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A dear friend recently suggested that I was chosen, in a special way, and out of a large crowd, to help Jesus carry His cross. That idea was so palpable that it continues to resonate within me. How awesome, to think that I might, like Simeone, and through my suffering, help lighten the load upon Jesus.

Perhaps that is why I was also chosen, on two occasions within the past four years, to help direct pilgrimages in the Holy Land. These experiences prepared me for what is likely my last and certainly my most significant pilgrimage. Having walked in the very footsteps of Jesus helps me better understand my sufferings and my moments of joy.

On June 6, 2019, with odds comparable to winning the Lottery, the Holy Spirit chose me once again. I was selected as one of only 14 people to remain inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; an enormous basilica reconstructed multiple times over the remains of Calvary and Christ’s tomb. Through its massive doors you enter the most holy and historic sites on our planet. This is where Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Yes, I was chosen to remain inside when those doors were closed and locked for the night.

With my heart on fire and in a state of awe, I first walked the empty halls directly to the tomb. There, I stayed and knelt inside the inner chamber. With hands and face on the stone, I prayed like never before. It was difficult to understand what was happening. I was praying to Jesus in the very room in which His body laid for 3 days and then brilliantly arose from the dead. Words will never suffice to explain this feeling. Nor would they be enough to explain the experience of kneeling on Calvary in the area where His mother Mary and His disciple John knelt, watching Him die for us. No. There are no words. And although I did this for 8 hours, I still find it hard to grasp. Suffice it to say, I will never forget this most holy night in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Now it is my turn to choose. And so, I will purposefully choose to pray for you and for your intentions while I so easily reimagine being there…in the holiest place on earth. You can share your intentions either at the bottom of this blog post or email it to me at

My original article, O Holy Night! was published by the Orange County Catholic and is available on line at

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