Holy Land Pilgrimage - June 16, 2022
Jerusalem | Bethlehem | Nazarath
Visit some of the holiest places in Christian history, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ died, was buried and triumphed over death in his Resurrection.
Holy Land Pilgrimage Itinerary
Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, our immersion in ancient Israel where Christ walked begins. We are met by our local guide who will escort us throughout our stay in the Holy Land and make the scriptures come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Drive to our hotel in Jerusalem, our home for the next five nights.
We begin this morning at one of the most joyous sites connected to the Holy Night Christ was born – the church located in the Shepherd’s Fields in Bethlehem, marking the spot where the shepherds heard the chorus of angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth. In the city of Bethlehem, meaning “House of Bread,” we visit the Nativity Church that sits above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ Birth. Ponder the Manger, then view the Grotto of St. Jerome and the Church of St. Catherine, the parish church for Bethlehem’s Catholics. We will also visit a local orphanage, supported by faithful from around the world. After some free time for personal prayer and shopping in Bethlehem, we return to Jerusalem.
We 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 the Ascension Chapel, the site where He ascended into Heaven. Descend the Mount on the “Palm Sunday Road” which Christ himself walked. Stop at Dominus Flevit, where Christ wept over Jerusalem and her future destruction. Then enter into the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ had His agony and was betrayed. Keep watch with Christ and pray in the Church of All Nations at the Rock of Agony, the very rock where Christ prayed and sweated blood before He was to be crucified. In the afternoon, we drive to Ein Karem, one of the most beautiful sites in the New City of Jerusalem where St. John the Baptist was born. Pray at the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her service to God in her Magnificat prayer.
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, is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. While in the Old City, we will view the Temple Area featuring the Dome of the Rock, Mosque el Aqsa, and the Wailing Wall. We will continue on to see Pilate’s Judgement Hall and the Chapel of Flagellation. Prayerfully, we will walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and have the opportunity to climb the steps up to 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 will then journey to one of the most striking churches in Jerusalem –St. Peter in Gallicantu– that hosts a wide array of art styles. A golden rooster sits atop it recalling the place where Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26). It was 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. Lastly, we visit the Church of the Dormition, the traditional site where Mary was assumed into heaven.
We start the morning at the Tomb of Our Lord in the Holy Sepulchre Church with time for private prayer and reflection. After a late breakfast, we will visit Bethany to see the House of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus where Jesus raised him from the dead. Continue through the Judean Wilderness along the Dead Sea to Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We will then have an opportunity to swim in the salty, unsinkable waters of the Dead Sea before proceeding to Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. In 1250 B.C., Joshua encircled the city, trumpets blasting, and the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6). From the top of the ancient “tel”, we’ll have an excellent view of Elisha’s Fountain, the Qarantal and the Mount of Temptation. We return to Jerusalem for a traditional Middle Eastern dinner party at a local restaurant.
Depart Jerusalem this morning and drive north through the Jordan Valley to the traditional baptismal site of Jesus in the Jordan River. Renew your baptismal vows in the very river where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. (Mark 1:9) Ponder how the children of Israel crossed the River Jordan opposite Jericho when they came to the Promised Land. These are the waters the prophet Elijah divided and crossed with Elisha and which Naaman the Syrian dipped in seven times to cure his leprosy. Pilgrims come every year to immerse themselves in these holy waters. Continue our drive north though the Judean wilderness and the Jordan River Valley to the region of Galilee. From here we ascend the Golan Heights, a fertile plateau with expansive views over Israel. Stop at the Banias Spring, a waterfall that rises from under a cave and is one of the sources of the Jordan River. It was here in Banias (known in Biblical times as Caesarea Philippi) where Peter made his confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah and where Jesus gave Peter his new name, declaring him the Rock upon which He would build His Church (Matthew 16:16-19). We end our day in Tiberias, where we check into our hotel, our home base for the next three nights.
Today 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. Afterwards, travel a short distance to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Celebrate Mass in the Church of the Annunciation that holds the Cave of the Annunciation just behind the altar. This is the actual room where Gabriel appeared to Mary and “The Word was made flesh.” (John 1:14.). See St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop, where the foster father of Jesus worked and Mary’s Well, where the Virgin Mary drew water with her son for their daily living. We will take our last excursion of the day to the summit of Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration and the culminating point of Christ’s public life. Christ revealed his divinity here to three of his apostles as he spoke with the prophets Moses and Elijah. It is also the second time and place where God told people from Heaven that Christ was his beloved Son to whom they should listen. (Matthew 17:5)
Enjoy a scenic morning boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, the setting of so many moments in Christ’s life. We will visit the Church of Peter’s Primacy on the shores of Galilee. A rock at the center of the 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) We 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. After Mass we will visit the synagogue where Jesus taught. At Tabgha, we ponder the site where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed more than 5,000 people. (Luke 9:13) Our last site is the Mount of Beatitudes where Christ gave his famous Sermon of the Mount.
Depart this morning from Tiberias, visiting Magdala, home of St. Mary Magdalene, before driving southwest 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. We will visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat and see the stunning architecture and art of the Byzantine Churches. Continue to Tel Aviv where we enjoy a farewell dinner on out last night in the Holy Land.
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end as we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport to catch out return flight home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Chicago O’Hare to Tel Aviv on Austrian/Swiss Air
- Airport transfers to and from Chicago O’Hare
- 9 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 per itinerary (excluding drinks)
- Middle Eastern dinner on day 6 and farewell dinner on day 10
- These rates are based upon an assumption that the situation in Israel will be free of the government-imposed social distancing restrictions which are currently in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot be held responsible for any increase in these quoted rates in the event that government regulations are not relaxed or further restrictions are put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic that may result in increased operational costs.