by Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox
The 34 pilgrims returned home filled with immense joy, peace, contentment and inspiration. They expressed how difficult they think it will be to share what they experienced as they traveled through the Holy Land. So now, we both have a few extra days in Jerusalem to renew relationships, to film the mysteries of the Rosary, to record brief reflections at some Holy sites and to meet with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
We are staying at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem; the Vatican’s hotel. It is located across the street from the ancient city of Jerusalem and offers a warm Middle-Eastern Christian hospitality. Built in limestone, like all buildings in Jerusalem, there is a large statue of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus on the top of the building along with the Vatican flag. Upon entering the lobby, a large painting of Pope Benedict XVI can be seen on the wall as well as a large painting of the image of Divine Mercy. The 2nd floor has a very simple and yet beautiful large chapel called “Queen of Peace”. To the left of the sanctuary is an olive carved crucifix that is around 10 feet high. The main sanctuary has a stone altar and a large statue of Mary holding infant Jesus, his arms extended open as if He is welcoming you to His home. To the right is the Tabernacle, donated by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the Holy Land in May 2009. The employees are Palestinian Christian and most speak at least 3-5 languages. This place is really a great place for pilgrims! Our pilgrim groups really enjoy staying in this Pilgrim hotel. It is managed by the Legionaries of Christ. We both consider it to be our home in Jerusalem.