A 9-Day Holy Land Pigrimage

Holy Land Pilgrimage Sites Including:

Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Nazareth, Cana, Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Beatitudes, Tabgha, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, the Jordan River, Jericho, Bethlehem, Masada, Qumran, the Dead Sea, Bethany, Jerusalem, Emmaus, Ein Karem, Mount Zion & more.

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Day 1 Monday
Tour members gather for our transatlantic flight to our Holy Land pilgrimage. Meals are served onboard.

Day 2 Tuesday
Today we arrive in Tel Aviv. We are met by our Pilgrimage Tours’ tour escort and taken through customs. We then board our motor coach to transfer to our hotel on the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv.

Day 3 Wednesday
After breakfast, we begin our Holy Land pilgrimage. We drive north along the sand dunes of the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea by the Sea.  King Herod the Roman style beachfront city just a decade before the birth of Jesus. The spectacular ruins were once the home of Pontius Pilate and the site of the trial of the Apostle Paul. Ascending the heights of Mount Carmel for one Israel’s best views high above the Mediterranean we see the place where the prophet Elijah was instrumental in the defeat of the prophets of Ba’al. Here we visit the shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and see Elijah’s Cave. Next we visit Haifa, where we see the St. Peter by the Sea Shrine. We continue on to Nazareth where Jesus grew up.  We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation, where the archangel Gabriel told Mary that she would “bring forth a son”. After visits to Mary’s Well and the Church of St. Joseph, site of Joseph’s carpentry shop, we proceed to Cana where for a renewal of wedding vows where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at the wedding feast. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.

Day 4 Thursday
After breakfast we depart for the Beatitudes.  The ’Sermon on the Mount’ is retold while standing on the Mount of Beatitudes looking out over the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee. Next we take a classic boat ride across the tranquil waters of the Sea of Galilee recalling the miracle of walking on water and calling on Peter and Andrew to become ‘fishers of men’. Next we see Tabgha (Heptagagon, “seven springs”), where the multiplication of the loaves and fishes is commemorated in the mosaic floors of the historic Church. We visit the nearby Church of the Primacy on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  It is here where Peter received his commission from Jesus to “feed my lambs”. Next, in the town where Jesus’ ministry was centered, Capernaum, we see the remains of an early Church, the ruins of Peter’s House, and the ancient synagogue where Jesus preached. Here we celebrate Mass. Next we enjoy our “St. Peter’s Lunch” on the Sea of Galilee. The remainder of our day is free to enjoy as we choose. Dinner and overnight at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias.

Day 5 Friday
We leave Galilee for our journey to Judea through Samaria. En route we ascend Mount Tabor- the Mount of Transfiguration. We see the place of the transfiguration in one of the most beautiful churches in the Holy Land at the summit of the dome like mountain. Here we enjoy a celebration of Mass. Next we descend to the Jordan River to experience the place where John the Baptist immersed Jesus.  Here we renew our baptismal promises in the cleansing waters. A drive through the lush Jordan valley brings us to the oldest city in the world, Jericho, where you can still see pot shards and walk on actual remains of the famed wall that came “tumblin’ down”. From Jericho, we enter the harshness of the Judean desert that underscores the trying moment at the Mount of Temptation where, after 40 days of fasting, Jesus was tempted by Satan and prevailed. We turn toward Jerusalem via the Old Roman Road.  There we will see the Monastery of St. George built up against the cliffs above the Wadi Qelt. We arrive in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.

Day 6 Saturday
Our day begins with a dramatic view of the walled Old City of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives where we participate in a group photo. This is followed by a visit to the Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught the “Our Father”, and the Chapel of the Ascension. Next we walk down the hill known as the “Palm Sunday Road”, to Dominus Flevit Chapel on the site where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. A stop at the Church of the Assumption is the beautiful place of the Tomb of the Virgin Mary. Next, we proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to celebrate Mass outdoors, followed by a visit to the Church of All Nations. Next we arrive at the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu the House of Caiaphas. We see the place of the trial of Jesus and where Peter denied Christ three times. Next we travel the short route to the Shepherd’s Valley Tourist Village for lunch. At the Shepherd’s Field, we see caves that were typical of the stables of Jesus’ time. It is here where the angel appeared to the shepherds and led them to Bethlehem. Next we arrive in Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus.  We will spend some time in prayer at the site of Jesus’ birth inside the Church of the Nativity. Right next-door, visit the St. Catherine’s, the Grotto of the Holy Family, and the Cave of St. Jerome. While in Bethlehem, we have time for shopping beautiful Olive wood carvings and other Israeli crafts in Bethlehem. We depart Manger Square and return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.

Day 7 Sunday
This morning we enter through the Dung Gate and go up to the Western Wall of the Temple, currently Judaism’s holiest site where people from around the world come to pray. Next we visit the Temple Mount, site of the first and second Jewish temples and now the Dome of the Rock. Next we pay a visit to St. Anne’s and an opportunity to sing a hymn and then see the open air Pool of Bethesda.   Jesus performed a miracle cure and the infirm have sought healing at the site for centuries. Next we recall the final hours of Jesus’ life at Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of the Ecce Homo “Behold, the man”, the Lithostrotos where we see the ancient carvings in the stone floor of the basement. From here we will walk and pray along one of the most important Holy Land pilgrimage sites, the Via Dolorosa the “Stations of the Cross” where Jesus carried and fell beneath the weight of his cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We’ll celebrate Mass in this most holy of places followed by some time to explore this place of Jesus’ tomb. From here we walk the “Cardo” and enter the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to explore its shops and culture. The rest of our afternoon is at leisure for prayer and reflection. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 8 Monday
After breakfast, we journey east into the Southern Judean Desert. At Masada we ascend by cable car on a spectacular ride to the top of the fortress palace of Herod. Jewish Zealots were attacked during the Roman siege of Masada from 70-73 AD. We see the remains of the fortifications, synagogue, storehouses, cisterns, and the 6th century Byzantine Church. Next at Qumran you will look, literally only a stones throw away, into the cave where the original Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Interestingly, they were found when a Bedouin boy broke a clay jar by throwing a stone into the cave. Next, its beach time at the Dead Sea the absolute lowest point on Earth where the salty water is so buoyant that sinking is IMPOSSIBLE. Returning towards Jerusalem, on the Eastern slope of the Mount of Olives we will see the home of Mary and Martha and the Tomb of Lazarus where Jesus “cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth” and Lazarus was risen from the dead. We have dinner and stay overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.

Days 9 & 10 Tuesday & Wednesday
This morning we will visit a couple of important museums. First we visit the Israeli Museum and see its model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus, as well as the “Shrine of the Book”, with its Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, followed by a visit to nearby Yad V’shem Museum, Israel’s “national holocaust museum”. Next we arrive in Ein Karem in time for lunch, followed by a visit to the birthplace of John the Baptist, and to the Church of the Visitation, where we celebrate Mass. It is here where the Blessed Virgin Mary proclaimed her famous hymn of thanksgiving known as the Magnificat. Next we visit Mount Zion where we find The Upper Room, (Room of the Last Supper and Pentecost) a place of prayer, song and praise. One of Jerusalem’s landmarks, the Dormition Abbey represents Mary having passed into eternal life, asleep, in grand Byzantine décor. The remainder of our afternoon is free for further exploration around Jerusalem’s many holy places. This evening we enjoy a “Farewell Dinner” at a local restaurant. Following dinner, we proceed to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for our late night return flight to the United States, arriving the following morning. Though we come to the end of our Holy Land pilgrimage, our faith is deepened, our hearts stirred. Reading our Bible and seeking Christ as pilgrims in this life will forever take on new meaning for every one of us.

Holy Land Pilgrimage
Israel Pilgrimage tour
Catholic pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Pilgrimage tour to Israel
Jerusalem travel
Pope at Jerusalem Western Wall
Mount Zion