MTSM Seminarians Summer 2023 Trip to Holy Land
The story below was originally published in The Athenaeum, MTSM’s bi-annual magazine. The Athenaeum is published twice a year for alumni, patrons and friends of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary & School of Theology. To be added to the mailing list, contact: Heidi Walsh at 513.233.6159 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the summer, seven MTSM seminarians got the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land and see firsthand the places that Jesus preached and spread his message, the next step of which these men are scheduled to take at the end of this academic year when they and nine other MTSM seminarians ordained transitional deacons. Rev. Andrew J. Moss, Instructor of Canon Law at MTSM, accompanied the men on the trip.
“Visiting the Holy Land is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Fr. Moss said. “It’s a chance to walk where Jesus walked, to see what Jesus saw and to remember that Jesus truly assumed our humanity. It is this humanity that a seminarian must emulate to be an effective priest of Jesus Christ.”
“It was really powerful and pivotal for me,” McGraw reflected months after the trip. “It was a lot to take in in a very short amount of time, but it has provided me so much. They call the Holy Land ‘the fifth Gospel’ and it brings to life a lot of the passages. The richness and overall experience of seeing where the Church began in the First Century was a really powerful thing.”
The annual trip, which over nearly 20 years has seen over 130 MTSM seminarians have the opportunity to visit the Holy Land, is made possible through an endowment established in 2004 by the Mathile Family Foundation and through annual contributions from the David R. and Margaret C. Clare Foundation.
The 10-day trip saw the men visit various Holy Land sites around Galilee and Jerusalem in Israel and participate in Mass. Beyond that, it was also a chance for the seminarians to experience a different part of the world as well, which for McGraw was a first.
“Not only had I never been to the Holy Land before, I had never been outside North America,” McGraw noted. “For me it was not only the sites that our Lord walked, but also the cultural experience and being in another part of the world.”