The Royal Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan traces its history back 9000 years. In the fertile Jordan Valley, nomadic hunter-gatherers settled and built the world’s first cities. The valley became the great trade highway of the ancient world and centuries before Christ, the Nabataeans built a nation on the profits of the caravan trade, and at Petra, they carved streets, palaces, temples and dwellings from the rock of the craggy mountains south of the Dead Sea.
Petra is the highpoint of any visit to Jordan, but the country offers much more. Contrast the Decapolis city of Jerash with the desert castles of the Crusaders and Omayyad Caliphs; the mosaics of Madaba and Mount Nebo with the red sands of Wadi Rhum; the wonder of the Dead Sea with the snow-capped summit of Mount Hermon.
Since our youth we have been hearing the gospel stories about Jesus walking and teaching in Jerusalem, Capernaum, and Galilee. He worked miracles around the Sea of Tiberius, Jericho and Cana. He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and was crucified at Golgotha. We will be seeing those places and much more. Our visit will give us an opportunity of walking in the footsteps of Jesus, our Blessed Mother and the first disciples.
DAY 1 DEPARTURE: Depart for your overnight flights to Amman. Dinner on-board, relax, and anticipate your arrival tomorrow morning.
DAY 2 ARRIVAL IN AMMAN JORDAN: Once we arrive to Amman, we will meet our Holy Land Travel Center representative who will remain with us for the duration of the tour.
DAY 3 PETRA: After breakfast we depart for Petra. Upon arrival, we enjoy a walking tour. It begins with a walk through the Siq to the Treasury. Continue through the main street with the magnificent structures on each side carved into the mountains, to the colonnaded street, ending at the Petra museum. Lose yourself in the history of the Nabateans who meticulously carved massive structures out of the rose colored sandstone. See the influence of the people that followed including the architecture of the mighty Romans and a beautiful Byzantine chapel decorated with ancient, stunning mosaics that have been carefully preserved.
DAY 4 KERAK, MADEBA, MT NEBO: After breakfast, we depart for the “King’s Highway.” We will first visit Kerak including the Castle of Kerak, the largest of mountain-top crusader castles. Next we are off to Madeba, “The City of Mosaics,” to visit St. George Church where there is a clear map of the Holy Land (including Israel,Palestine and Lower Egypt). We will visit Mt. Nebo, where Moses was laid to rest, and where the late Pope John Paul II tread on his first pilgrimage of the millennium. Visit the Sanctuary at Nebo: the memorial of Moses, the presumed site of his death and burial place, and a center for the pilgrimages since early Christian times. You’ll be inspired by the biblical feel from start to finish as you experience this divine tour. Mount Nebo is one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan, for this is where Moses was buried. The site’s association with the last days of Moses is described in moving words in Deuteronomy. The episode of Balak and Balam (2:13-26) also took place here. The site’s other name is Pisgah: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah which is opposite Jericho.”
DAY 5 JERASH, MT. TABOR: After breakfast we depart to Jerash. Nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world, outside Italy. Later, we cross the Jordanian-Israeli border and head towards Mt Tabor. Mt Tabor is the site of the Transfiguration of Christ. Here we will have Mass.
DAY 6 THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST IN THE GALILEE: TIBERIAS, BOAT RIDE ON SEA OF GALILEE, CAPERNAUM, MT. OF 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 7 GALILEE: CAESAREA, MT CARMEL, STELLA MARIS, CANA, NAZARETH, BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION: This morning we 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. Drive through the Carmel Mountains heading to Haifa. Once in Haifa, we visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. We travel towards the coast to Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Visit the Roman and Crusader ruins. Continue to Muhraka where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal and where the Carmelite Order was started.
DAY 8 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, we 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. Mass in Bethlehem or the Shepherds Fields.
DAY 9 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 visiting 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 10 THE WAY OF THE CROSS: VIA DOLOROSA, 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 breakfast 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 go to Dormition Abbey where we believe the Blessed Mary died. We end the day at St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied Him thrice.
DAY 11 THE WILDERNESS: BETHANY, JERICHO, MT TEMPTATION, JORDAN RIVER, DEAD SEA: We begin our day with a visit to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. 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. We then visit the Jordan River and the authentic baptismal site of Our Lord. 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.
DAY 12 RETURN HOME: We bid farewell to the Holy Land and will remember our pilgrimage for a lifetime.