Retreating in the Holy Land

Christopher Budd

A retreat in the Holy Land is active discipleship, underpinned by contemplative prayer and silence, writes Christopher Budd,  Emeritus Bishop of Plymouth

I had done this before. In the summer of 2014, I was a retreatant at the Pilger Haus (property of the Archdiocese of Cologne) in Galilee, on a retreat led by two English priests, Fr Gerard Bradley (Spiritual Director at St John's, Wonersh) and Fr Gerard Hatton (Diocese of Arundel and Brighton). It was an enriching experience, especially visiting the sites as part of the retreat. It was spiritually special to be on Mount Tabor for 6 August!

The success of this 2014 retreat encouraged Della Shenton of 5th Gospel Retreats1 to organise another retreat nearer Jerusalem, and so on 29 January 2017 I went with eleven other retreatants to a place about 12 miles from Jerusalem Old City, called Kyriat Yearim, about which you can read in 1 Sam. 7. The Ark of the Covenant rested there for not a few years when it was returned to the Israelites by the Philistines. As often happens, the site has acquired a Christian dedication; the old crusader church on site is dedicated to Our Lady, Ark of the Covenant (Apoc. 11,19 ff).

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