photo 12 - Sunrise over Galilee

Alice in the Holy Land: Sunrise over the Galilee


From January 17 until January 27, U.S. Catholic and Catholic Theological Union are cosponsoring a Holy Land pilgrimage that is led by CTU’s eminent scripture scholar and Jerusalem expert, Franciscan Father Leslie Hoppe. U.S. Catholic’s popular scripture columnist Alice Camille is also accompanying the group and leading prayers, reflections, and discussions. She is filing blog posts from the trip. Here is a recap of one of her last days on the pilgrimage:

I know: Sunrise shots are cheesy. But when you wake at dawn and realize you are there, where the disciples first cast down their nets and threw in their lot with this new rabbi, a little schmaltz can be forgiven. They must have been crazy, of course. To walk away from financial security to hear more about a kingdom coming. Most of us wouldn’t do it. If Jesus walked past this comfortable hotel this morning and asked us to follow, it might prove to be a crisis. At least I hope for the crisis. The worst would be if we did not feel personally addressed at all, if we simply said, “No, thanks.”

It comes down to the incarnational aspects of pilgrimage that Father Leslie keeps stressing. We’re here not to prove texts, not to unearth the historical Jesus—whose bones, if the gospel is to be trusted, are not lying in wait of discovery. Archaeology is about re-creating culture, so that we can hear our sacred texts more clearly.

Another idea from our tour that keep echoing in my mind: Faith is not an intellectual composition. Faith speaks to faith. Which is why pilgrims don’t travel alone. Nearly all of our group, one way and another, were on hand to see the sunrise.

To read more of Alice’s blog posts from the Holy Land, click here.

Image: Photo by Alice Camille

About the author

Alice Camille

Alice Camille is the author of Working Toward Sainthood (Twenty-Third Publications) and other titles available at