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An Unexpected Blessing: My trip to Jordan

A week ago, Diana von Glahn of The Faithful Traveler contacted me. She wanted to know if I was interested in traveling to Jordan with other members of the press. She would pass my contact information along to key organizers of a Jordan Religious Press Tour if I was interested.

Are you kidding me? Of course I said yes.

Within one week, I had filled out the application and received word that I was chosen to go to Jordan and visit key sites from April 9 to April 19. Next month.

And I had been lamenting that I would have to wait until August for the Catholic Press Association pilgrimage to Poland before I would be making my next trip! But God has a way of filling our cup to overflowing and taking us places we never dreamed we would be able to go. Abraham learned that late in life. So did Moses. And now, at fifty, I am feeling the call to go … to meet my Lord in many places.

So, April is Jordan–Eastern Holy Land.

August, Poland–Sts. Faustina, John Paul II, & Maximilian Kolbe

November, Israel & Bethlehem–Holy Land.

December, Mexico–Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Have I mentioned lately that I love pilgrimages, and travel writing about places of faith is right up there at the top of my “favorite things” list? I can stay up until two in the morning writing while on pilgrimage (which I do almost every night) and still get up for a six o’clock wake-up and a day of prayer at holy places. That’s grace. At home, I need a solid eight-hour night.

Well, the official itinerary arrived just a few days after I submitted the application. I eagerly read through each day’s events.

By day four, I had to stop reading. I was overwhelmed by the gift that was unfolding before my eyes:

Bethany Beyond the Jordan: considered to be the actual site of the Baptism of Jesus
Bethany Beyond the Jordan: considered to be the actual site of the Baptism of Jesus

Leave Amman behind to travel south toward the wilderness on the eastern banks of the River Jordan known as Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan. According to the Bible, it was here that the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven on a chariot of fire, and where John the Baptist came centuries later preaching and baptizing in the spirit of Elijah“.

Pope John Paul II overlooking Mount Nebo (photo courtesy the Wall Street Journey)
Pope John Paul II overlooking Mount Nebo (photo courtesy the Wall Street Journal)

Then, drive a short distance to Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses climbed after his long Exodus journey to see the land he would never enter, and where he was buried nearby by God himself.”

I slipped out of my chair and knelt beside my office desk. My heart was full, and prayers of gratitude seemed the only appropriate response.

I have been working out to meet the physical demands of making pilgrimages. I have increased the incline of the treadmill when I work out, setting the incline as steep as I can handle because the itinerary says we will have the opportunity to climb Mount Nebo, if we feel we can handle the hike up the mountain.

I’m going to do it. So it is time to get into even better shape.

Through words, I will take you back to those moments in salvation history.

I’m going to Jordan.

You come, too.


Denise Bossert:

Denise is a convert to the Catholic Church. She is the daughteDenise Bossertr of a Protestant minister. In 2005, she converted to Catholicism after reading books by Carmelite saints. Her syndicated column called Catholic by Grace has been published in 63 diocesan newspapers. She has also written for Catholic magazines and appeared on EWTN’s Journey Home and Women of Grace. She is a Catholic travel writer and pilgrimage leader with Select International Tours and Cruises. Her first book is entitled Gifts of the Visitation and explores the Blessed Mother’s journey from Nazareth to Ein Kerem where she remained with St. Elizabeth for three months prior to the birth of St. John the Baptist. Website: denisebossert.com

Denise Bossert, Catholic columnist & author