From November 7-17, 2022, six friars of the Provincial Delegation in Uzbekistan, belonging to the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow), participated in the annual retreat in the Holy Land.
The retreat was led by Friar Piotr PARADOWSKI from the friary in Zielona Góra, Poland.
On November 7, the friars flew from Tashkent, Uzbekistan to Tel Aviv, Israel. After Mass on Mount Carmel, they went to the retreat center of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Tabgha. The center is situated in a beautiful location on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, between the Friars Minor Friary of the Primacy of Peter and the Convent of the Benedictine Sisters of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves.
The friars spent a whole week at the center. Every day they took the opportunity to pray in different places connected with the life of Jesus, such as, the Mount of Beatitudes, Magdala, Capernaum, the Church of the Primacy of Peter, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves, Nazareth, Cana and Tiberias.
On Monday, November 14, the friars celebrated Mass on Mount Tabor. Then they visited the spot where Jesus was baptized on the Jordan River, followed by the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Gerasimos at Deir Hajla on the Jordan. Next, they visited the Dead Sea and then went on to Jerusalem.
The following day, after Mass they visited the Elizabethan Sisters (an institute founded in Poland). They next went to Bethlehem where they visited the Gloria in excelsis Shrine, the Basilica of the Nativity of Jesus and the Grotto of Mary (the so-called Milk Grotto) in Bethlehem.
On Wednesday, November 16 they celebrated Mass in the chapel at the Last Supper in Jerusalem. Next, they went to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. They also visited the Mount of the Ascension, the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the Church of the Our Father and the Wailing Wall.
On the morning of November 17, they returned to Uzbekistan.
The ten-day retreat was filled with spiritual experiences and prayer. It was a wonderful encounter with places connected with the life and work of our Savior. It was all the more special because most of the friars were making their first pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The Delegation in Uzbekistan is very grateful to the German association “Kirche in Not” for responding positively to the request to fund the retreat.
Friar Stanisław ROCHOWIAK