SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR A CATHOLIC PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND GROUP TOUR
DEPARTURE TO TEL AVIV
After a warm welcome upon arrival at your airport for departure to Tel Aviv, you will board your flight bound for the Holy Land.
A meal will be served on board.
TEL AVIV / CAESAREA / MT CARMEL / CANA / TIBERIAS
Upon our arrival in Tel Aviv, we board our tour bus and drive north to Caesarea Maritime where St. Paul was imprisoned, tried, and sent from this Mediterranean harbor to Rome. We visit one of Herod the Great’s palaces and see the ruins of the ancient amphitheater next to the ocean. From there, we stop at the Stella Maris, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the home of the prophet, Elijah. Next, we visit Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle, changing the water into wine. Here, the group will celebrate Holy Mass here before continuing on to Tiberias for hotel check in and Welcome Dinner.
THE ROAD TO THE GALILEE
We spend the morning in Nazareth, where Jesus lived as a child, growing up amongst the other children of the city, and later working with Joseph who was a carpenter.
It is here in the Church of the Annunciation just behind the altar where you can see the grotto where Mary said “yes” to the angel of the Lord. We visit St. Joseph’s carpentry shop and Mary’s well. Then, we travel on to Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration. The church, built by the Franciscans in the early 20’s, carefully incorporated the remains of previous churches into its construction. From there, we stop at the River Jordan to renew our baptismal promises before we return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Today we visit Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered perhaps the most significant sermon ever preached – “The Sermon On The Mount”. Here, we contemplate and reflect through prayer before continuing to Capernaum, the town where Peter lived and where Jesus based his Galilean ministry. We visit the ruins of the town and gain an understanding of why Jesus focused his ministry here, where ancient Judaism flourished. We will visit the Synagogue where Jesus healed and taught, and also Peter’s house. We proceed to Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, we will also visit the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy, where Jesus appeared after the Resurrection. We enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the lovely Sea of Galilee and a visit to the ancient boat at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar, which was dated back to the time of Christ.
We conclude our day with dinner and overnight at the hotel in Tiberias.
After breakfast, we board our bus and venture further north to visit Caesarea Philippi, just north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Herman. It is here you will see one of the main springs of the Jordan River. Caesarea Philippi, also called “Banias”, is the site where St. Peter gave his testimony and where Jesus answered him, “You are the Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church.” From there, we visit Bethsiada and Chorazin, Galilean towns where Jesus did much of his teaching.
We return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
TIBERIAS / BET SHEAN / JERICHO / BETHANY / JERUSALEM
After breakfast this morning, we depart Tiberias and travel south toward Jerusalem. We stop in Bet Shean, where King Saul and his sons were pinned to the walls. It became the Decapolis Capital visited by Jesus and known as Scythopolis. We see the ancient theatre, Circus Maximus and Cardo Maximo. From there, we stop in Jericho, the world’s oldest city. From the excavated tel atop the ruins of ancient Jericho, we view the lush green Jordan Valley, Elisha’s spring and Qarantal, the Mount of Temptation. Next, we proceed to Bethany, home of Mary and Martha.
We visit the Tomb of Lazarus before we continue to Jerusalem to celebrate Holy Mass.
After Mass, we check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning, we visit Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist and Church of the Visitation where Mary uttered the words of the Magnificat. From there, we visit the New City of Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the Upper Room, Dormition Abbey. We continue to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, the Manger, the Crusader’s Cloister and the Grotto of St. Jerome. We then visit the cave in Shepherd’s Field and view the Fields of Boaz.
We will stop for shopping in Bethlehem and return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Early this morning, we follow the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) through the old city to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where we pray on top the Rock of Calvary, inside the Lord’s tomb and celebrate Holy Mass. After Mass, we return to our hotel for breakfast. Then, we drive to the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. We visit the Church of Pater Noster and the Chapel of Ascension and then we walk down the hill to Dominus Flevit Chapel, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations where Jesus endured his Agony. This afternoon, we visit Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”) and the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. Dinner and overnight.
This morning we stop for a brief view of the Model of the City of Jerusalem at Jesus’ time. At the same location, we (briefly) visit the Shrine of the Book, where we see the Dead Sea Scrolls on display. From there, we visit the Church of St. Peter of Gallicantu (The Cock Crows) where Jesus was held in the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. Crossing the Kidron Valley, we pass the tombs of Absalom, Zechariah and St. James then visit the Pool of Siloam. This afternoon we enter the Old City through the Zion Gate and see the Cardo and the remains of Nehemiah’s Wall on the way to the Western (Wailing) Wall. We will visit the Davidson Center and the Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda.
Dinner and overnight Jerusalem.
Transfer to the airport for your departing flight.
We will arrive home with memories of a truly inspiring and unforgettable tour of the Holy Land, knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians. Such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Christian life.