Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Hello Everyone,

First off, thank you for praying and for supporting me and my classmates on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

This pilgrimage was a true blessing for me and my classmates. Including me, there were twenty of us who flew from Detroit to Tel Aviv on May 3rd. We were able to go to all the sites that Jesus and his apostles went to. We were also able to go to Rome for our final week. Know that we were praying for you in Rome and in the Holy Land.

Now, the pilgrimage to the Holy Land is really cool and eye opening because each place that my classmates went to, we were able to follow along in the Bible to see what Jesus saw, to see what the Apostles saw, and to see where the Church began. The pilgrimage began with us leaving the Tel Aviv Airport to get to Ein Karem, the hometown of John the Baptist. This is the place where Zacharia and Elizabeth raised John the Baptist, and it is the same town where Mary visited Elizabeth, and my class had the privilege to make this our home-base for two weeks.

In the first week, I went to the Old City of Jerusalem and spent a few days with our tour guide who led me to all the special sites of the City. For example, on day one, I went to the Holy Sepulchre and this Church houses Golgotha, the place of Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion, and the Church also houses Christ’s Tomb. Then on another day, I went to the temple mount. Then I went to the desert and then to the Jordan River!

Suddenly, the first week is over and I saw a lot, but it did not stop there. The second week was filled with more graces. I spent this week in the northern region of Israel which is Galilee. This is where Jesus spent most of his time and ministry at. The big events that took place here are the Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, and Peter’s confession. After this, I went back to Jerusalem for the final week to hyper focus on certain churches in the Old City like St. Peter’s in Gallicantu.

After three beautiful weeks in the Holy Land, my final week of the pilgrimage was spent in Rome, the Eternal City. I stayed at the North American College which is the Seminary that Fr. Ron went for Theology. Now Rome is an amazing city. There is a lot to see and a lot of churches to pray in. The churches in Rome are beautiful, and you can spend days in each church. But in the little time I had in Rome, I was able to go to the four major Basilicas, the catacombs of priscilla, Assisi, and I went to a Wednesday Papal Audience.

Now on my pilgrimage, I learned many things about the Church, and if I may ask you this week, please pray for the Pope who has the massive task of leading the Catholic Church and pray for the Christians in the Holy Land who are truly a witness of the faith. The Christians in the Holy Land have it hard. They are a minority among the many people who are Jewish and Muslim.

God Bless,
Daniel Whalen, AOD Seminarian

Journey Towards Ordination – April 2023 Update

Greetings Our Lady of Refuge,

Many of you have been asking me how things are going at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. To that end, I plan to send periodic updates of my 8-year journey towards ordination; 4-years of undergraduate studies and 4-years of graduate studies.

But I will start in the middle, as this year and summer is an important time for me in my formation and spiritual growth. This year ends with final exams in the 4th week of April. Afterwards, 20-fellow seminarians and I will embark on 2-months of discernment where we will ask for God’s guidance and wisdom to understand our path.

We will start with a retreat to the Holy Land and to Rome in May. The first 3-weeks will be spent walking the path of Jesus where we will visit the towns and holy sites which mark Our Savior’s journey. The routes that we will take will be the same routes that pilgrims took in the 11 th century. Then in the 4 th week, we will travel to Rome where we will visit the Major Basilicas that tell the stories of the early Christian Martyrs.

Upon our return home, we will have a few days off, and then we will travel to South Dakota for a 30 day Ignatian silent retreat. It is during these 30 days where I will reflect on my calling to elect what God has elected me to do. For many seminarians, this summer is a crucial period of discernment. By the end of this summer, the seminary would like me and my classmates to have complete knowledge and surety of my vocation calling to be a faithful and committed diocesan priest, and in my case, for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Know that you are in my prayers, I thank you for yours.

God Bless,
Dan Whalen

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