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The Holy Land: An Armchair Pilgrimage

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  • Posted December 21, 2013

    This book is the next best thing to being in the Holy Land. It'

    This book is the next best thing to being in the Holy Land. It's not a usual guidebook, written by an expert – every guidebook offers an expert’s view. This book is an engaging journey through magnificent areas of Biblical history.

    Fr. Mitch is clearly an expert in leading pilgrimages. In the book he shares the same Scripture readings and prayers as he does with his pilgrims. He groups the chapters not chronologically to follow Biblical history, but according to geography and how actual pilgrims travel through the Holy Land.

    Reading the book, I felt like I was on a pilgrimage. The art and pictures are phenomenal. The Scripture readings and prayers provide an opportunity to pause and reflect on the significance of the locales in the book. The art and scripture indexes in the back of the book are a nice editorial feature.

    I recommend this book to anyone interested in the sights and significance of Christianity. Faithful Christians will also have an opportunity to grow more deeply in their faith.

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  • Posted December 17, 2013

    Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., does a wonderful job of taking readers

    Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., does a wonderful job of taking readers on a virtual pilgrimage to the Holy Land, literally geographically step by step. In his characteristic manner, he very simply explains the significance of each site to Christianity and Catholicism, offering prayers, scripture readings and meditations for each location. I learned quite a lot about the Holy Land and the amazing relics that have been preserved there that I wasn't aware of. This is a great book for anyone who can't make it to the Holy Land, who's planning to go or who's already been as a refresher of their trip.

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  • Posted November 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A treasure In the 1980s and ¿90s, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., a stude

    A treasure
    In the 1980s and ‘90s, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., a student of the Holy Land, joined three pilgrimages to the ancient sites. Within a few years, the Jesuit was adding information to the guide’s presentation and eventually was permitted to lead his own groups. By 2012 he had led 58 trips to Israel, 10 to both Jordan and Egypt, 5 to both Greece and Turkey, and 2 to Lebanon. With this armchair pilgrimage, Pacwa hopes that readers, both those who have traveled to the Holy Land and those who have not, find an opportunity “to pray more and come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

    The Holy Land, an Armchair Pilgrimage contains biblical texts associated with key shrines and sites, photos and art, mediations, and prayers. By structuring the book geographically Pacwa provides readers with an experience similar to that of an actual pilgrimage. Some of the featured sites, such as The Church of the Nativity, lend especially to that outcome. This chapter opens with a photo of the church and brief historical background. The next pages take us inside the church with photos and a description of the visitor’s experience from “adult visitors must bend down to avoid bumping their heads on the wide stone lintel” to “public expression of prayer is not permitted as you wait in the long, disorganized line.” The same feel of “being there” continues through The Cave of the Nativity. This page features photos of pilgrims descending into the cave and the silver star marking the spot where Christ was born. The chapter closes with history, scripture, and photos related to the chapels of St. Joseph and The Holy Innocents and St. Jerome.

    In addition to the rich text and full color artwork, Pacwa provides lists of illustrations, scripture citations, and a subject matter index. Through and through, The Holy Land, An Armchair Pilgrimage is a treasure.

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