From the inter-faith point of view the Pilgrimage was an outstanding success. The group mixed and gelled well, and there was no friction among the members. As I saw it, there were two distinct aspects to the visit. Firstly to allow those taking part to meet and understand the common and distinctive elements of each other's beliefs, and secondly, to convey to those we met that in Scotland there is a practical movement towards tolerance and understanding within the various faith communities.
On the Pilgrimage I learned much about the beliefs of my fellow Pilgrims, and would like to think that I answered any queries regarding my Faith, and explained the significance of the historic Christian sites we visited.
We visited Jewish shrines and places of interest, Muslim, Baha'i, and Christian holy places, all of which helped my understanding of their beliefs. I personally, was disappointed that we did not visit the tombs of David, and of Rachel, nor had access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, nor did we visit the Garden Tomb.
We did, however meet many who were committed to Peace, both Israelis and Palestinians, as well as volunteers from abroad who spend time in the Holy Land involved in trying to establish peace and reconciliation. I was most impressed by the sincerity and goodwill of them all, and one could not but be moved and inspired by them.
They recognised the limits of their influence, but were encouraged by our presence - from small seeds great oak trees grow.
Many of the planned elements of the programme did not come to fuition, but time just would not have allowed any more in the programme, and congratulations are due to the organisers and guides.
Frank Lunny is a retired sheriff, and is a layman representing the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. He is a Lieutenant of the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.