At 6:00 AM, their eyes still heavy with sleep, the pilgrims went to the Via Dolorosa to walk the Stations of the Cross. They would stop at each station to hear reflections read by His Excellency, Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo before continuing on. Walking through similar streets that Jesus would have walked through brought the stations to life and the pilgrims were able to experience the Way of the Cross in a new way.
The stations ended at the Church of the Resurrection where the pilgrims were able to see where Jesus was crucified, laid in a tomb and resurrected. Praying in the tomb of Christ was overwhelmingly powerful. The pilgrims were able to kiss the place where Jesus’ body had once lain and light candles on behalf of their intentions and those of their loved ones.
Just a few paces away, the pilgrims were taken down to the cave where St. Helen discovered the true cross. The crevice is deep beneath the Church and a marble slab was placed on the very spot where the crosses are thought to have been found. Afterward, the pilgrims were taken up to Calvary where they were able to see where Jesus had been crucified. The spot where the cross was placed is beneath an altar where those visiting can pray.
Afterward, the pilgrims visited St. Anne’s Church where tradition has it that Our Lady was born. Next was the Wailing Wall, the only remnant of the ancient Jewish Temple. The pilgrims were able to pray near the wall where Jesus and all the disciples used to come to pray during the feasts and their visits to Jerusalem. As the custom is at the wall, they wrote their intentions on small pieces of paper and stuck them in the cracks along with the thousands of other intentions placed in the cracks of the wall. Nearby is the Church of Mount Zion where the Church of the Dormition is also located. The Dormition Church is said to be where Our Lady fell asleep and was later assumed into heaven. Bishop Sarhad lead the group in praying three Hail Mary’s to ask for Our Lady’s intercession especially at the hour of our own death.
The last stop of the day was Bethany, the hometown of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary. The Church is kept by Franciscan Friars as are many of the other Catholic Churches in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land.