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Picture: A boat on the Sea of Galilee near where much of Jesus' public ministry took place.

The Sea of Galilee

The largest body of water in Israel is Lake Tiberias, also called the Lake of Gennesaret, otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee. The lake is 14 miles long and 7 miles wide and 150 feet deep at its deepest point. Surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee is a natural amphitheater, which is why Jesus would stay in a boat on the water and preach to the crowds gathered on the shore (Luke 5:1-3).

Picture: A large replica of a first century boat called the "Jesus Boat" by the locals because it is modeled after the type of boat the disciples used as fishermen before Jesus called them to follow Him (Luke 5:4-11). 

Picture: We sailed on the Sea of Galilee in a "Jesus Boat." We started near Capernaum. Here we are looking across the water towards Caesarea Philippi in today's Golan Heights. To sit in the silence on the water and ponder some of the Lord's mightiest miracles around the lake is overwhelming: such as the calming of the storm and walking on water.

Mensa Christi

After our boat ride, we celebrate Mass together in the area Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish to miraculously feed at least 5,000 people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. 

Picture: Msgr. Lofton celebrating Mass on the shore of Galilee near Mensa Christi church.

Picture: Not exactly the same meal Jesus and His disciples gave to the crowd of 5,000, but the fish and bread we ate at a local restaurant were a delicious insight into the 1st century miracle (Mark 6:34-44).

The same area of the feeding of 5,000 is identified as the place the Resurrected Jesus appeared to His disciples as they reverted back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee after Jesus' Crucifixion (John 21:1-19). This spot is where Peter and some disciples caught 153 fish, where Peter recognized the Lord and ran to shore, where Jesus started a charcoal fire for the disciples, and where Jesus gave Peter his primacy as leader of the budding church. This area is called Mensa Christi and a church has been built over the rock on which Jesus built the charcoal fire.


"Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"

Picture: The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

Picture: The Mensa Christi rock with evidence of a charcoal fire inside the church.

Picture: The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. 


We leave the shore and head to the ruins of what is left of ancient Capernaum, where we find St. Peter's house and the synagogue Jesus would have attended and taught at most of the time.

Picture: Ruins of Capernaum.

Picture: The Synagogue in Capernaum. This was the first synagogue built outside of Jerusalem. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would have traveled here from Nazareth to hear the Word of God on the Sabbath. The bottom foundation is the synagogue from Jesus' time. The foundation on top and the current structure are from the 4th century.

Picture: What remains of the synagogue in Capernaum. The original synagogue is where Jesus was preaching when four men dropped their paralyzed friend through the roof so Jesus could heal him (Mark 2:1-12).

Picture: St. Peter's house in Capernaum.

Picture: This statue of St. Peter is Capernaum was made by the same artist who made the Millenial Christ mosaic behind the altar at our parish of St. Theresa!

Tomorrow, Nazareth and Cana. Then we leave Israel and follow St. Paul on his final missionary journey: from Israel to Rome to be executed.

We are praying for you! May God bless you always and in all ways. St. Peter, pray for us. 






Holy Land Pilgrimage

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Follow Msgr. Lofton's group pilgrimage to the Holy Land: October 19th - November 4th.


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