Holy Land & Italy Pilgrimage - February 9, 2020
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.
Holy Land Pilgrimage Itinerary
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. Stay overnight in the seaside resort of Netanya.
This morning leave Netanya for Tiberias. Drive along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, capital of the ancient Roman Procurators of Judea. Here, St. Peter preached, and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years. Visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat, and the Byzantine Churches. Continue to the sparkling port city of Haifa. Ascend Mt. Carmel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. After Mass continue on to Tiberias, our home for the next three nights.
Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee where Jesus, at the request of Mary, performed His first miracle – changing water into wine. 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. Josephs 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).
This morning, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and proceed to the Church of Peters 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 Peters 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.
After Mass at the Mount of the Beatitudes, we will travel through the Judean countryside 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. From here, we will drive to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. In 1250 B.C., Joshua encircled the city and at the blast of the priests’ trumpets, the walls came tumbling down. Many times Jesus passed through this city on his way to Jerusalem. The sycamore fig, the tree which Zacchaeus climbed in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus, still grows in this area. From the ruins of ancient Jericho, we will ascend the Mount of Temptation where Jesus fasted and prayed forty days to resist the devil. Lastly, we will make a stop at the Dead Sea before proceeding to Jerusalem, our home for the next four nights.
This morning we will drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives for a spectacular view of Jerusalem. 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. In the afternoon, we will drive through the New City of Jerusalem to Ein Karem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist, to see the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her famous “Magnificat”.
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. Then visit the Milk Grotto Chapel followed by some free time for prayer before returning to Jerusalem.
This morning we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephens 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 Pilates Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, the Wailing Wall, and we will view the Temple Mount. Afterwards, we exit the city to visit the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a man born blind. We then go to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room, the site where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper and pray our Rosary together in the Church of Dormition, where Mary was assumed into heaven.
This morning we will transfer to the airport to catch our flight from Tel Aviv to Rome. Upon arrival in the “Eternal City” we will be met by our local tour director and enjoy a tour including visits to Santa Maria in Vallicella (also known as Chiesa Nuova) which was founded by St. Philip Neri in 1561, the Church of the Gesù which is the mother church of the Jesuits, and the Church of Sant’Agostino in honor of St. Augustine and where the remains of St. Monica now rest. Stop at St. Clement’s, to see the second century dwelling of Pope St. Clement, the third successor of St. Peter, and the original fresco depicting St. Clement celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This fresco gives us a picture of Eucharistic worship at the end of the first century or beginning of the second. We will then proceed to our hotel for check-in.
This morning we will experience a highlight of our Roman stay, 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. This afternoon our sightseeing of Rome includes 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. For those who are interested, join Fr. Hottovy in the evening for a walking tour, seeing the Pantheon, Piazza Navona with Bernini’s famous fountains, and the Trevi Fountain, where a coin thrown over your shoulder will guarantee you another visit to Rome.
A full day of exploring Rome begins with Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Our guide then takes us through the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel with its awesome frescoes painted by Michelangelo. In the afternoon 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 evening enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Today our Holy Land and Rome pilgrimage comes to an end. Transfer to the airport in Rome to catch our return flight home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Omaha to Tel Aviv and return from Rome to Omaha on United Airlines
- 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