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Touching the tomb

Leonor and Ed Rivera/Catholic Courier    |    04.16.2019


We crawled into the dimly lit tomb where they laid Jesus’ body over 2,000 years ago. We knelt, placed both our hands together on the tomb, closed our eyes and prayed silently for our marriage, our family and our friends. The air was electric. We could feel our hearts beating fast. We never wanted to forget this powerful, Spirit-filled moment.

Ed: It was surreal. I felt calm. It was like being as light as a feather, almost weightlessly floating. My problems at work, the taxes, my “to do” list, all felt far away and not the usual heavy burden.

Leo: In spite of being very claustrophobic, my strongest feeling was peaceful. My body relaxed as I heard in my mind the softest whisper repeating, “Do not be afraid. Trust me. I am here.”

How did we get here? In March 2019, we traveled to the Holy Land on a two-week Franciscan Pilgrimage. Our lifelong dream was to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus. On some of our date nights over the last 33 years, we had talked about someday going to the Holy Land. Touching the tomb was our dream come true.

It is our hope and prayer that you will be inspired to make pilgrimages to places near or far that help you feel closer to Christ. On the pilgrimage, we were told that the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C. (https://myfranciscan.org), has guided tours of their Mount Calvary shrine, Holy Sepulchre shrine, the catacombs, Purgatory Chapel, the Visitation and Nativity grottoes. We are hoping to go in the near future to relive our Holy Land memories. Maybe we will see you there.

For us, a pilgrimage to a special place of faith keeps us close to each other and to God.

Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera are members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, visit www.wwme.org.

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