Holy Land Pilgrimage - March 16, 2020
Jerusalem | Galilee | Cana
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
Depart on our overnight flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.
After arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, our immersion in ancient Israel where Christ walked begins. Meet our guide, who will make the Scriptures come alive for us as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the Apostles, and the Prophets. We will transfer to our hotel in Jerusalem, our home for the next five 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 Pater Noster, where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray the “Our Father,” and the 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 Christ wept over Jerusalem and her future destruction. Then enter into the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ had His agony and was betrayed. Here we have Mass in the Church of All Nations at the Rock of Agony, the very rock Christ prayed at 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.
An exciting and full-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, is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. We will continue to see Pilate’s Judgement Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, where Pilate said, “Behold the man,” with Jesus standing before the crowds wearing His crown of thorns with His body torn after the scourging. 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 and 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. In the Old City, we have the opportunity to pray at the Wailing Wall, the last remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem. Our afternoon begins with a trip to the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man, followed by our travels to Mt. Zion, where Christ celebrated the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Together we will journey to pray the Rosary at the Church of the Dormition, 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– commemorating the place where Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26).
We travel outside of Jerusalem today to the city of Bethlehem, whose name means “House of Bread,” reminding us that our Lord is the Bread of Life. Here we visit the Nativity Church that sits above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ Birth. Ponder the Manger, the 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, and the Shepherd’s Fields, where the angels proclaimed the Gloria, announcing the birth of Christ to the poor shepherds. After enjoying some free time in Bethlehem, we our return to Jerusalem, where the remainder of the day will be free for personal activities.
This morning, we drive to Bethany to see the House of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus where Jesus raised him from the dead. This is where Jesus declared to Martha that he is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). Then we will journey through the Judean Wilderness along the Dead Sea to Masada. An exciting cable car ride to the ancient mountaintop fortress of the Jewish Zealots shows where they held out in war with the Romans for three brave years. Travel up to Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and end our day at Dead Sea to float and swim in its salty, mineral-laden waters before returning to Jerusalem.
We rise early today to celebrate an early morning Mass at the Tomb of Our Lord in the Holy Sepulchre Church. After a late breakfast at our hotel, we depart for 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). Jesus passed through Jericho many times on His way to Jerusalem. From Jericho we ascend the Mount of Temptation, where Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days to resist the devil. We will continue our journey 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 Tiberias for check-in at our hotel located on the Sea of Galilee – our home for the next 4 nights.
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 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 of this wonderous day is the Mount of Beatitudes where Christ gave his famous Sermon on the Mount.
We drive to Cana in Galilee to pray where Jesus performed his first miracle, at the request of his mother, Mary, by 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. Celebrate Mass in the Church of the Annunciation that holds the Cave of the Annunciation, 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).
We will begin our day by driving to Kursi where Jesus met a possessed man and miraculously cast out a legion of demons into the herd of swine (Luke 8:26). 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). Return to Tiberias with the remainder of your day free for personal activities of your choice.
Depart this morning from Tiberias, driving west to the sparkling port city of Haifa where we will ascend Mt. Carmel, the sacred mountain home of Elijah and Elisha. Visit the world center of the Carmelite order at their monastery and see the cave in which Elijah lived. Venerate the site where the Prophet Elijah contested 450 prophets of Baal proclaiming, “The Lord, He is God” (1 Kings 18). Then drive south 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 and Crusader’s Moat, and see the stunning architecture and art of the Byzantine Churches. Continue to Tel Aviv for our last night in the Holy Land.
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end. We catch our return flight home from Tel Aviv.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Chicago O’Hare to Tel Aviv on LOT Polish Airlines
- 10 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)
- Middle Eastern dinner on day 6