HOPE (Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education) is a twinning relationship between the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Latin Patriarchate Schools (Roman Catholic schools in the Holy Land). The roots of HOPE run deep within the St. Andrew community. For the past 14 years, so many St. Andrew parishioners have supported HOPE by generously hosting twinning partners, extending hospitality through preparing meals, driving guests, etc. Financial support from others keeps HOPE alive.
On my pilgrimage I saw so much evidence that Jesus began His Church in the Holy Land. The holy sites give archeological evidence of that. But, more importantly, the Christian people of the Holy Land give testimony that they have walked with Jesus from the very beginning of his ministry 2,000 years ago. They embrace their heritage, understand their history, and live the Gospel message.
I received generous hospitality from host teacher Nivine, her husband, and family! I journeyed there with teaching techniques and a desire to make a new friend. What Nivine and I shared was not pedagogy but Christ; we shared in the ministry of teaching. The Spirit’s gifts went beyond my expectations. The Bible came to life through the landscape and the holy sites, and I have a deeper understanding of the scriptures. I learned about peace, which is not realized through politics but person to person, heart to heart, neighbor to neighbor. I witnessed What Would Jesus Do? firsthand. Most importantly, I gained more than a friend; I gained a sister.
I invite you to get involved with HOPE. Pray for HOPE. Share your talents or time. Make a donation; even sponsor a teacher’s trip!
Dear Lord, help us to live out your command to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
Sharon Bohlen has taught at the St. Andrew St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School System for 12 years. She and her husband Dan have been married for 27 years and have 3 children; Sarah, Katie and Peter. Peter is a student at Archbishop Moeller High School and Katie and Sara are college students. Her family are parishioners at Good Shepherd Church in Montgomery. Sharon’s first HOPE Pilgrimage was in 2014 and she is looking forward to going again in November.
Sharon Bohlen and her partner teacher in the Holy Land, Nivine