15 February 2019

An update from Bishop Gutierrez's Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

My dear brothers and sisters,
Over the next few weeks, I will write and reflect on our Diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was a time of deep prayer and journeying. Through conversation, I know each of the pilgrims was deeply impacted by the experience. During the course of the trip, the Diocese developed deep connections with the people and the Diocese of Jerusalem. It is our collective desire to have a yearly pilgrimage to expand the relationship and share this deep walk with Christ.
The reason for this note is to share that I was injured on the third day of the pilgrimage. It was an accident near St. George's Cathedral. For those who are unaware, I live with Hemophilia. It is a genetic disorder in which the blood doesn't clot normally. It is an ailment I have learned to deal with since birth, but it has not stopped me from living fully. However, any injury that occurs is magnified exponentially by either minor or massive internal bleeding. The injury while on pilgrimage caused massive internal bleeding in my leg and, believe me, it was not pretty. While serious, I continued on and did not miss one day, walking each step with the pilgrims of the Diocese. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for my fellow pilgrims who assisted, allowed me to lean on them, offered ice packs, pillows and continually prayed. I knew I was going to be okay since I was with my diocesan family.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for those who checked on me each morning, protected me with their bodies (yes, really) acting as a shield through the narrow steps and large crowds so that I would not further injure my leg. I was moved by the love evident and demonstrated by those on the pilgrimage.
It will be a slow road to recovery; however, I have learned over the years how to deal with this. When I returned from the pilgrimage, I was sent to the hospital, began intravenous infusions and have kept off the leg. I continue in my daily work upholding all my commitments to all of you (and now with my doctor's clearance to do so.)
I give thanks for you and the notes of concern and I ask for your continued prayers for recovery and especially for Suzanne who takes great care of me. God bless you and know that you are in my prayers.
May the peace of Christ go with you,

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

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