Venezuelan wins trip to Holy Land for Pope's visit

Gustavo Adolfo Franco Picaza of Maracaibo, Venezuela holds a sign with his gratitude for winning the contest. Credit: holyland-pilgrimage.org.

A 22-year-old Venezuelan man has won a contest held by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism to travel to the Holy Land for Pope Francis’ historic visit May 24-26.

Gustavo Adolfo Franco Picaza of Maracaibo, Venezuela, made the winning video for a contest held via Instagram at #PopeinHolyLand.

In a message to the organizers of the contest, Picaza said he would carry a special intention on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land: “To pray for peace in my country of Venezuela and for peace in the entire world.”

“I come from a very Christian family and ever since I was a child it has been a dream… [I] prayed every day to go and see the land of Jesus, the land promised by God to his people, the land where God sent his son to save the world, to visit the Holy Land, to walk its streets, but above all to pray in its churches. It’s a dream I have always had and now that by God’s grace you have given me this opportunity, I cannot pass it up,” Picaza said.

He thanked God for the chance to experience this pilgrimage during Pope Francis’ visit.

“It would be awesome to bump into the Holy Father on the street while visiting the land of Jesus and be able to tell him: ‘Holy Father, I am praying for you and for the peace of the world in Venezuela and in the land God promised to his sons and daughters.’”

“In one of his messages, Jesus tells us to go to Galilee, where we will see him and find him. This is something I want to experience. Undoubtedly visiting the Holy Land is a gift from God and a privilege that everyone in the world should have, and I am sure that this visit will help me,” Picaza said.

Picaza’s winning video can be seen at: http://instagram.com/p/mlGuwHQsYh/


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September 21, 2014

  • Sunday, September 21

    “Paths to Just Peace: Interfaith Celebration of International Peace Day,” cosponsored by Pax Christi Southern California and Campaign Nonviolence, 12:30-5 p.m., Holy Spirit Retreat Center, 4316 Lanai Rd., Encino. (818) 784-4515

    “Meet & Greet,” Mass and reception with Bishop Oscar Solis, hosted by Simbang Gabi ministry, 10 a.m., Immaculate Conception Church, 740 S. Shamrock ave., Monrovia. (626) 233-7313.

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