Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land - Tel Aviv (Including Mass)
After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our Franciscan guide or English-speaking Catholic guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage in the Holy Land and Jordan. Depending on your arrival time, you will board our bus and visit Old Jaffa, where Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Church. Next we will travel to ancient Caesarea, where Peter baptized the family of Cornelius, and where Paul was imprisoned for two years before being taken to Rome for trial. We will also visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the ancient port, the amphitheater, and the Crusaders’ Moat. Afterwards, we will drive to our hotel in Tel Aviv where you will check in, followed by dinner together. B.D
Day 2: Haifa - Sea of Galilee - Tiberias (Including Mass)
After a hearty breakfast, if there was no time to do so yesterday, we will drive along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to ancient Caesarea, where Peter baptized the family of Cornelius, and where Paul was imprisoned for two years. We will visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the ancient port, the amphitheater, and the Crusaders’ Moat. Afterwards, we will travel through the Plain of Sharon to the modern port city of Haifa and ascend Mount Carmel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, for a scenic view of the city and the port. We’ll visit the Carmelite basilica, popularly known as Stella Maris and celebrate Mass here. Next we will go to Muhraka, the site of the duel between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. From there, we will drive to our hotel located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias. B.D
Day 3: Nazareth - Tiberias (Including Mass)
This morning we will travel to Cana, the site of the first miracle of Our Lord and visit the Wedding Church, where couples will be invited to renew their wedding vows. We will then drive to Nazareth for Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation. We’ll also visit the home of the Holy Family at the site of St. Joseph’s Church as well as the Crusaders’ Church, built on the site of the synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
In the afternoon we will drive to Sepphoris, traditional site of the birthplace of the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anna, the former capital of Galilee and the probable location where Joseph and Jesus would have most likely practiced the family business. Afterwards, we will ascend Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight before returning to our hotel. B.D
Day 4: Tiberias ( Including Mass)
This morning we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount. Down along the lakeshore, we will come to Tabgha (Seven Springs), the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Next we will visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership of the Church. Here we will pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. We will also take a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where Our Lord called some the apostles, and where we will see the ruins of the 2ndcentury Synagogue (John: 6). It is here that He taught the Good News of our Redemption and cured many people of their afflictions. Next we will proceed to the site of the ancient village of Magdala, where a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.
After lunch at a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will enjoy a boat ride on the peaceful Sea of Galilee, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake, before returning to our hotel. B.D
Day 5: Tiberias - Petra (Including Mass)
Today we will check out of our hotel and drive to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge to cross into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We will continue to Mount Nebo, where Moses viewed the Promised Land. After Mass at the Franciscan Chapel, we will travel south to the ancient city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and settle into our hotel, followed by a Jordanian dinner. B.D
Day 6: Petra - Amman (Including Mass)
This morning we will take a horse-drawn ride through the Siq to the magnificent city of Petra, which was rediscovered in 1912. This “rose-red” city was founded by the Nabatean Arabs as their capital city and lies in a valley enclosed by sandstone cliffs in shades of red, purple and pale yellow. The remains of Petra bear eloquent testimony to its former power, wealth and architecture. We will marvel at the masterpieces of the Treasury, made famous by the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and visit the Monastery, the Triumphal Arch and the Roman Amphitheater. We will then travel through Karak, an ancient walled city steeped in history, and visit a church in Madaba which has a famous ancient mosaic (6th century) of the Holy Land. We will continue on to Amman, the capital of Jordan, which was built by the Romans according to a traditional city plan and which, like Rome, sprawls over seven hills. Following this, we will proceed to our hotel. B.D
Day 7: Amman - Dead Sea Area - Jerusalem (Including Mass)
This morning we will drive to the Jordan River to view Byzantine church ruins where the Byzantine Christians recalled Jesus’ baptism. Nearby is the cave where it is said that John the Baptist stayed. We will then have the opportunity to renew our baptismal promises by the Jordan River. We’ll also stop at Elijah’s Hill, the site from which the great prophet went up into heaven on a fiery chariot. Afterwards, we’ll drive to Allenby Bridge and cross from Jordan into the West Bank and travel to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western World. Here we’ll stop by a sycamore tree and recall the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. From there, we will travel to the site of Old Testament Jericho (Tel es-Sultan), Elisha’s Spring and stop at an Orthodox Monastery very near the site of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert.
After lunch, we will drive to Qumran to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, as well as the ruins of the buildings of the Essene community. Following this, we will stop at the Dead Sea for a unique opportunity to float on its mineral-rich water. A drive through the winding mountain roads will take us to Jerusalem and our hotel. B.D
Day 8: Bethlehem - Jerusalem (Including Mass)
This morning we leave for Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the cradle of Christianity. We will visit the Church of the Nativity, where we will celebrate Mass at the Grotto of Saint Joseph, and, time permitting, join the Franciscans in the noon prayer service that includes a procession to the revered location of Jesus’ birth. We will also visit the Church of the Nativity, the Manger, the Church of St. Catherine, the Grotto of St. Jerome and the Shepherds’ Fields. We will then have lunch at the Casa Nova Hospice in Old Jerusalem, a quaint historic guest house built in the 16th century to accommodate Catholic pilgrims and owned by the Franciscans.
In the afternoon, we’ll drive to the gentle, lush countryside of Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born and we’ll visit the Church of St. John. We’ll also tour the Church of the Visitation, which commemorates the visitation of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth. After enjoying dinner, we will take a holy hour in the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations) around 8 p.m. on the very spot where Jesus asked his apostles “Could you not stay awake for one hour with me?” B.D
Day 9: Jerusalem (Including Mass)
Today we will drive to the Mount of Olives to enjoy the spectacular view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem and stand atop it as Jesus did. Then we will visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster (commemorating the Our Father prayer). Afterwards, we will walk the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem, and proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Basilica of the Agony and the Tomb of Mary. We will then travel to Bethany, home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
In the afternoon we will drive to Emmaus to recall Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the day of His resurrection before returning to our hotel for dinner. B.D
Day 10: Jerusalem (Including Mass) Return to Airport
Early this morning we will have Mass at the Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then return to our hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will drive to Mount Zion to visit the Franciscan Chapel at the Cenacle, then continue to the Upper Room where Our Lord ate the Last Supper with His disciples. Following this, we will visit Dormition Abbey where Mary, mother of Jesus, “fell into eternal sleep”, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the “rooster crowed.”
After lunch, we will walk through the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of the Old City as we visit the Church of St. Anne, the Pool of Bethesda, the Chapel of Flagellation and the Arch of the “Ecce Homo”. We will then pray at the Stations of the Cross as we follow the Via Dolorosa to the holiest shrine in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to visit Golgotha and the Tomb of Our Lord. We will conclude the day with a special farewell dinner (with wine) in your honor at a typical Middle Eastern restaurant. B.D
Late tonight we will drive you to the airport for your return flight home.