CJ Principal Travels to the Holy Land

While many administrators take time off during the summer months, CJ principal John Marshall ‘86 chose to deepen his faith with an inspirational pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“The Archbishop of Cincinnati allocated professional development funds from the recent campaign for principals to attend pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” Marshall explained. “Staff from the Archdiocese office of Evangelization and Discipleship invited me to attend. I said yes with a, ‘concerned blessing from my wife and children’ and the support of CJ president Dan Meixner ‘84, with the goal of deepening my own faith life as well as educating myself on the Judeo Christian foundation of our Catholic faith.”

The eleven day journey took Marshall and 50 others from the Cincinnati and Dayton area to dozens of locations across the Holy Land.

“We arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel and journeyed to Jerusalem,” Marshall said. “Over the next several days we visited, celebrated Mass, and prayed together as a group. 

“We experienced the Gospel stories from Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem, His ministry in Nazareth and Cana, and His death at Calvary,” Marshall continued. “We walked the journey of Mary, when pregnant with Jesus, meeting Elizabeth, when pregnant with John the Baptist. We toured the Church of the Visitation, Jordan River (Baptism of Jesus) and a Monastery on the mountain where Jesus was tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days in the desert. We visited Jacob’s Well, where Jesus met the, ‘woman at the well’ and even drank a cup of water from it, and took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

“I prayed at the Western Wall, holy place for our Jewish friends, and reflected in the Upper Room and the Garden and Cave of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before his arrest. I walked The Way of the Cross and Celebrated Mass at the Tomb of Jesus.”

When reflecting on the most powerful experiences during the pilgrimage, Marshall shared, “Before Jesus was turned over to Pilate he was sent to Caiaphas’ house where He was questioned and was alone, while His friends fled and Peter, outside in the courtyard, denied Jesus three times. I was there and my heart broke, as I imagined the loneliness Jesus must have felt.

“I believe the Primacy of Peter, the first Pope, was significant, and seeing how now Pope Francis is the continuation of this apostolic faith is incredibly awesome to be part of. I also have renewed appreciation of the need for people to seek out and accept experiences that can refresh their spirit and enhance their faith. My family and I hesitated a bit about my going on this trip, but it has been a life changing experience for which I am very grateful. Everyone has the responsibility to cultivate their own spiritual journey; no one can do it for you.” 

Marshall added, “I look forward to the next part of the pilgrimage by participating in a series of Bible study and group discussions with a cohort of principals as we deepen our understanding of this wonderful Catholic Church tradition.”

Posted August 2, 2018