Fr. Greg Shaffer, Chaplain of the George Washington University Newman Center will be leading students on an 11-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the first of its kind for the student center for Catholics. The GWCatholics arrive the day after Pope Francis departs.
The planning for their pilgrimage began over one year ago. But the time has passed quickly, according to George Washington University Newman Center Chaplain, Fr. Greg Shaffer.
Departing on May 27, Fr. Shaffer and Olivia Bee, student coordinator, will embark on an 11-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They will narrowly miss Pope Francis, who departs the Holy Land after his “pilgrimage of prayer” on May 26.
Though the GWCatholics, as they are called, have done service projects and mission trips with the students before, according to Fr. Shaffer this will be the first Holy Land pilgrimage they will make.
Speaking about the difference between prior mission trips and a pilgrimage, Fr. Shaffer emphasized the power of the “extraordinary graces available” on a pilgrimage.
“A pilgrimage helps individuals be more open to what God is doing in their lives,” said Tekton PR Associate, Chris Weldon.
“By being in a particular place and encountering the history of events and people in that place, one can be more open to the underlying message that was communicated at that time, much like being at the Statue of Liberty can help people to enter into the experience of the waves of immigrants who came to the United States in the 19th century.”
When asked what he wanted for his student parishioners to take away from their upcoming pilgrimage, Fr. Shaffer’s answer was clear. “I want them to have a deeper conversion to Christ.”
He himself is looking forward to his Tekton Ministries Holy Land pilgrimage, “being in the places where Jesus was, especially where the acts of our salvation took place.”
The GWCatholics return from their pilgrimage on June 6.
Tekton Ministries has been providing pilgrimages to the Holy Land since 1996.
For more information, contact Chris Weldon, PR Associate and Social Media Coordinator for Tekton Ministries at (866) 905-3787.For more information on Catholic pilgrimages or other Tekton services contact Chris Weldon at Tekton Ministries, (866) 905-3787.