Holy Land Pilgrimage
Spiritual Directors: Fr. Chris Podhajsky
Spiritual Directors: Fr. Brian Dellaert
February 3 - 12, 2020
*Optional Post Retreat to Assisi - February 12 - February 16, 2020
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from desired airport
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Accommodations in the Holy Land at centrally located first class hotels (or similar):
- ~ 1 night: Feb 04 – Feb 05: Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
- ~ 2 nights: Feb 05 – Feb 07: Sea of Galilee, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights: Feb 07 – Feb 12: Olive Tree, Jerusalem
- 4 nights post optional retreat to Assisi:
- ~ 3 nights: Feb 12 – Feb 15: Fontebella, Assisi
- ~ 1 night: Feb 15 – Feb 16: Michelangelo, Rome
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner Daily
- Lunches daily in Holy Land
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wi-Fi on motor coach in Holy Land
- Whisper Headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Christina guide(Usama is requested) in Holy Land
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary in Holy Land
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches (Italy), Beverages, Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1, Mon, Feb 03: Depart for the Holy Land
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight. Your meals are served on board.
Day 2, Tue, Feb 04: Arrive in Tel Aviv
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv in time to check-in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Day 3, Wed, Feb 05: Caesarea - Stella Maris - Nazareth - Tiberias - Cana
Theme: The Annunciation
Depart Tel Aviv to Caesarea Marítima, one of the three largest ports in the Roman world, next to Alexandria and Piraeus “Athens”, which were built by Herod the Great between 21 B.C. and 9 B.C. It was in Caesarea where St. Peter baptized the first gentile convert Cornelius, and where St. Paul gave his defense of the church. From here, we will see the Roman Theater, Herod’s Palace, view the Hippodrome, and the harbor from where St. Paul sailed on his journeys. Continue north to Haifa, located on Mt Carmel, where we will visit the Carmelite Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and pray at the cave which Elijah the prophet took refuge. Continue on to Nazareth for lunch, and then visit the Church of the Annunciation. Visit the museum and archaeological garden where we can see the remains of Nazareth at time of Christ, as well as St. Joseph’s workshop – which is now known as St. Joseph’s Church. Within the Church of the Annunciation, you will make our way down to the Grotto to see the remains of the house of the Blessed Mother, and where the Angel of the Lord announced the good news to Mary. Celebrate Mass in this Church, and then continue on to Cana. It was here that Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. During your visit at the Wedding Church, married couples will have the chance to take part in the ceremony and renew their wedding vows. From there, we continue on to Tiberias, located on Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight.
Day 4, Thu, Feb 06: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee – Banias
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today begins with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking the boat, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, group will continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed His great Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49). Near the Mount is Tabgha, one of Jesus' miracle sites. At Tabgha, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). Also, in Tabgha is St. Peter's Primacy where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter (John 21:9). Continue to visit the birthplace of Mary Magdalene in Magdala. During the time of Jesus, this village was a prosperous fishing village that exported fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction; popular in Roman cooking). Your day concludes at Capernaum, the launching place of Jesus' ministry. In Capernaum, see the Synagogue where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29) and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Continue to Caesarea Philippi near the base of Mt Hermon, where the springs of Banias form the source of the Jordan River. In this tranquil place Jesus spent some quiet time with his disciples and later commissioned Peter “And I tell you, you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my church” (Mt 16:13). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5, Fri, Feb 07: Jordan River - Mt. Tabor – Jericho – Jordan River - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, we will drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). At this site, you will have some time to reflect on Christ's Humanity and Divinity. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Continue south to the Jordan Valley to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, of where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Following the visit to this mountain, continue to Jesus' baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, we will transfer to Jerusalem to check-in to your hotel and enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Sat, Feb 08: Jerusalem: Temple Model - Ein Karem - Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
This morning, enjoy breakfast before we start our day in Jerusalem, which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, we will take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It is known that there are two churches in Ein Karem, both representing the two homes of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The first is in a valley where the birth of St. John the Baptist is commemorated (Luke 1:39-80) in the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The second is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24) at the Church of the Visitation. You will have a chance to visit both of these churches and have the opportunity to pray the Mystery of the Rosary as you walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation. In the afternoon, transfer to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will have the opportunity to view the Shepherd's Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves of these fields, you are still able to see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at the Manger Square which stands in front of the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Our Savior's birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar, there is a silver star and a Latin inscription that states: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). Following Mass in this Sacred space, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7, Sun, Feb 09: Bethany - Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness
Following breakfast at your hotel, we will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran is made up of 2,000 year old ruins from the days of the Second Temple and also the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered (Ezekial 47:8-10). These writings have helped further the understanding of Jewish background in Christianity. Time and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Continue as you travel through the Judean wilderness, the site where Jesus spent His 40 days of fasting. The day of touring culminates with a transfer to Bethany. Bethany is the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead which foreshadows His own Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8, Mon, Feb 10: Jerusalem: Mt. Of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion (Upper Room) - Western Wall
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
After breakfast, we will make our way to the Mount of Olives where you will be able to take in the beautiful, panoramic view of Jerusalem. Historically, the Mount of Olives was a mandatory transit point for Jesus during many iconic moments. Visit the Pater Noster Shrine where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster) (Luke 11:1-4). You will have the opportunity to stop at Dominus Flevit which is a Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue on to Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus brought His disciples here to pray the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:29-53). The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. Your next stop, the Church of All Nations, built over the "Rock of Agony". This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of His arrest. Throughout this time, you are invited to remain in prayer and to reflect on Christ's agony that He experienced. You will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Continue with a visit to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas (Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu). This Church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the Council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter's Denial of Christ (John 18:15-18), Peters' repentance, and Jesus' forgiveness of Peter. You will also visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection (Mark 16:14). In addition, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, "fell asleep." At the end of this prayerful day, return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Tue, Feb 11 : Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre
Theme: The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection
This morning you will have a very early wake-up to begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress. This is the spot where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16). Following His condemnation, He was taken (on the Road to Calvary) to His place of Crucifixion. Reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus' crucifixion place) and His tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we will return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast. We will continue our day with a visit to the Church of St. Anne's, the home of Jesus' maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim); and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon, enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 10, Wed, Feb 12: Jerusalem free day and return back to the US.
After breakfast and heartfelt farewells enjoy your free day in Jerusalem. Later this evening we will transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for return flights home. Dinner at restaurant en-route.