The urge to travel is as old as humanity itself, and over the course of history, no destination has been a more obvious choice for pilgrimage, tourism, or adventure than the Holy City of Jerusalem. It is the dream of every Christian, Jew, and Muslim to visit Jerusalem, the focal point of a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the religious center for these three monotheistic religions.
DAY 1 DEPARTURE: Depart for your overnight flights to Tel Aviv. Dinner on-board, relax, and anticipate your arrival tomorrow morning.
DAY 2 ARRIVAL IN THE HOLY LAND: Upon arrival into Tel Aviv, we will be greeted by our guide and transfer to our hotel on the coast.
DAY 3 GALILEE: CAESAREA, MT CARMEL, STELLA MARIS, CANA, NAZARETH, BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION: We travel via the coast to Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Visit the Roman and Crusader ruins. Drive through the Carmel Mountains heading for the Galilee. In Haifa, visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. Continue to Mukhraka where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal and where the Carmelite Order was started. Drive to Cana, the village of Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine; here couples may renew their wedding vows. Continue to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth where we will celebrate Mass and visit Mary’s well and the Church of the Angel Gabriel.
DAY 4 THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST IN THE GALILEE: TIBERIAS, BOAT RIDE ON SEA OF GALILEE, CAPERNAUM, MT. BEATITUDES, CAESAREA PHILIPPI: Some of today’s highlights are a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the synagogue and St Peter’s house, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter’s Primacy where Peter was told ” Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” There will be an unforgettable Mass near the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy or Mt Beatitudes. In the afternoon we visit Caesarea Philippi, location of the testimony of St. Peter and where Jesus answered him “You are the Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church.”
DAY 5 JORDAN RIVER & MT TABOR: We start the day by going remembering our Baptism at the Jordan River. Continue to Mount Tabor, scene of the Transfiguration, where we will have Mass. Drive down the Jordan Valley and head towards Jerusalem.
DAY 6 JERUSALEM AND BETHLEHEM: MT OLIVES, CHURCH OF VISITATION, SHEPHERD’S FIELDS, CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY: On the first day in Jerusalem we present an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area. This includes a dramatic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, revealing a city with 4000 years of history. From this vantage point see much of what makes Jerusalem such a unique city to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the ‘Magnificat’. In the afternoon we drive to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born.
DAY 7 JERUSALEM, THE PASSION OF JESUS’ LAST HOURS: MT OLIVES, PALM SUNDAY, DOMINUS FLEVIT, GETHSEMANE, CAVE OF BETRAYAL, CAVE OF ASSUMPTION, PATER NOSTER: We begin our day with a visit to the Mt. of Olives to walk the Palm Sunday route stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then to Gethsemane, the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed His last prayer before his arrest. Visit the cave of betrayal then the cave of Assumption of Mary to heaven. Back on the Mt of Olives we visit the Pater Noster with the Lord’s Prayer in many languages, and the Ascension from where ascended to Heaven.
DAY 8 THE WAY OF THE CROSS: VIA DELLA ROSA, ST ANNE’S CHURCH, ECCE HOMO, CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER, WAILING WALL, UPPER ROOM, DORMITION: Early in the morning we retrace the last steps of Jesus. As we walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross, we reflect on the greatness of His sacrifice. Finally we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. After break-fast at our hotel we return to the Old City of Jerusalem to visit St. Anne’s Church, the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents Saints Joachim and Anne. We pass the Ecce Homo where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man”; then the Wailing Wall, the most holy place for Jews. Nearby is the Dome of the Rock and the Haram al Sharif or Temple Mount. We exit at Mt Zion. At the Cenacle we visit the Upper Room of the Last Supper. Next we visit the Dormition Abbey where we believe the Blessed Mary died. We end the day at St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied Him thrice.
DAY 9 THE WILDERNESS: BETHANY, JERICHO, MT TEMPTATION, AND THE DEAD SEA: We begin our day with a visit to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The desert east of Jerusalem is rich in Christian tradition. Further east, just off the Roman road that Jesus ‘walked’, is Wadi Qelt gorge, site of the Monastery of St George. At the oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt. Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, renowned for its healing properties. In the afternoon, there will be time for you to revisit some of your favorite sites and time for last minute buying of gifts for your loved ones.
DAY 10 RETURN TO THE US: Today we bid farewell to the Holy Land and will remember our pilgrimage for a lifetime.