Holy Thursday: Pilgrimage to the Cenacle – Jerusalem

Background: Although Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, the real ceremonies begin on Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper and the day of Christ’s betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Pilgrimage to the Cenacle starts at the Franciscan Monastery of St. Saviour’s and ends at the Cenacle (room of the Last Supper), on Mt. Zion. The walk winds its way through the Christan and Armenian Quarters, out the Zion Gate, and into the heart of Mt. Zion.

Impressions: This was our first “pilgrimage” (really a procession), so I was struck by the two Ottoman/Turkish guards (2-4) that led the procession. They pounded their staffs on the ground (sometimes in unison) to alert everyone that the procession was moving through, which often shook the old ground and walls of the city. I later learned from a priest that the Turks were the ones who first kept the peace between the different dominations of Christianity and their “presence” is now largely tradition. After the walk (about a few hundred people – 1), we reached the Cenacle and a short mass was held inside (6-9). Hundreds of people packed into a small room and crowding to see something made it uncomfortable, and not being Catholic or speaking Latin made it difficult to follow. After the mass finished and the people left, we had a little time to meditate and appreciate being there at that time, which made it a much better experience.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on April 27, 2011.

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