A Catholic Pilgrimage Tour to The Holy Land
Including Tel Aviv, Caesarea Maritima, Haifa, Mount Carmel, Tiberias, Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Cana, Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, the Jordan River, Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bethany, Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, the Dead Sea, Emmaus, Ein Karem & more.
Under the spiritual direction of Fr. Norman Fischer
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June 6, 2018 – Wednesday
CINCINNATI / TEL AVIV
Tour members gather at Newark Liberty Airport for our direct flight to the Holy Land. Meals are served onboard our flight.
June 7, 2018 – Thursday
TEL AVIV / CAESAREA MARITIMA / HAIFA / MOUNT CARMEL / TIBERIAS
This morning we arrive in Tel Aviv. We are met by our Pilgrimage Tours’ tour escort and board our motor coach. We drive north along the sand dunes of the Mediterranean coast to visit Caesarea Maritima, built by King Herod 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. Next we visit Haifa, where we see the Saint Peter by the Sea Shrine. 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 will visit the Stella Maris Monastery and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We continue on to the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
June 8, 2018 – Friday
TIBERIAS / NAZARETH / CANA / TEL DAN / CAESAREA PHILIPPI
Following breakfast, we drive to Nazareth where Jesus spent his childhood. Here we will visit and 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 Saint Joseph, site of Joseph’s carpentry shop, we proceed to Cana for a renewal of wedding vows in the church where Jesus performed his first miracle, by turning water into wine at the Wedding Feast. In the afternoon we visit the nature park of Tel Dan as well as Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where Saint Peter proclaimed that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus “conferred the keys” of the Kingdom of Heaven upon Peter and said to Peter “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church”. We return to Tiberias with a drive through the Golan Heights and a stop at the Plain of Bethsaida. We return to the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
June 9, 2018 – Saturday
TIBERIAS / MOUNT of BEATITUDES / TABGHA / CAPERNAUM
Our day of sightseeing begins with a drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, where we retell the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ while overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee. Following Mass, we visit 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 where Peter received his commission from Jesus to “feed my lambs”. Next we enjoy our “St. Peter’s lunch” on the Sea of Galilee. In the afternoon, we arrive in the town where Jesus’ ministry was centered, Capernaum, where we see the remains of an early Church, the ruins of Peter’s House, and the ancient synagogue where Jesus preached. Our day concludes with 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’. In Nof Ginosar we see the remains of an ancient boat from the 1st century, known as the celebrated “Jesus Boat”. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
June 10, 2018 – Sunday
MOUNT TABOR / JORDAN RIVER / JERICHO / JERUSALEM
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. Next we descend to the Jordan River to Yardenit, where Jesus was immersed in the waters by John the Baptist. Here we renew our own baptismal promises in the cleansing waters. A drive through the lush Jordan valley brings us to the oldest city in the world, Jericho, where the famed walls came “tumblin’ down”. We celebrate Mass in Jericho at the Good Shepherd Church. In Jericho, we will see the famous Sycamore tree that Zaccheus climbed in order to see Jesus. 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 and arrive for dinner and overnight.
June 11, 2018 – Monday
JERUSALEM / BETHLEHEM / MOUNT OF OLIVES
Our day begins with a short drive to the Shepherd’s Field with its 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. Here we pause for our own celebration of Mass. Following Mass, we make the short drive to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, and visit Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. Here we will see the Grotto of the Holy Family and the Cave of St. Jerome. We also visit the adjacent St. Catherine’s Church. While in Bethlehem, we have time for shopping beautiful Olive wood carvings, crafts and other artwork. In the afternoon, we return to Jerusalem and arrive at the Mount of Olives, with its dramatic view of the walled Old City of Jerusalem. 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. We visit the beautiful Church of the Assumption where we see the Tomb of the Virgin Mary. Finally, we visit the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus suffered his agony. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
June 12, 2018 – Tuesday
JERUSALEM / MOUNT ZION
Early this morning we visit St. Anne’s Church as well as the adjacent, open air Pool of Bethesda where Jesus performed a miracle cure and the infirm have sought healing for centuries. Next we recall the final hours of Jesus’ life at Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation and 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 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”, the ancient Roman road towards the Western Wall of the Temple or “Wailing Wall”, currently Judaism’s holiest site where people from around the world come to pray. In the afternoon, we will visit Mount Zion and the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu – the House of Caiaphas, the place of the trial of Jesus and where Peter denied Christ three times. From here we arrive at 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. We also visit King David’s tomb. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
June 13, 2018 – Wednesday
BETHANY / MASADA / EIN GEDI / QUMRAN / THE DEAD SEA
Following breakfast, our day begins with a visit to Bethany to 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. Following Mass at the Church of Saint Lazarus, we proceed to Masada, where we ascend by cable car on a spectacular ride to the top of the fortress palace of Herod, which was made famous by Jewish Zealots during the Roman siege from 70-73 AD. We see the remains of the fortifications, synagogue, storehouses, cisterns, and the 6th century Byzantine Church. Next we enjoy a visit to desert oasis Ein Gedi with its waterfall and fresh water pool where those who wish may enter its refreshing waters. In Qumran, we literally look 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. Our day concludes with some beach time at the Dead Sea – the absolute lowest point on Earth where the salty water is so buoyant that sinking is IMPOSSIBLE. We return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
June 14 & 15, 2018 – Thursday & Friday
JERUSALEM / EMMAUS / EIN KAREM / TEL AVIV / NEWARK
This morning we will visit the Israeli Museum and see its model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus, and the “Shrine of the Book”, with its Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. In the afternoon we drive to the traditional location of Emmaus, in the town of Abu Ghosh where we visit its beautiful Notre Dame Church. Next we arrive in Ein Karem for a visit to the birthplace of John the Baptist, where we celebrate Mass. Following Mass, those who wish may walk up the hill to visit the Church of the Visitation. It is here where the Blessed Virgin Mary proclaimed her famous hymn of thanksgiving known as the Magnificat. Late afternoon we return to Jerusalem for this evening’s “Farewell Dinner” at a local restaurant. Following dinner, we proceed to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight home, arriving in the United States early the following morning. Though we come to the end of our time of 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.