Holy Land Pilgrimage - February 3, 2020
Galilee | Jerusalem | Nazareth
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 our arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we will be met by Fr. Peter Vasko, O.F.M., who will be our guide for the duration of the pilgrimage and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the Prophets. Overnight in nearby Netanya.
Your immersion in ancient Israel where Christ walked begins. Set out for a morning drive along the Mediterranean Coast to Caesarea, the capital of the Roman Procurators of Judea where St. Peter preached and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years. Visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat and see the stunning architecture and art of the Byzantine Churches. That afternoon enter the port city of Haifa to ascend Mt. Carmel, the sacred mountain where the Prophet Elijah contested 450 prophets of Baal proclaiming “The Lord, He is God,” and Elisha, his disciple, took refuge. Visit Stella Maris, the church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Star of the Sea. It sits near the cave Elijah lived in. Then make our way to our hotel in Tiberias that will be our home base for the next three nights.
After breakfast, drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River. Renew our baptismal vows in the very river where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9). Then we drive to Cana in Galilee to pray where Jesus performed His first miracle, at the request of His mother, Mary, turning the water into wine. The Catholic Church points to this miracle as establishing the Sacrament of Marriage. If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows here as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. Afterwards, travel a short distance to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Visit the Basilica of the Annunciation that holds the Cave of the Annunciation which is the actual room where Gabriel appeared to Mary and “the Word was made flesh.” (John 1:14) and see St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop, where the foster father of Jesus worked. Our last excursion of the day is to the summit of Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration and the culminating point of Christ’s public life (Matthew 17:5).
This morning, drive to Tabgha, and ponder the site where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed more than 5,000 people (Luke 9:13). Then visit the Church of Peter’s Primacy on the shores of Galilee. A rock at the center of this church is believed to be the actual table where the apostles ate breakfast with Christ after His Resurrection. It is where Peter’s role as the Vicar of Christ was further established as Christ asked him to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16). Continue to Capernaum, the center of Jesus’s three-year public ministry, where he called his first disciples, Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew. Here Christ healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, brought a child back to life, cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant and cast out a demon from a young boy. Visit the synagogue where Jesus taught and spend some private, prayerful time on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. End the day with a scenic and prayerful boat ride on the Sea, reflecting upon the many moments of Christ’s ministry that happened here.
This morning visit the Mount of Beatitudes where Christ gave his famous Sermon of the Mount. Then, depart from the region of Galilee and travel south through the Jordan River Valley to Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. In 1250 B.C., Joshua and the Israelites encircled the city, trumpets blasting, and the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6). Jesus passed through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. From Jericho we have an excellent view of the Mount of Temptation, where Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days to resist the devil. After lunch, drive through the Judean wilderness to Jerusalem, our home for the next six nights.
We will take a morning drive to the top of the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem and visit two churches located on the mount: the Church of the Pater Noster where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the “Our Father” and Ascension Chapel, the site where Jesus ascended into Heaven. Descend the mount on the path Christ walked on the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where He wept over Jerusalem and her future destruction. Then enter into the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ had His agony and was betrayed. Here we will pray in the Church of All Nations at the Rock of Agony, the very rock Christ prayed at and sweated blood before He was crucified. The remainder of the day will be free for personal activities.
An exciting and jam-packed day awaits us as we explore Jerusalem further. We 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. Afterwards, see the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. Prayerfully walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and climb the steps up Mt. Calvary to pray at the site of the Crucifixion. 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 she found the true cross. This afternoon we travel to Mt. Zion, where Christ celebrated the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Together we journey to pray the rosary at Dormition Abbey, the traditional site where Mary was assumed into heaven. Our final stop is at one of the most striking churches in Jerusalem –St. Peter in Gallicantu. A golden rooster sits atop, recalling the place where Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26). This was the site of the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, where Jesus was brought to jail after His arrest and kept in the dungeon that sits underneath the Church.
This morning, we drive to Ein Karem, one of the most beautiful sites in the New City of Jerusalem where St. John the Baptist was born. Marvel at the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her service to God in her Magnificat prayer and pray the Magnificat together in this holy site. In the afternoon, visit the Wailing Wall, a solemn site for the Jewish people and where prayers are inserted between the stones. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the Old City on our own.
Journey to one of the most joyous sites connected to the Holy Night Christ was born – the Shepherd’s Fields outside of Bethlehem. Then travel into the city of Bethlehem and visit the Nativity Church above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ Birth. Ponder the Manger, Grotto of St. Jerome, and the Church of St. Catherine, the parish church for Bethlehem’s Catholics. We will visit the Milk Grotto Chapel, a place where many couples pray for the Virgin Mary’s intercession to conceive a child. Then visit the Franciscan Family Center, where we learn about the daily life of Christians in the Holy Land, followed by some free time for shopping before returning to Jerusalem.
This morning, visit Bethany to see the House of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus where Christ raised him from the dead. Journey through the Judean Wilderness along the Dead Sea to Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We end our day with a drive to the Dead Sea to float and swim in its salty, mineral laden waters before heading back to Jerusalem. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at the Christmas Hotel.
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end. We catch our return flight home from Tel Aviv.
- Arrangements for daily Mass
- Roundtrip economy class airfare from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Tel Aviv on United Airlines
- 10 nights accommodation as follows: 4 nights in Tiberias at the Scots Hotel or similar, 6 nights in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center or similar
- All hotel taxes and service charges
- Breakfast and dinner daily
- Middle Eastern dinner at the Christmas Hotel on day 11
- Comprehensive sightseeing with a licensed Christian guide (Fr. Peter Vasko)
- All entrance fees as per itinerary
- Land transportation by private deluxe motor coach
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Whisper headsets
- Free as indicated above based upon single occupancy