Rock of ages

By Christopher Gunty The Catholic Review

Sunday, Oct. 17, the group found its way to one of the seven New Wonders of the World, Petra (rock), a city formed in the rock canyons in southern Jordan. Many people will recognize part of Petra, the façade of the Treasury especially, from the first Indiana Jones movie. The site is stunning for its beauty and its archeological significance. It’s a lot of walking, but well worth it, and the trip provided an opportunity for a bit of levity for those who dared. A few of the group climbed into the saddle of a horse (led by a guide, so it took no previous riding experience) for the trip partway down to the Treasury or back. And once there, a few also hopped on a camel’s back for a ride in a short circle (slightly larger than the route of a pony ride at a county fair). [slideshow]

Still, the adventure of a camel ride is not so much the ride, as getting up and down, as camels are fairly ungainly in the manner in which they rise, first to their knees and then all the way up, one end of the camel at a time. The rider must lean backward and forward in the opposite direction for balance. Monsignor Robert Armstrong misplaced his hat, and could not go without something to cover his head in the hot sun. He picked up a Bedouin shepherd’s head covering, though he said he doesn’t have plans to become a sheep-herder. Actually, the retired rector of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen may have missed his calling: he has already been a pastor for many decades, and that’s a shepherd of a flock of a different sort. – Petra, Jordan, October 17, 2010

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.