Happy feast day to my friend Andrew and to all Andrews, Andreas, and their various forms on the new calendar!
If you plan to go to the Holy Land, you may find the Franciscans’ Christian Information Centre very helpful. The Franciscans have maintained the Latin presence in Palestine for centuries, but they offer useful pilgrimage information for all Christians. Perhaps it is due to my own family’s Franciscan heritage, but I find Francis’ disciples to be the most genial of Rome’s orders—the most Orthodox, dare I say. Franciscans manifest a sacramental, cosmological approach to the world, and they combine heart with their intellect. Their love, joy, and gratitude reminds me very much of Orthodoxy. One sometimes finds Orthodox criticism of Franciscan spirituality, wherein the polemicist contrasts Francis with Seraphim of Sarov. Yet, I think that the comparison is fitting, though not in a negative way. Both men typify the best of their traditions. May they pray for us and for Christian unity in truth and in charity.
I have recently been looking into various aspects of Israeli tourism. As I was reading the Wikipedia article for “Bus travel in Israel,” I chuckled when I read (emphasis mine),
If you want the driver to tell you your stop, it is best to be clear about it. If you just tell the driver where you want to go, he may ask you at the following stop why you didn’t get off. Also, he might forget, so it is often better to ask the passengers.
While Israeli manners may be rougher than in some other countries, they are also more likely to actually help you, with several people debating the best route for you.
They just cannot help themselves.