the place he is believed to have been buried. The term Golgotha, “the place of the skull,” according to first-century tradition references the skull of Adam. The chapel itself is pretty bare and not too many visitors visit it, but for me, it holds crucial importance. In Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, we hear that an earthquake occurred at the death of Jesus (Mt 27:51-52). The Chapel of Adam shows the rock that was split at the crucifixion, which again is the grave of Adam. Jesus’ blood, flowing from his pierced Sacred Heart, was able to travel down the split in the rock onto Adam’s tomb, onto Adam’s skull, symbolized in the icon. Through Jesus’ blood, Adam, the symbol of all humanity, was saved.

Arriving, then, at the Holy Sepulchre at 4:30 am, a small group of four of us were able to explore. Having never been there and having done no previous research, I had no idea where anything was in the Basilica. The group of us went upstairs and found ourselves face to face with Calvary. It was a profound experience! I found myself face to face with the sacrifice of Jesus, knowing that a few feet behind me is the Holy Sepulchre, which is the final scene of this act. Being weeks away from Diaconate Ordination, I felt the urge to pray for the grace to give of myself as Jesus gave of himself on the cross – fully, lovingly, and without exception. I pray that the blood flowing from the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the cross, which brought salvation to Adam, would cleanse me and bring me salvation.


Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. Without such support, this opportunity to prayerfully experience the Holy Land would not have been possible.

Michael Groth
Diocese of Joliet

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