“This will be a new kind of pilgrimage, one that focuses on the community of the Holy Land, on people becoming partners for peace with us. We must not let the Holy Land become just a museum of holy stones” Bishop Riah Abu el Assal
Pilgrims in the past were hosted by local Christians, often in monasteries, but except for a minority of pilgrims, this experience has largely been lost.
Pilgrims today often move from coach to hotel to site, rarely meeting their fellow Christians in the Holy Land. The new hosts are the hotel managers, drivers and guides. The convenience of daily flights has boosted numbers of pilgrims travelling but along the way something has changed in the essence of Christian pilgrimage. Many pilgrims are introduced to the great churches and holy places as simply items in an itinerary - not places where the work of Jesus and His church continues today. This is the area McCabe is trying to address.
Just a few minutes drive from Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity we find the al-Shurooq School for the Blind, run by Helen Shehadeh, a Palestinian Christian. Helen writes: “We get some visits from pilgrim groups but I’d love more to come so that they could see what we are trying to do here.”
The church in the Holy Land is diminishing and now numbers less than 2% of the local population. We believe that visiting dedicated local Christians such as Helen as part of a pilgrimage itinerary is a vital way of maintaining a close personal and practical link with our fellow Christians in the Holy Land.
On a McCabe pilgrimage we encourage groups to meet members of this indigenous church. Your itinerary will include not just the places where Jesus taught and healed during His earthly ministry but also the places where a new generation of followers teach and heal today.
The McCabe Educational Trust is an integral part of our work and a vehicle through which we and pilgrims travelling with us channel regular support to orphanages, schools, clinics and church communities we encounter on pilgrimage.
Our aim at McCabe is to facilitate a pilgrimage experience through which participants return home changed and challenged.
On a McCabe pilgrimage, you will experience our philosophy first hand and we hope this will lead you to a lasting involvement with the people and places of the Holy Land.