Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Tiberias
On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our Franciscan priest guide or Catholic guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage in the Holy Land. You will travel by bus to our hotel in Tiberias, located directly on the Sea of Galilee, check in, and enjoy dinner together.
Day 2: Nazareth / Tiberias (including Mass)
After a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel, we will head to Nazareth with a stop in Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle during the wedding feast. Here, couples who wish to do so can renew their wedding vows before a priest. We then continue on 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, which is very close to the Basilica. A short walk will take us to the Crusader 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 travel to Sepphoris, the former capital of Galilee and the traditional site of the birthplace of the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anna, and the probable location where Joseph and Jesus would have likely practiced the family business. After a lunch break, we will ascend Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight before returning to Tiberias.
Day 3: Sea of Galilee / Tiberias (including Mass)
This morning we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, we will celebrate Mass. Afterwards we will reach a site along the water named Tabgha (Seven Springs). There, our first stop will be 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, followed by a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where we will see the ruins of the 2nd-century Synagogue (John: 6). Here our Lord called some of the apostles in Capernaum, taught the Good News of our Redemption, and cured many people of their afflictions. On the site of the ancient village of Magdala a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.
After lunch in a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will drive to the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we will enjoy a peaceful boat ride, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake. The day will conclude with a drive back to our hotel in Tiberias.
Day 4: Tiberias (including Mass) / Jerusalem
After breakfast, we will follow the Jordan River south from the Sea of Galilee through its fertile valley. Near Jericho, we will stop on the bank of the Jordan River to recall Our Lord’s Baptism by St. John. Those who wish may renew their own Baptismal Promises. Then we’ll stop by a sycamore tree to 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 visit an Orthodox Monastery very near the site of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert.
On the drive to Jerusalem, we will stop for Mass at Bethany, home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus before checking into our hotel.
Day 5: Bethlehem (including Mass) / Jerusalem
Today, after traveling a short distance south of Jerusalem, we will arrive in Bethlehem. We begin with a visit in the countryside of the Shepherds’ Fields to recall the Angels’ glad tidings to the shepherds. Within the town of Bethlehem, we will go to venerate the Holy Grotto of the Nativity and attend Mass, and view the Manger and the Grotto of St. Jerome. We also will see the Franciscan church of St. Catherine, scene of Bethlehem’s Christmas Midnight Mass.
This afternoon we will drive to Ein Karem to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Visitation Church, where we will praise God with the Magnificat, before returning to our hotel.
Day 6: Jerusalem (including Mass)
This morning we will drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a spectacular view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem and stand where Jesus did. We will also visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster (commemorating the Our Father prayer). During our walk on the Palm Sunday Road, we will visit the chapel of Dominus Flevit. There, too, we will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem. We will then continue down the road to the Garden of Gethsemane and visit the Basilica of the Agony and the Tomb of Mary.
This afternoon we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem at St. Stephen’s Gate, where our first stop is the Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Next, we will follow the Way of the Cross, carrying a wooden cross along the streets and among the markets and shops as Jesus did on His journey to Calvary following the Via Dolorosa. We will then enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and inside, visit Golgotha and complete our devotions at the Sacred Tomb of Jesus. After dinner, around 8 p.m., we will come together in a holy hour in the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations) on the very spot where Jesus asked His apostles “Could you not stay awake for one hour with me?”
Day 7: Jerusalem (including Mass)
This morning we will make our way to the sacred Jewish Temple area, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), where prayers are offered at these remaining holy stones of the glorious second Temple. Today, the only structures left standing on the Temple Mount are the Moslem Shrines of the Dome of the Rock and el-Aqsa Mosque. We will then drive along the walls of the Old City to Mount Zion and visit the nearby traditional site of the Upper Room, remembering the Last Supper, Easter Sunday night and Pentecost Sunday. Nearby, we will see Dormition Abbey Church that honors the passage of Our Lady from this life to Heaven. This afternoon, we will continue our travels to Emmaus to recall Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the day of His resurrection.
Day 8: 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. Following Mass, we will return to our hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will drive through the Judean Wilderness to Qumran to visit the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the ruins of the buildings of the Essene community. From there, we will proceed to the Dead Sea for a unique opportunity to float in its mineral-rich water. A drive through the winding mountain roads will take us back to Jerusalem. For the rest of the afternoon, you will be free to discover and enjoy this fascinating city on your own.
This evening, a special farewell dinner including wine has been arranged in your honor at a typical Middle Eastern restaurant. Late tonight, we will drive you to the airport for your return flight home.
Holy Land Catholic Program
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