Second month living in Ecce Homo

Our Apostolic Experience with the English Biblical Program

After one month enjoying their apostolic experience serving in the Guest House in Ecce Homo, Lucia and Nancy began another new experience being involved with the English Program of the CBF (Centre of Biblical Formation).

The emphasis of the CBF Program is placed on:

  • a study of the Bible through the text and excursions to explore the Land;
  • a deeper understanding of Jesus and his heritage;
  • and Christian roots as found in Jewish traditions which shaped the religious experience of Jesus, and later, the church.

The CBF English Program was from June 3rd until July 3rd. Sr. Maureen and Sr. Iuliana from Rumania coordinated it. We (Lucia and Nancy) were interns of the program; each one was part of the Program for two weeks. During this time, we helped with the organization of the program and we had the amazing experience of sharing with people from Australia, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Thailand, Korea and Philippines. Most of them were priests, some religious brothers and sisters, and teachers and principals of schools.

The program consisted mainly in the study of the scriptures having lectures about the Gospel of Mark, visiting places like the City of David, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Bethlehem (including the Bethlehem University), Nazareth, Qumran, the Dead Sea, the Negev Desert, Be’er Sheva, Sephoris, Galilee.

We also visited a Synagogue (Kol haNesahma), the Israel Museum and some churches in the Old City. In addition to all our visits we had talks about different topics like: Nostra Aetate; the meaning of Shabbat in Judaism and its link with our Christian tradition; a talk with two young people, an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man and a talk about the Psalms from the Jewish prospective with a Rabbi and a Jewish woman.

The opportunity of living, teaching and learning from the Word of God in the Holy Land is a unique experience and the fact that here in Jerusalem and its surroundings we were able to visit the places where our faith and tradition began was an invitation to go deeper and it was an important spiritual growth for everybody.

Furthermore, this ministry of the Sisters in Ecce Homo is clearly one of our calls as NDS Congregation.

“We are called to keep this Word in our hearts, to meditate on it, to study it, to share it, and to act on it.” Const. # 6.

This was the experience of the students of the program and the participants from the Sion family.

We formed a community that was able to share questions, motivations and challenges concerning our Christian faith. The study of the Gospel of Mark deepened our understanding of Jesus and his disciples in particular about their Jewish faith, culture and tradition and it gave us an important insight in the way we live and express our Christian tradition.

In summary, this month of teaching and learning was an encounter with ourselves, with others and with God.

The Program concluded with a special Mass and then each one of the participants received a certificate for their participation.

We appreciated the blessing of being part of the CBF English Program and we are very united with the students, teacher and guides who made this remarkable experience possible. Thanks to all.

Nancy Mena Fernandez NDS, Novice
Congregational Novitiate Ein Karem, Jerusalem