Holy Land Pilgrimage Part 7 – Petra

by | Sep 27, 2022 | FSSP, Holy Land, Pilgrimage, written by Captain | 4 comments

Here is part seven of the series of posts James is sharing about his pilgrimage to the Holy Land this summer! You can find the rest here: 

Day 11: Monday, July 18
Travel day to Jordan. After crossing the Jordan River on the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Crossing, we will drive through the Jordanian desert up the mountains of Moab to Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died (Deut. 34). In Madaba, we’ll visit St. George’s Church to see the oldest extant map of the Holy Land, a 6th century mosaic; and then we’ll visit a modern mosaic workshop to see how mosaics are made in the same tradition. After lunch, we’ll drive through the desert towards Wadi Musa (the Spring of Moses) and Petra. On the way, if there is time, we will see the fortress of Machaerus where St. John the Baptist was imprisoned. Dinner and overnight in Wadi Musa.

All packed up to leave Jerusalem… Next destination, Jordan. 

Got up early to see the sunrise over Jerusalem. Was a little sad leaving this beautiful city. 
May or may not have teared up when I was on the rooftop watching the sunrise. 

The area where Jesus places the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus uses this area in his story because the person who fell among robbers would have given up all hope of receiving help because no one would travel in this desolate countryside. That’s why it’s so horrible that the priest and the Levite that “by chance” saw the “half dead” man and did absolutely nothing in way of helping this poor man who most likely thought he was going to be saved when he saw the priest and Levite coming down the road. It made me think of the times that I may have walked on the other side and not helped my fellow brother or sister in Christ 

“Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'”
Crossing into Jordan
It was an absolute hassle with all the security that we had to go through. I mean it wasn’t horrible, but still it wasn’t fun.  

The place where Moses looked over the promised land…
Sure doesn’t look very promising if I’m completely honest. 😜
We also had Mass on top of this mountain which was cool! 

This is a church in Madaba, a city that prides itself in their mosaics.

Their famous Madaba Mosaic Map
Thought theses two pictures convey a neat perspective of the streets in the Middle East.
Not much else for the day other than a three hour bus ride to our next hotel.

Day 12: Tuesday, July 19
We will spend the day exploring Petra (Isaias 16:1), once a thriving center of trade and commerce, and the place where the Magi acquired their gold, frankincense and myrrh on their way to adore the Lord. It was the capital of Arabia Petraea, the “Arabia” where St. Paul spent three years after his conversion (Gal. 1:17-18) and began his ministry to the Gentiles. It became a holy place of martyrdom under the persecution of Diocletian at the beginning of the 4th century, hosted numerous Church councils and synods after 343, and eventu- ally converted entirely to Christianity after a miraculous rainfall sent by God in 423 to end a four-year drought, at the prayers of the holy monk Bar Sauma (Son of Fasting) and his forty compan- ions. We will have a chance to learn about the local bedouin culture here, as well as reflect on salvation history, evangelization and the spiritual desert, and the importance of daily conversion. Afterwards we’ll visit Moses’ Spring, where Moses struck the rock and water came forth (Num. 20:1-13), and Mount Hor and the Tomb of the holy Prophet Aaron (Num. 20:22-29). Dinner and last night in Wadi Musa.

This hotel is crazy. Just woke up and took this picture, 
I’ll have to share more pics after we get back tonight!

Gonna go spend the day in Petra!

A couple pics of the place we are staying. They took the ruins/layout of an old town and turned them into hotel rooms! They’re obviously not the original stones and stuff but the layout defiantly feels like an old city. Super cool! Definitely going to hit the pool when we get back.

Ready to get this show on the road!

Also… new fit for the desert. 

Time for some exploring! 

This is the original stone that the Romans put in because of its frequent travel usage due to being out of the heat of the sun.

Indiana Jones soundtrack definitely started playing in my head. 😜😂
It’s so crazy to think that people carved these temples and tombs out of a heckin’ mountain!!!! Insane what can be done with effort and determination. 

So many cool caves and carved temples!!

This was an old Greek Orthodox church that was used during the crusades. 

  Ran into some goats while hiking the surrounding areas.

So many cool sights! Made for some good exploring/hiking.


Was really looking forward to riding a camel but we just ran out of time. Still super cool seeing so many of them all saddled up and being ridden. 

Pictured left is me and this incredibly fun lady from our parish who was my hiking buddy. Pictured right is another shot of the street of hotel rooms. 

Got my swim in! Felt so good after hiking around for 3 hours in 104 degree weather. 

Such a FUN day!!! So sad this trip is almost over. 😢


  1. Bernadette O.

    I'm glad you had a trip of a lifetime, James! Take care!

  2. Karen H

    Monumental memories. Thank you for sharing your journey, even an armchair observer can't help but be moved by the words and images you've shared. Your photos bring the land to life, unlike tourist sites and brochures. I never thought I'd see sunrise over Jerusalem, either in person or virtually – and I can understand if there was not a dry eye in the place! Magnificent. And Father Gordon in cassock in the high heat – a powerful example for all to see. Thank you, James!

  3. James Gordon

    Hi Bernadette! Eternally grateful that I was able to go on this trip!  Take care yourself! 🙂  

  4. James Gordon

    hello hello Karen! I’m glad that putting a personal and informal touch to the way I documented/ presented the sites that I got to see brought to life the photos that I shared. One thing too though that I wish I could’ve shared more was the sounds that we experienced. Sounds being the waves of the sea of Galilee, the foreign and unfamiliar voices/languages throughout the country along with everything else.
    And yes, regarding Father Gordon always in his Black cassock, I made it a point NOT to complain about being hot because if I was hot I knew for a fact that Father would have been roasting!!


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