Following breakfast, we drove to Lion’s Gate in the Old City where our tour guide, Bader Abu-George Rabadi, gave us a brief account of the city walls construction and design.

We then walked to the Church of St Anne, at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, the site believed by the Crusaders to be the childhood home of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

The grounds which contain the Church of St Anne and the adjacent two pools or Bethesda are under French jurisdiction. 

On arrival we were met by Fr David Williams a member of the Missionarirs of Africa, more commonly known as the ‘White Fathers’. Fr David, who hails from Dublin, Ireland gave us a tour of the grounds and explained the history and religious significance of the site. It is believed to be the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the site where Jesus performed the miracle of curing the disabled man.

After visiting the Church of St Anne, built on the home of the Virgin Mary, and viewing the pools of Bethesda, at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, we walked up the hill of the Via Dolorosa to the Church of Condemnation and Flagellation – the 2nd Station of the Cross

Holy Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly; Fr Francis Mitchell Archdiocese of Tuam and Fr Ferghal Mc Grady, Diocese of Down and Connor.

Our pilgrimage director Dr Frank Hurl arranged for a cross to be presented to our pilgrim group to enable us re-enact the Passion of Christ Jesus.

We commenced the Stations of the Cross:

Station 1 ✝️ Jesus is condemned to death

Station 2 ✝️ Jesus carries his Cross

Station 3 ✝️ Jesus falls the first time

Station 4 ✝️ Jesus meets his mother

Station 5 ✝️ Simon of Cyrene helps to carry his cross

Station 6 ✝️ Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Station 7 ✝️ Jesus falls the second time

Station 8 ✝️ Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Station 9 ✝️ Jesus falls a third time

Station 10 ✝️ Jesus clothes are taken away

Station 11 ✝️ Jesus is nailed to the cross

Station 12 ✝️ Jesus dies on the cross

Station 13 ✝️ The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross

Station 14 ✝️ Jesus is laid in the tomb

Having completed the 14 Stations of the Cross, we were within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Time was allocated in our programme timetable to enable the Knights, Dames and for our friends to explore the various chapels and holy sites.

We descended the steps to the St Helena Chapel where the True Cross was found.