Holy Land & Italy Pilgrimage - December 2, 2019
Galilee | Jerusalem | Rome
Step into the sandals of the apostles as you stroll the streets of Old City Jerusalem and visit some of the holiest places in Christian history. Visit Nazareth and see the sacred places where our Blessed Mother carried Christ in her womb. Explore the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Christ lived, walked and preached the words of the Gospel.
Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.
After arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we will be met by our guide who will arrange the schedule of our visits and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the Prophets. Drive north for check-in at our hotel located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias.
This morning, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and proceed to the Church of Peter’s Primacy (John 21:16). Here on the shore of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and confirmed Peter in the role as Vicar of Christ with the words, “Feed My sheep.” The rock emerging from the center of the church is the actual table at which they ate breakfast. We will proceed onto Capernaum which for three years was the center of Jesus’ public ministry. Here our Lord met his first disciples – Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew – and worked many miracles. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, brought a child back to life, cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant, cast out a demon from a young boy and healed all that were sick (Matt 8:16). We will celebrate Mass, visit the synagogue where Jesus taught, and then drive to Tabgha – the site where Jesus multiplied the Loaves and Fishes and fed over 5000 people (Luke 9:13). Next, we will drive to the Mount of Beatitudes the site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee where Jesus, at the request of Mary, performed His first miracle. It was here also that He blessed marriage and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. From there, we go a short distance to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. In the Church of the Annunciation we will celebrate Mass. Just behind the altar, at the Cave of the Annunciation, we will see the actual room in which Mary said “yes” to the angel Gabriel. From there we will visit St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop and Mary’s well. In the afternoon, we will take an excursion to the summit of Mt. Tabor where Jesus transfigured himself and revealed his Divine Glory to the apostles (Matt 17:2).
Depart Tiberias and drive through the Judean wilderness to the River Jordan to renew our baptismal vows. The Bible tells us that the Children of Israel crossed the River Jordan opposite Jericho when they came into the Promised Land. The prophet Elijah divided its waters and crossed with Elisha on dry land. Naaman the Syrian dipped in the waters seven times and was cured of his leprosy. And Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan (Mark 1:9). Each year, pilgrims from far and wide come to the Place of Baptism to immerse themselves in these holy waters. Then drive to Jerusalem and ascend the Mt. of Olives for a spectacular view of the city. We will visit the Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, Ascension Chapel the site where Jesus ascended into Heaven, and then walk the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem. Then we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Church of All Nations for Mass on the Rock of Agony. Then proceed to our hotel for check-in.
We will drive to Bethlehem and have Mass at the Shepherd’s Fields. Above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ birth, we will visit the Nativity Church, built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. Also tour the Manger, Grotto of St. Jerome, and the Church of St. Catherine and the Milk Grotto Chapel. We will then drive to Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist, to see the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her famous “Magnificat”.
This morning we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate to visit the Church of St. Anne, where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born. Next to this site is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. We will then walk the Via Dolorosa finishing prayerfully in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where we will have Holy Mass. There we will climb Mt. Calvary and pray at the site of the crucifixion. We will venerate the site where Jesus’ body was anointed, the tomb where he was buried and rose from the dead, and the Chapel of St. Helena where the true cross was found. While in the Old City, we will also see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, the “Wailing Wall”, and we will view the Temple Mount. We then go to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room, the site where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper and visit St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied Jesus three times. Last, we pray our Rosary together in the Church of Dormition, where Mary was assumed into heaven. This evening we will enjoy a Middle Eastern dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning we will check out from our hotel and drive to Old Jaﬀa, the world’s oldest port, where we will visit St. Peter’s Church where we will celebrate Mass and the House of Simon the Tanner where Peter brought Tabitha back from the dead. We will then have an opportunity to walk along the winding cobblestoned streets and explore the charming artists’ colony. Then proceed to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to catch our afternoon flight to Rome. After arrival in the “Eternal City”, we will be met at the airport and then proceed to our hotel for check-in.
This morning we will begin by visiting the Basilica of Saint Peter’s in Rome where we will celebrate Mass followed by a walk through the Vatican Gardens. Our guide will then take us through the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel with its awesome frescoes painted by Michelangelo focusing especially on Eucharistic art and artifacts.
Today we will experience a highlight of our pilgrimage, attendance at the Papal Audience at St. Peter’s (subject to the Holy Father’s schedule). Join thousands of pilgrims from throughout the world to listen to the Holy Father and receive His Blessing. In the afternoon we will continue our sightseeing of Rome including visits to the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, St. Peter in Chains featuring Michelangelo’s “Moses” and St. Paul Outside the Walls where Mass will be celebrated.
Today our sightseeing includes visits to St. Mary Major Basilica, St. John Lateran, the Holy Stairs, the Old Appian Way and the St. Callisto Catacombs.
This morning we begin with a visit to the Church of Sant’Agostino in honor of St. Augustine and where the remains of St. Monica now rest. Next, visit St. Clement Church with its famous tree of life mosaic. Visit the Church of St. Cecilia and then visit the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, a minor basilica in the Trastevere district of Rome, and one of the oldest churches of Rome. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Following breakfast, we will transfer to the airport to catch our return flight home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Chicago O’Hare to Tel Aviv and return from Rome to Chicago O’Hare on Austrian Airlines/ Lufthansa
- One way airfare from Tel Aviv to Rome on El Al Israel Airlines
- 11 nights’ accommodations, including taxes and service charges
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Knowledgeable, friendly, Catholic/Christian guides; whisper headsets; deluxe motor coach transportation to holy sites; all entrance fees listed on itinerary
- Breakfast and dinner (excluding drinks)
- Farewell dinners in Israel and Rome