Old City from the Mount of the Olives

Twelve days, and counting…down. Soon I’ll be on my way to the Holy Land with the Catholic Press Association as part of Pope Francis’ visit there. Until now, the trip to Israel was somewhat out of reach, especially since we’re still waiting on our official itinerary. It’s like the box of supplies and equipment sitting in the corner of my office is meant for next year’s family vacation.

But now. Now, it begins. Now I’ve received a tentative itinerary. Now editors and radio hosts are contacting me to firm up assignments, segments, and blog posts. Now I have to make outlines and form questions, memorize information and categorize details. Now I actually have to start going through the packet of stuff the Israel Ministry of Tourism sent me! Now I have to peruse all those Old Testament stories I loved as a kid. It’s time to pull the luggage up from the basement and start filling it.

When I read the list of places we’ll be visiting, I had to catch my breath. Yes, my belly did a few flops. When IMOT said we’d be on the go, they weren’t kidding! I’ll be staying in a different place each night, and stopping at a number of sites each day. Is there a patron saint of stamina?

Forget the cutsie sandals; I’m wearing my double-support New Balance tennies. We’ve been warned that it will be HOT, and so in goes my water bottle, and in goes the capris and T-shirts. The buzzwords are comfort and practicality, and there’s no room for fashion this trip.

With one exception.

We’ll be attending a press event with Pope Francis, and will be required to adhere to the wear-black-when-before-the-Pope dress code. That’s when my belly flopped the most, by the way. More on that (the press event, not my belly) in the coming days!

Here is a smattering of the places we’ll be visiting: Caesarea, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Bethlehem, Mt. of Olives, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Seplcher, and Mt. Zion. There’s more, believe me, there’s more. But, I don’t want to give everything away just yet.

You can be sure there are a million things running through my mind right now. But, what I’m really interested in is what’s running through your mind. What kinds of things would you like me to blog about while I’m in the Holy Land? What kinds of things would you like me to watch out for? This trip is not for my benefit; it’s for yours. The idea is for me to report on what I see and hear there. What do you want me to see and hear for you?


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