Pilgrims return to the Holy Land

Christian Media Center


25 February 2022

A common image in the Holy Places before the pandemic was that of dozens of people coming from various parts of the world to visit the Holy Land. With the closures due to the Coronavirus, the Holy Places have remained so...empty, without the presence of pilgrims. But for a few days now, the streets are slowly coming back to life and color, the pilgrims are returning and group bookings for the coming months are increasing.

President of the Holy Sepulchre Convent
"In the last few days, in the last few weeks, we have already seen an increase in the number of groups visiting the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. And also of groups booking the various Eucharistic celebrations, whether at the altar of the Empty Tomb or at Calvary, as well as within the chapels of the Franciscan community. Most come from the United States or Europe - we've seen pilgrims from Italy, France, Spain... Also some Latin Americans living in the United States. We are still waiting for the return of Africans, Asians and pilgrims from the rest of Latin America."

Some pilgrims were able to fulfill their dream of visiting the Holy Land and are here for the first time, others had already come in previous years and are bringing other people to know the places where Jesus lived, died and rose again.

Pilgrim - USA
"This is my first time here. It is wonderful for all of us to be here. This place is the basis of our faith. Jesus walked here. He died and rose again in glory. It is beautiful."

Pilgrim - USA
"It is a privilege first and foremost to walk in the footsteps of Our Lord, to know him better. To know his land, his people, to be among those who love the Lord, to bring the pilgrims who are behind me and to make them encounter what we pray, study and read in the Scriptures."

The dream of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is more possible every day. The Israeli government has decided to ease restrictions on tourist entry starting March 1.

Tourists of all ages will be able to enter Israel - vaccinated and unvaccinated. The only condition is to perform a covid test before departure and one upon arrival in Israel.

The Christian Information Center, of the Custody of the Holy Land, is where pilgrims book Masses at the Shrines and can obtain other information.

Christian Information Center Director
"Finally, after the pandemic, we are seeing an increase in bookings, which is a good sign that pilgrims are beginning to return to the Holy Land. It's not a big increase, but with respect to the trend of the last few months and the last two years, there is already a 15% increase in pilgrims booked for the month of March."

In order to better welcome pilgrims and facilitate their visit to the holy places, Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, gave some practical indications to the friars of the Custody.

Christian Information Center Director
"Father Francesco Patton renewed the request to all agencies and commissariats in the Holy Land to promote pilgrimages. A visible sign is also the reopening of the sanctuaries at full hours."

Also in Nazareth, the place where the Basilica of the Annunciation stands, pilgrims have returned and continue to increase. There are many testimonies of those who have come to know the Holy Places and have had a profound experience of God's love.

Pilgrim - Brazil
"To make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is once again to experience God. So to be in the Holy Land is to live with Jesus and to be with Jesus; it is to experience this love that surrounds us."

- Christian Media Center


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