Nazareth and Tiberias

I woke-up at 2 am and again at 5. The  second time, I gave-up on trying to get back to sleep and just killed time chatting with Yoko who was also Seale by then.

At the breakfast buffet we watched in amusement as several Caucasians were stuffing their plastic bags and aluminum lunch trays with food from the buffet tables.  Apparently,  it was acceptable practice at the hotel as the staff were even the ones providing the plastic bags and the trays.

A Wedding in Cana
We left the hotel a little too late than expected and arrived at Cana to find the small church courtyard crammed with people. 

Though late,  the sisters who run the church kindly accommodated us at a small basement chapel. It was the perfect place as it was away from the crowd though the solemnity was punctuated with some noise from a wood-sawing machine.

The nun in charge pointed out a small relief of cross on the wall near the door behind the altar.  It was part of the original church which marked the  spot where Jesus turned water to wine at a wedding feast, his very first miracle.

The ceremony was brief but nevertheless meaningful especially to b the three couples. It was my first time to witness a wedding vow renewal and it did just look like a wedding ceremony.

At the appointed hour, the nun went back down to the chapel to remind us that or time was up. There are hourly reservations on its many chapels as it was really popular. I wonder if people actually did get married there with all the works considering the sheer number of people visiting the place.

We went back up to the main church and stumbled on a group of Filipinos. Mabuhay, I remarked to a smiling woman. “You know mabuhay.” “I’m Filipino, ” I answered. Hehehehe. She was originally from Pampanga but like the rest of the Filipinos with her now lives in the US.

From the church, we walked down the road to a souvenir and wine shop for a toast with sweet Cana wine and a traditional sweet pastry that looked and tasted like baklava.

Nazareth
This once tiny village is now a large town crammed with limestone houses, shops,  and other low structures. This was where Jesus spent most of his life and our destination was the Church of the Annunciation built on top of the Virgin Mary’s house.

The church which was built in 1969 had an imposing white facade that carried the seal of the Franciscans. It was dark and cool on the ground level of  the church. We lined-up to get a close-up view of Mary’s house.  For some unknown reason,  tears started to form in my eyes and I silently sang the magnificat and prayed the Hail Mary as I made my way.  It was deeply moving to see Mary’s humble home where God honored her with a visit from an angel bearing an important message to her.  As I stood there I felt I was in such a holy place.

From the church, we proceeded to St. Joseph’s Church built on top of the carpentry shop of St. Joseph. Stairs led down to the former street level of the sight where once stood the house of St. Joseph. Stone steps led further down to the basement where his workshop was. Ronan explained that limestone rocks were quarried to build houses and this would lead to open pits over which houses would be built with the pit as basement.

It was a special moment just standing there and peering at the closed basement entrance and looking at the physical presence of ancient history. Mary and Joseph were very special people and the opportunity to see and actually be there in their humble dwellings was such a memorable moment for me.

St. Peter’s Fish
Lunch was by the lake. It was a feast of classic Mediterranean appetizers that by the time the main course of a really large fried fish and cinnamon rice arrived, we could barely finish it.

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