Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Jordan - September 18, 2024
Nazareth | Capernaum | Galilee | Jerusalem | Bethlehem
See where Mary stood at the foot of the Cross, touch the stones Christ bled upon, mediate at the tomb he was buried in and later rose. Connect with the holy lives that altered history forever.
Holy Land Pilgrimage Itinerary
Depart on our overnight flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.
Your immersion in ancient Israel where Christ walked begins. After being met by our tour manager, we proceed to the resort town of Netanya where we will spend our ﬁrst night in the Holy Land on the shores of the Mediterranean. (D, Mass)
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. We will visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat and see the stunning architecture and art of the Byzantine Churches. This afternoon we will 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. We will visit Stella Maris, the church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Star of the Sea, located near the cave in which Elijah lived. Then we will continue on to ancient Akko (Acre) which played a pivotal role during the Crusader period. Experience the medieval atmosphere and descend into the subterranean city to visit the fortress of the Hospitallers, the Order of the Knights of St. John. Visit the large halls and imagine the pilgrims, the knights, and the Crusaders dining, celebrating, and running the markets there hundreds of years ago. Return to surface and continue on to Tiberias for check-in at our hotel, our home base for the next three nights. (B, D, Mass)
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. Finally, in Bethsaida we visit the home of Andrew and Peter and marvel at the humble beginnings of two of the greatest disciples, and then drive to Magdala, birthplace of Mary Magdalene, known as “the Apostle to the Apostles” where we will visit the chapel and surrounding ruins. (B, D, Mass)
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. 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) (B, D, Mass)
This morning we celebrate Mass at the Mt. of Beatitudes, where Christ gave his famous Sermon of the Mount, followed by a Holy Hour along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Depart this region and travel south towards Jordan, stopping at Kursi, where Jesus met a possessed man and miraculously cast out a legion of demons into the herd of swine (Luke 8:26). Continue to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge where we will cross from Israel into Jordan and drive to Tell Mar Elias near Ajloun where we will visit the archaeological site and ruins of Byzantine churches, believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Elijah. Close by is Anjara and Our Lady of the Mountain Church, where tradition says Jesus and his mother Mary stopped with his disciples and rested in a cave when they traveled between Jerusalem and Galilee. Today this cave is a holy place for pilgrims – the site of a miracle validated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in which a statue of Our Lady of Anjara wept tears of blood in 2010. Continue on to Amman, the capital of Jordan, and proceed to our hotel for check-in. (B, D, Mass)
This morning we will drive south to Petra, one of the most magnificent sites in the Middle East and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The “Rose Red City” of Petra is literally carved into the sides of a deep gorge and the only entrance is through the “Siq”, a narrow slit in the rock enclosed by beautiful limestone cliffs. Riding on horseback (no riding experience required) between the 100-foot cliffs we will see a remarkable sight: temples, tombs, and dwellings chiseled right into the limestone walls. Following our sightseeing of Petra, we will return to Amman for overnight. (B, D, Mass)
This morning we will depart Amman and visit Bethany beyond the Jordan, the Baptismal Site of our Lord (on the Jordanian side of the 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. Drive south to Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land, but was not permitted to enter, due to his disobedience (Deut 34). After Mass, drive to Madaba, a Byzantine center of master mosaics, to see the oldest surviving map of the Holy Land. Cross the Allenby Bridge from Jordan back into Israel and 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). Go a short distance to Jerusalem for check-in at our hotel, our home base for the next four nights. (B, D, Mass)
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, 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. This afternoon, 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 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. After time for private prayer, we will return to our hotel. (B, D, Mass)
We start the morning at the Tomb of Our Lord in the Holy Sepulchre Church with Mass, followed by time for private prayer and reflection. After a late breakfast at our hotel, we will go to the Temple Area of the Old City to visit the Wailing Wall, a solemn site for the Jewish people and where prayers are inserted between the stones and view the Temple Mount featuring the Dome of the Rock and El Aqsa Mosque. While in the Old City, 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. This afternoon we travel to Mt. Zion, where Christ celebrated the Last Supper in the Upper Room. Together we will then 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– 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. (B, D, Mass)
Prayerfully, this morning 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 was buried and rose from the dead and the Chapel of St. Helena where she found the true cross. 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. (B, D, Mass)
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end. We catch our return flight home from Tel Aviv. (B)