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The SYM Japan Pilgrimage 2018 in the Holy Land

By Mr. Chihiro Okawa, EXDB

Tokyo, Japan, 20 August 2018 -- The Holy land pilgrimage of the SYM (Salesian Youth Movement) Japan took place from August 9th to 19th. Among the 22 participants were the Youth, two Salesian Priests, FMA and Caritas Sisters, a supporter - Don Bosco Past Pupil and a tour operator participated.

This was the second oversea pilgrimage since the SYM Japan was founded in 2015 on the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco. Due to the confusing Middle East situation, initially many participants may have been concerned about visiting Israel. However, this pilgrimage has been prepared from more than 1 year ago, mainly by Fr.Shinjiro Urata, SDB and Delegate for the SYM Japan, the SYM Youth Secretariat and Ms. Fumiko Nakamura (a Catholic) who served as a tour operator this time. Various members from various cities of Japan, including students, alumni, teachers of Salesian schools, members of the church (including non-Christians) gathered as participants and had four preparatory meetings before the pilgrimage.

From Tel Aviv airport, the pilgrims traveled to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, Nazareth where Jesus grew up, Lake Galilee where Jesus missioned mainly, and Jerusalem where Jesus was suffering and resurrected, and even Caesarea, Massada, Qumran, Jaffa, etc., where are very important for understanding the history of the Holy Land and the Christianity.

It may not have been easy for the participants to digest all the information during the pilgrimage since we visited the important places one after the other. However, gradually, many participants were able to take the footprints of Jesus, Mary and the Apostles drawn in the Bible as reality and to capture their appearances more beautifully and vividly. In addition, We prayed the Angelus three times a day, also had daily masses, and opportunities for sharing and meditation, renewed the promise of Baptism at Jordan River, and prayed the stations of the Cross in Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In this way, while superimposing the history of the participants' own life and that of Jesus, they imagined the meaning of what Jesus did and said little by little, so that they could accept as a Good News to themselves.

Thanks to everyone's support and prayers including the generous support from the Salesians in the Holy Land, all of us were able to return home with a big smile and spiritual growth. Thank you very much.

We are planning to report about the pilgrimage to the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB and the members of the Salesian Family in Japan at the Salesian Family gathering next November in Tokyo.









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