It's the Feast of the Visitation! You want to make a pilgrimage to Hill Country of Judea, but can't afford the plan fare to Israel.
Ah, you are having Feast of Visitation day blues. But fear not! The miracle of modern technology makes it possible to take a virtual pilgrimage to the very spot of Mary and Elizabeth's embrace.
Seriously, in honor of the Feast Day, I thought I'd post some video of our trip to Ein Karem, the site of the Church of the Visitation, from Day 4 of our May pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Luke is vague about the location of the Visitation, only describing it as "the hill country of Judea." Ein Karem (lit. "the spring of the vineyard") is the hilly area associated with the Visitation since ancient times.
The first video shows the walk up the mountainside from the modern town to the Church of the Visitation, which is mildly tiring. The surrounding countryside is beautiful.
On arriving at the top of the hill, one enters into a compound that encloses the Church and a monastery. The second video gives a 360-degree sweep of the courtyard immediately outside the Church. The beautiful mosaic on the outside of the Church shows Mary traveling from Nazareth to Ein Karem in the company of Angels. A Franciscan priest is visible at the gate of the courtyard. Like a great many holy sites in Israel, the OFM "custodians of the Holy Land" are responsible for maintaining this site.
The final video enters the charming sanctuary and pans the vibrant murals, which depict scenes from the life of Our Lady as well as her important interventions in human history, like the Battle of Lepanto.