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Canisius President John J. Hurley and his wife, Maureen, continue their pilgrimage through the Holy Land.  On day two, they visited Nazareth, the town of Mary’s home and where Jesus played as a child, learned a trade and grew to manhood.  The group also visited Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle.

The week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land is sponsored by America Media, a Jesuit ministry that includes America magazine.  It is being led by Revs. James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage; Matt Malone, S.J., editor-in-chief of America; and Brendan Lally, S.J., rector of the Jesuit community at St. Joseph’s University.

Throughout the week, “The Dome” will continue to share President Hurley’s reflections and photos from his journey (see below).

Also, click here to follow a virtual pilgrimage to the Holy Land through video links, which also will be posted daily.

Day Two – Monday, April 20

Reflections from President Hurley

Our Holy Land pilgrimage continued today with visits to Cana and Nazareth.  Fr. Jim Martin opened this morning with a reflection in the chapel at Cana, the site of the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus’s first miracle.  He told us again that neither he nor any of the other Jesuits with us are directing this pilgrimage; we are in the hands of the Holy Spirit who is directing us.

We all had an opportunity to renew our vows this morning and it was an especially poignant moment when Maureen and I renewed our vows in that chapel after 32 years of marriage.  I joked afterwards that it was like pulling into the repair shop for a little tuneup.  In the courtyard outside the chapel afterwards, one of our party went across the street to the Cana Wedding Wine Shop and got us all samples of red wine to taste and celebrate.

The Basilica of the Annunciation

The Grotto

We traveled on to Nazareth, which at the time of Jesus’s birth, was a town of about 150-200 residents but which today has grown into a diverse, busy city. The highlight of today was our visit to the Basilica of the Annunciation.  We visited the grotto underneath the Basilica where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that Mary was to be the Mother of God.  This is one of the most beautiful stories in the New Testament and it remains a challenge for all of us today.  Both Fr. Martin in his opening remarks this morning and Fr. Brendan Lally in our Mass celebrated at the Basilica this afternoon, asked us to look for places in our lives where God is inviting us to say yes.  To be present at the site where Mary delivered the yes that changed the course of the world was a powerful spiritual experience, indeed.

I remembered in my intentions today my father who died 9 years ago today.  In the course of his 88 years and raising 9 children, I know that he had many opportunities to say, as Mary did to the Angel Gabriel, “Be it done unto me according to your word.”  I gave thanks today for his life and his example.

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