Join us on a life-changing pilgrimage to the Holy Land! Msgr Gary Smetanka and Our Lady Star of the Sea parish are excited to invite you on a spiritual journey unlike any other. Over the course of 10 days, you will have the opportunity to walk in the very footsteps of Jesus himself.
Imagine being where Jesus was born, where He grew up, and at the sites where he preached, suffered his Passion, died, and rose again. These significant locations hold immense historical and spiritual importance, and we invite you to experience them firsthand.
As St Jerome wrote, "Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and the one you will find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you." Our pilgrimage is an opportunity to delve deeper into the scriptures and witness the Gospels come alive before your very eyes. Throughout this incredible journey, you can expect to receive incredible graces and blessings from the Holy Spirit. The moments spent in prayer, reflection, and contemplation in the Holy Land will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on your spiritual life.
DAYS 1 & 2, February 3 - 4: USA > The Holy Land
We begin our pilgrimage to The Holy Land with an overnight flight to Israel. On arrival in Tel Aviv we will be met by our Catholic guide and transferred to the Island Suites Hotel on the Mediterranean coast. Dinner will be served at the hotel. D
DAY 3, February 5: Caesarea / Stella Maris (Star of the Sea)/ Cana
Our day begins with a visit to Caesarea Maritima and the impressive archaeological remains of the Roman city including Herod The Great’s Palace. Here, Peter baptized the first Gentiles, and Paul set sail for Rome for his future trial and martyrdom. We then travel to Haifa and Stella Maris Church (Star of the Sea) on Mt Carmel to celebrate Mass, have lunch and visit Elijah’s Cave. We continue on to Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle of turning water into wine. For those who wish, they may perform the renewal of their wedding vows. On to Sofia Hotel on the Sea of Galilee. B | L | D
DAY 4, February 6: Sea of Galilee / Nazareth / Mt Tabor
The day starts with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where we will contemplate Jesus walking on water and coming the storm. Next, it's off to Nazareth where we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation built over the cave where the angel visited Mary. We then travel to Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration, where Jesus revealed His glory. The Basilica was designed to represent the three tents Peter, James and John wished to erect. Back to our hotel for dinner and overnight. B | D
DAY 5, February 7: Sea of Galilee / Caesarea Philippi
After breakfast we visit the Mount of Beatitudes, scene of the Sermon on the Mount. visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, scene of the Sermon on the Mount. Then to Tabgha where Jesus fed the 5,000 and on to the site known as “Peter’s Primacy” where Jesus told Peter to “feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” On to Capernaum where Jesus launched his Ministry; see the synagogue dated to the time of Jesus and the church built over the site of Peter’s home. We celebrate Mass and then enjoy a lunch of St Peter Fish, before going to Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus told St. Peter “You are the Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” B | L | D
DAY 6, February 8: Jordan Valley / Qumran / Dead Sea
After breakfast and Holy Mass at the Duc in Altum Chapel, we depart Galilee and drive south to Jericho, the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, to view the Mt of Temptation and see an example of a Sycamore Tree up which Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus. We will then confirm our baptismal vows at the site where John baptized Jesus before visiting Qumran and learn of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After lunch at Qumran, we will have a float in the Dead Sea, before we drive up to the City of David - Jerusalem. Overnight at the Ambassador Hotel. B | D
DAY 7, February 9: Ein Karem / Bethlehem
We begin the day with a visit to Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist. We visit the church commemorating his memory and the Church of the Visitation where Mary prayed the Magnificat. We then drive to see the cave at the Shepherds’ Field which still has soot marks of the fires the shepherds lighted to keep warm. After lunch at the famous “Tent Restaurant,” we will have time to shop for religious items at a local Christian co-op before going to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. We will descend to the Grotto of the Nativity where Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary. After Mass at the Church of St. Catherine we return to the hotel in Jerusalem. B | L | D
DAY 8, February 10: Mt of Olives/Gethsemane/Mt Zion
We ascend the Mount of Olives to visit the Pater Noster shrine where Jesus taught His disciples The Lord’s Prayer. Walking down the Palm Sunday Road we stop at the beautiful Dominus Flevit Church - “The Lord wept.” We continue to the Garden of Gethsemane and visit the Church of All Nations to pray at the “Rock of Agony,” where Jesus prayed on the night of His arrest. From there, we visit Peter in Gallicantu, “Crowing Rooster,” church built over the site of the house of the High Priest Caiaphas and commemorating Peter’s denial of Jesus. After we celebrate Mass, we visit the Upper Room on Mt Zion. Return to hotel. B | D
DAY 9, February 11: The Old City of Jerusalem
We start our day with an early Holy Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Calvary and the Tomb of Christ. We will then transfer back to the hotel for breakfast and some relaxation before continuing our day at Church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda. We then start the Via Dolorosa at the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. We process through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Lunch on our own in The Old City before we visit the Western Wall. The afternoon is free before our Farewell Dinner. B | D
DAY 10, February 12: Holy Land > Home
Today we transfer to the airport for our flight home after a spiritual journey in the footsteps of Jesus. Shalom and God bless!