“Being back I have gone to daily Mass everyday and found a new love for the mass and Jesus and how I can’t live without him in my life.”

~ Joseph

“Going to the Holy Land has changed my Faith. I have seen the empty tomb. I have walked in the footsteps of Christ. My Faith is real. Every time I am at mass hearing the readings and participating in the Eucharist, I can see the places where it all happened and it gives me a deeper sense of finality.”

~ Carl

“After about a week of being back in our comfortable daily lives here at Ave Maria, I have had the chance to reflect a bit on the Holy Land Pilgrimage and how it had an overall effect on my life. The trip itself came during a very crucial point in my life, as a cradle Catholic I noticed that the mysteries of the faith were losing meaning to me. Going to mass became more of a box that needed to be checked every Sunday and the actual sacrifice that occurs during the mass had lost all significance to me. Overall, my faith had become dry. However, this pilgrimage has changed my life forever. I rediscovered the beauty of the mass and the significant weight that it carries. I constantly look at my new olive wood crucifix and am reminded of all the sins that Jesus carried and then suffered on the cross with. It brings tears to my eyes everyday.” 

~ Clare

“Simply put, my experience in the Holy Land was surreal. The graces I reaped, memories I made, tears I shed, and friendships I forged are truly things that I will cherish forever. To walk in the footsteps of Christ, I believe, is one of the most proximate ways we can fulfill the very duty that is at the heart of the drama of the Christian moral life– that is — to deny ourselves, take up His Cross and follow Him. I am beyond blessed to have been able to have enjoyed this experience and am supremely thankful to all of those who made it possible.”

~ Maria

“Thank you for your generous donation that made it possible for me to get a scholarship to go to the Holy Land on pilgrimage. I am a Senior studying Theology at Ave Maria University. My time in the Holy Land put my faith into perspective and emphasized the truth that God became Man in a real place in a real time. Thank you again for your prayers and generosity. You are in my continual prayers.”

~ Bridget

“Thank you so much for your generous donations toward Ave Maria University’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land! Without your support, I likely would not have been able to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. On this pilgrimage, I was able to encounter Christ in a unique way, walking where He walked and praying where He prayed. It was such an incredible experience to encounter firsthand the places where Jesus performed miracles, as well as the locations where events crucial to salvation history took place. One such place which I loved was the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem, which houses the locations of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection. I will never forget the aura of holiness which surrounded that place, and I will remember it whenever my faith begins to feel dry or monotonous. With all that said, thank you again for enabling me to enjoy this life-changing pilgrimage!”

~ Jack

“I want to thank you so much for your generous donations which allowed me to experience this pilgrimage. Words can not describe how incredibly grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity. It has forever changed my life. I want to share with you an amazing moment I had on the Sunday we got back from the trip. On Sunday evening, I went to mass, and while listening to the gospel, it was about Jesus on Mount Tabor and the Transfiguration. I was in shock because never in my life would I have imagined that I would be able to connect an experience with the gospels to a place I have been. 

On the pilgrimage, we did many activities that greatly strengthened my faith such as going to the Upper Room, attending a mass at the Holy Sepulcher, going inside Jesus’ Tomb, praying the Stations of the Cross, having mass at the Mount of Beatitudes, and many more. I know for certain that this trip will help me continue to grow in my faith as I continue to reflect on these experiences. Thank you again for making this all possible, God bless you!” 

~ Maggie

“Thank you so much, donors, for making my visit to the Holy Land possible! This trip was truly life changing for me. Experiencing the many sites we visited gave me a whole new perspective on the faith I profess. A few of my personal favorites were the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Garden of Gethsemane. I was so impressed by the simplicity and humility that were made evident by what we saw and learned of Nazareth in the Basilica of the Annunciation. I was also so moved by being able to reach my hand into the hole in which the cross had been fixed in the rock of Calvary, to kneel in the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid and from which He rose, to touch the stone on which His body was prepared for burial and the pillar at which He was scourged, and to stand in the spot from which Our Lady would have watched her Son die on the Cross. The Garden of Gethsemane, which we visited the day after we walked the Via Dolorosa and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, impressed upon me the part my own sins played in the agony of Our Lord and in the Passion we had learned so much about the day before. This pilgrimage taught me so much about the faith, about its history, and about myself. Thank you so much for making this possible!

God bless!” ~ Olivia

“My name is Ella Rose and I am a sophomore transfer student at AMU. I am so grateful to be at a school like Ave Maria where the faith is alive and thriving. There are so many opportunities for holiness and to grow in the faith with those around us. I am continually amazed by the dedication of the school to its students, always seeking to bring them closer to Our Lord, Our Lady and Saint Joseph. I knew that I wanted to go deeper in my faith journey while as a student here, but I never dreamed that I would be so blessed to go to the sites where my faith happened! Going to the Holy Land over Spring break was absolutely life changing and I am grateful beyond words. Seeing the beauty of creation and the mystery of history in Israel gave me a deeper sense of love and appreciation for our incredible Catholic faith. Every single site that we went from Mount Tabor, to the Jordan River, to the Holy Sepulcher, to the Church of the Nativity, grace and beauty was overflowing. What a blessing it was for us students from Ave Maria to spend time at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, where the original “Ave Maria” was proclaimed to the Blessed Mother! The entire pilgrimage was the experience of a lifetime, and I cannot express my gratitude to you and all those who helped make it financially possible for me to go to the Holy Land. Thank you also for your prayers for all of us while we traveled as pilgrims through the Holy Land, I prayed for you and all those who made this trip possible. The graces, prayers, new friends, cultures, and rich insights have all left a lasting impact on my soul and I will carry these experiences with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for your generosity and charity, because along with you, the Ray family, Father James, the Middendorf family, and so many others, my life was changed and my faith was set on fire this year!”

In Mary’s mantle, ~ Ella Rose