Palmers’ Compendium

The palm–or the shell–is the insignia of the pilgrim who has returned from the Holy Land. A Christian who has visited Israel is a “palmer.”

Over the years, the term came to be used for a pilgrim to any holy site. Shakespeare punned on the word “palmer” in the scene in which Romeo and Juliet first meet.

ROMEO [To JULIET]
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

JULIET
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

ROMEO
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

JULIET
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

ROMEO
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray — grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

JULIET
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

ROMEO
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.

[Kisses her.]

…Anyway: This palmer would like to present you with a compendium of Holy Land pilgrimage writings:

High-altitude prayer competition
Parable of the Lost Coin
Facing West on Earth Day
The Wall of Bibi I
The divine origin of Israel
Full account of my first pilgrimage

First-Anniversary Recollections, with Abp. Burke’s homilies:
Elijah and Mt. Carmel
Remembering Nazareth on March-for-Life day
Looking out over Jerusalem on St. Polycarp Day
Holy Mass in the Upper Room

Pope Benedict May 2009 Holy Land Pilgrimage:
At the Basilica of the Annunciation
Pope in Bethlehem
Mass in the Kidron Valley
At the Holy Sepulcher

Fall 2009 Pilgrimage Updates and Reflections:
Preparatory Praying
Arriving in the land of the Bible, the Crusaders, and many saints
Beautiful Blue Skies of Northwest Israel
In Nazareth
Sea of Galilee
Going up to Jerusalem (Jericho/Bethlehem)
Americans in the Garden of Gethsemane
Jerusalem Days
At the Empty Tomb (Pope, too)
Perspective on Holy Land archaeology
Concluding homily on the mystery of faith

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2 thoughts on “Palmers’ Compendium

  1. You made me think of the wonderful lines from the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales:
    “And palmers long to seek the stranger strands
    Of far-off saints, hallowed in sundry lands . . . .”

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