Day 2 – Mount of Olives and Mount Zion
Day 1 click here; Day 3 click here

The day began with a coach drive to the Mount of Olives and a visit to the small octagonal dome of the Ascension, by tradition the place where Jesus ascended into Heaven.  Altars from the different Christian denominations surrounded the tiny Muslim shrine in which the foot of Jesus is said to have imprinted upon the stone floor (photograph left).  Outside, the group gazed heavenward but the reading from Acts 1 reminded the pilgrims, "Why are you standing here looking into the sky?  The Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way as you have seen him go to Heaven.  So from the Mount of Olives they went back to Jerusalem, a short distance away."  The Mount of Olives, upon which the group was standing, was a regular stopping place for Jesus as he journeyed from Jerusalem to Bethany on the other side of the hill.

The group then walked along the Mount of Olives to the Church of Pater Noster, on the site that Jesus would frequently teach his disciples.  The group (photograph right) read the passage from Luke 11 in which the disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us how to pray, as John taught his disciples."  It is in this place that tradition says he taught to pray the Our Father and along the surrounding cloisters of the Church, the Our Father is displayed in over 170 languages, representing the diversity of the Parish and the pilgrim group.

From the Church of the Pater Noster, the group walked to the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, where Mass was celebrated in the Church of Dominus Flevit (Jesus wept).  The altar overlooked the wonderful vista of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley (photograph left) and the Gospel reading (Luke 13) proclaimed the words of Jesus, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you refused!"

From the Church of Dominus Flevit the pilgrims walked down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and the adjacent Basilica of the Agony.  The pilgrims spent time among the olive trees in the Garden after reading Matthew's account of Jesus's agony in the garden, his betrayal by Judas and his arrest by soldiers (photograph at top).  Afterwards, the group recited a decade of the Rosary, the Agony in the Garden, led by Cleo, Gizel and Rocel (photograph right) before visiting the Basilica built on the site where Jesus prayed while his disciples fell asleep.

After lunch the Group went by coach to Mount Zion to visit first the  Dormition Abbey which commemorates the place where Mary's earthly life was complete.  In the Upper Church, the group read from Isaiah 2 the  exhortation, inscribed on the United Nations Building, that "they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."  In the lower Church, the group prayed at the shrine to Our Lady (photograph left), with a reading from the Apocalypse 21, singing the Salve Regina in the echoing underground Church.

From here, the pilgrims walked to the Cenacle, the place which tradition says was the place of the last Supper and the  gathering of the apostles following the resurrection  (photograph below right).  The group read from Acts 2, describing the coming of the Holy Spirit:  "Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them… all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability."

Finally, the pilgrims walked to St Peter in Gallicantu, built upon the site where Jesus is thought to have been imprisoned by the High Priest, having been marched by soldiers from Gethsemane.  It was here, too, that Peter denied Jesus three times, after which the cock crew.  There was a reading from Luke 22 : "The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times." And he went and wept bitterly."

 The reality of the prison horrified the pilgrims as they descended a long way down into the pit (photgraph left), hewn out of rock,  in which Jesus was lowered by a rope through the narrow hole shown in the top of the picture.  Together the pilgrims read Psalm 88, a Psalm of desolation and despair.