Pilgrimage to the Holy Land - April 2, 2024
Nazareth | Capernaum | Mt. of Beatitudes | Petra
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.
After arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, our immersion in the land of Israel where Christ walked begins. We will make our own way to the hotel in Tel Aviv and meet our fellow pilgrims at a welcome reception this evening.
After breakfast, we will meet our guide who will be with us for the duration of the pilgrimage and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We travel north to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. Visit the Basilica of the Annunciation that holds the Cave of the Annunciation 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. This afternoon, journey to Cana in Galilee to pray where Jesus performed His first miracle, turning the water into wine. (John 2) If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows here as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. Our last excursion of the day is to the summit of Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration in which his appearance was radiantly transformed. (Mt 17.1-9, Mk 9.2-10, Lk. 9.28-26) Proceed to our hotel in Tiberias, our home for the next three nights. (B, D, Mass)
This morning we enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, the setting of 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. We proceed to Tabgha to ponder the site where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish to feed more than 5,000 people (Luke 9:13), then continue to Capernaum – the center of Jesus’s three-year public ministry. 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. We will visit the synagogue where Jesus taught and then proceed to our last site of this grace-filled day – the Mount of Beatitudes where Christ gave His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7) Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D, Mass)
This morning 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). Journey to Bethsaida where we visit the home of Andrew and Peter and marvel at the humble beginnings of two of the greatest disciples, followed by Chorazin, cursed by Jesus for their lack of faith (Lk. 10). Return to our hotel, where we will have the balance of the day free for personal prayer and reflection along the shores of the Sea of Galilee on our last evening in this region. Dinner tonight will be on our own to explore some of the regional cuisine and spend time with each other sharing our experiences of the past few days. (B, Mass)
This morning we celebrate Mass at the Mt. of Beatitudes. Depart this region and travel south towards Jordan, stopping at Kursi, where Jesus met a possessed man and 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 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. Continue south to the shores of the Dead Sea, and proceed to our hotel near its uplifting waters 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. Walking 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 our hotel along the shores of the Dead Sea. Dinner tonight will be on our own. (B, Mass)
This morning we will depart our hotel and journey north to 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 Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. (Mark 1:9) 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. We then 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)
This morning we drive to Ein Karem, where St. John the Baptist was born. Pray at the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her service to God in her Magnificat prayer after traveling to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. Afterwards, journey to 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 also visit the Milk Grotto Chapel, where Christian tradition says the Holy Family found refuge during the massacre of the Innocents before they could flee to Egypt, before returning to Jerusalem. (B, D, Mass)
We begin this morning at 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. 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)
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 in His crown of thorns and with His body torn after his 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 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. After ample time for personal prayer and reflection, we will go to the Temple Area of the Old City to visit the Wailing Wall, a solemn site for the Jewish people and the last remaining section of the temple that stood during Jesus’ time. We will also view the Temple Mount featuring the Dome of the Rock and El Aqsa Mosque. This evening we enjoy a traditional Middle Eastern farewell dinner and have time to reflect upon all our experiences of this pilgrimage. (B, D, Mass)
Our time pondering the wonder and awe of the Holy Land comes to an end. We transfer to Tel Aviv catch our return flight home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Missoula
- Jordan entry visa and border crossing taxes
- 10 nights’ accommodation, 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 as per itinerary (excluding drinks)
- Middle Eastern dinner on day 11