Cyclists in the footsteps of Jesus

By: Cécile Leca/ lpj.org - Published: August 25 Thu, 2022

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HOLY LAND - In homage to Fr. Giuseppe Querin, spiritual guide of many pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Italian pilgrims have decided to travel together to the land of Christ, not on foot or on horseback... but with bicycles.

In total, they will have traveled more than 1,000 km. Leaving from Negrisia, a village in the north of Italy, Fabrizio Rizzo, Massimo Sartori, Silvano Carrer, Denis Ruffoni, Mauro Tomasella and Olympic champion Angelo Ciccone first cycled to the port of Bari, and then, between boat and plane trips, from Patras to Athens via Corinth and finally from Nazareth to Jerusalem.

The idea of such a project was born from a simple promise between one of the cyclists and Fr. Querin: that of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land once the COVID-19 pandemic was over. Unfortunately, Fr. Querin died in November 2021, when the health crisis forced many countries to close their borders. So it was in his name that Mauro Tomasella, a cycling enthusiast, decided to return to the Holy Land by bicycle with five other pilgrims – the "Team Querin".

"We visited the Holy Places together," tells Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, bishop emeritus of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and a native of a village near Negrisia. In Tel Aviv, he welcomed the cyclists and their families and friends who came to accompany them on their journey. "I joined them once they arrived in the Holy Land. They did not choose an easy route; between Nazareth and Jerusalem, they decided to cycle up not only Mount Tabor, but also the Mount of Olives!”

The six cyclists went back to Italy on August 22nd, 17 days after their departure from Negrisia. They were able to admire many Holy Places and archeological sites, including Jaffa, the Sea of Galilee and its surroundings, the Church of the Transfiguration, Deir Rafat, Haifa, Nazareth and Akko, Beit She'an, Caesarea Maritima, Jericho, Wadi Qelt, and the St George monastery, the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem, and of course the old city of Jerusalem. Their journey was a beautiful tribute to Fr. Querin, organizer of more than a hundred pilgrimages to the Holy Land.