A guide to some websites which help to bring the Holy Land alive during Holy Week.
http://www.beliefnet.com/religion/christianity/holyweek/easter/cross_lite2.html. This site provides a beautiful resource on the Way of the Cross for use during Holy Week. The presentation is based on the ‘Bitter Journey’ and provides reflections on Jesus’ last journey before his crucifixion through scripture references, reflections and religious texts accompanied by music and other sounds. The graphics that are used to portray a more modern, audio-visual contemplation on the traditional Stations of the Cross are the strong point of the site, promoting a real engagement with the material. The concept for the site is based on the traditions associated with the Tenebrae services, the Stations of the Cross and the Lamentations of Good Friday. In omitting some of the traditional Catholic stations, this feature refers to Pope John Paul II’s revised celebration of the Way of the Cross, which he led in Rome in 1991. The series of scenes is played using Adobe Flash player, which may be downloaded for free on the Internet. Teachers and those involved with small parish groups can easily download the montage using Real Player.
As our attention turns towards Jerusalem during Holy Week, it is interesting to use the Internet as a competent visual aid. www.jerusalem.com provides a gateway to the holy city of Jerusalem, with easy access anytime and from anywhere, to the 3.4 billion people around the world who have a special place in their hearts for the city. Those adventurous enough can record their own prayer to be broadcast by the websites owners through loudspeakers at various points over Jerusalem. The site offers educational resources on all areas of religious significance in the city, including video guides to the principal prayer sites. The option on the left hand side of the main page ‘Western Wall’ provides a live feed to those praying at the Western Wall, a privileged view only those lucky enough to travel to the city can witness.
For more detailed images of the city, http://jerusalem360.com/ provides excellent equirectangular images to provide a 360 degree, virtual tour of Jerusalem. Sites such as the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, All Nations Church and the Western Wall (both a day and night view) can be viewed in a full 360 degree ‘sphere’ – all the benefits of the tourist experience without the crick in your neck! You can also get a ‘feel’ for the culture of the city by clicking on the ‘People’ tag and see 360 degree stills of children at a history lesson in the Old city and a brightly coloured souk. The site needs Quicktime to load the images but provides a link to a free download if your computer does not already have it installed.
This article, written by Máire Byrne, appeared in the April 2009 issue of Intercom.