Scrutinized Notre Dame Student Returns From Holy Land, Begins Blog

Christina Serena, a Notre Dame student studying abroad in Italy who recently returned from a Tekton Ministries’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land where she was questioned and scrutinized about notes in her Bible among other things. She begins a blog recounting her entire experience.

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Fr. Rick Nagel pictured with pilgrim, Christina Serena

She said she was 'blessed to have the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,' even after spending 30 minutes being questioned by the Israeli security in Rome.

Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) April 09, 2014

She says she was “blessed to have the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” even after spending 30 minutes being questioned by the Israeli security in Rome that “involved checking my emails, asking questions about my host family, my past jobs, the writing in my bible, a full search… of the items in my luggage, and a wipe down of my stuff as they looked for explosive residue.”

Her experience going through airport security was not enough to dampen her spirits even before arriving in the Holy Land where she was making a pilgrimage with Tekton Ministries and Fr. Rick Nagel’s St. John’s Catholic Church from Indianapolis.

Fr. Nagel made news when he generously left his church doors wide open throughout Super Bowl week in Indianapolis two years ago.

Christina said in a recent email to Tekton director, Richard Sontag, “I can't believe how much of a difference the pilgrimage made in listening to the Mass readings all week.” She was a woman not easily impressed after her airport experience. Yet she said in her email, “I filled a medium sized notebook with thoughts from the pilgrimage.”

For her, the most profound parts of the pilgrimage “were the Mount of Beatitudes, the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the group itself.”

Her blog is a well-written account of what transpired, right down to her taxi driver’s license plate which read, “Jack is the man.” He was an Armenian Christian named Jack.

Christians in the Holy Land face legitimate discrimination as they are a dwindling minority that continues to be forced to leave the Holy Land at a rate of 350 families per year, according to Sontag whose company also handles public relations for the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL), a non-profit established to help preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

To read more from Ms. Serena’s blog, visit http://cserena14.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/holy-land-pilgrimage/.

To learn more about making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or other Catholic pilgrimage destinations, visit Tekton at http://www.tektonministries.org.