Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
Holy Land Pilgrimage
Group Leader: Her Excellency, Vicki Downey, DGCHS
Spiritual Director: Chorbishop John D. Faris
Spiritual Director: Fr. John Bateman
September 11 - 20, 2023
Tel Aviv · Cana · Nazareth · Caesarea · Tiberias · Capernaum · Tabgha · Peter’s Primacy · Our Lady of Palestine · Temple Model · Ein Karem · Shepherd’s Fields · Jerusalem · Bethlehem · Holy Child Program · Church of the Nativity · Audience with the Latin Patriarchate · Pilgrim Shell Ceremony · Mt. of Olives · Mt. Zion · Via Dolorosa · Church of the Holy Sepulchre · Temple Mount · St. Anne’s Church
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from New York or
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located Four and Five Star Hotels double occupancy:
- ~ 3 nights | Sep 12 - 15: Magdala Center, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights | Sep 15 - 20: Hotel Inbal, Jerusalem
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner daily
- Wine and Mineral Water with all Dinners
- Unlimited Bottles of Water on the Bus
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Free Wi-Fi and bottles of Water on the Motor Coach
- Whisper Headsets while sightseeing throughout
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide throughout
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Masses daily & Spiritual activities
- Special Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre Traditions and Ceremonies
- Ceremony in Cana: Wedding Vow Renewals
- Luggage Handling (at Hotels – 1 piece per person)
- Tips to the Hotel Staff, Restaurants, and Luggage Handlers
- Beverages and Snacks not mentioned, Individual transfers, Tips to the Guide and Driver
Day 1, Monday, September 11: 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, Tuesday, September 12: Arrive in Tel Aviv - Tiberias
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, you will exit our plane and make your way to Passport Control, then to the Baggage Claim to collect your luggage(s), and then enter into the Arrival’s Hall. There, you will be met by the 206 Tours representative. Once everyone has arrived in your group, you will board your bus that will then transfer to your hotel in Tiberias. You will have some free time to spend at your own leisure. In the evening, you will make your way for the “Welcome Drink Reception”, followed by dinner. Return to your room for a restful nights sleep.
Day 3, Wednesday, September 13: Cana - Nazareth - Caesarea - Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Annunciation
This morning, after breakfast, you will start the day driving south to Caesarea, which was once the ancient capital of the Roman province. Upon arrival, we will stop for lunch. The tour will start by viewing the impressive archaeological remains of the Roman and Byzantine city that once dominated the region. It was at Caesarea that Peter came to understand that the Good News was not for Jews only, but for the whole world. Here he baptized the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, and his family. It was from Caesarea that Paul set sail for Rome, an event that eventually brought Christianity to the World. Your next visit will be to Nazareth, where you will visit the Byzantine Church of St. Joseph and Mary's Well. From there, you will walk the pilgrimage train into the Church of the Annunciation to celebrate the Liturgy, and then a quick tour, including the Archeological Garden where you will see 1st century remains of houses from the time of Christ. You will also visit the Museum where we see inscriptions left by pilgrims venerating the Virgin Mary, including the 2nd century A.D. inscription showing Xeria Maria 'Ave Maria', considered to be the oldest venerating signs of the Blessed Virgin. We will stop for lunch, and then visit Cana where you will visit the Franciscan Wedding Church. Couples will have the opportunity participate in the ceremony of renewing their Wedding Vows, led by your Spiritual Director. Return to the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
*For the Wedding Vows taking place in Cana: Each couple will receive a "Special" Certificate to commemorate the ceremony.
Day 4, Thursday, September 14: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
After breakfast, we will begin the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. After this, see the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus, found buried in mud. Continue to Capernaum, from where Jesus launched his Ministry; see the synagogue which dates to the time of Jesus and the church built over the site of Peter's home. We will stop for lunch Included. We will then celebrate the Liturgy at the Mt. of Beatitude, the scene of Jesus' great Sermon on the Mount. Nearby is Tabgha, where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 and onto the site known as "Peter's Primacy". Here, after His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples and told Peter to "feed my lambs; feed my sheep." [John 21:9]. Then we will see the Sower Cove, located midway between Tabgha and Capernaum, where Jesus was pushed out on a boat by the crowd and taught from the parable of sower. Our last visit will be remains of the fishing village of Magdala (Aramaic for "elegant"). During the time of Jesus it was a thriving place that exported dried fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction popular in Roman cooking). Excavations done by the Franciscans in the 1970s revealed the residential area of the village and the docks where the fishing boats would unload the fish caught in the Sea of Galilee. In 2009 a chance discovery revealed a 1st Century synagogue at the entrance to the village from West. It is also assumed that Mary Magdalene was born here. Then walk to the nearby Valley of the Doves, to see the Jesus Trail, and the ancient road that was walked by our Lord. End the day at Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 5, Friday, September 15: Mt. Tabor – Jericho – Jordan River - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
Today, after breakfast, drive to Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration, with time to reflect on Christ’s Humanity and Divinity. Celebrating Mass here will be a good preparation for the journey to Jerusalem where Jesus was to suffer the crucifixion and resurrection. Drive down the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, where we view Mt Temptation and an example of a Sycamore Tree. Visit the Baptismal site on the Jordan River, and have the opportunity to renew your own baptism (pending weather conditions). We will continue on our way to Jerusalem, where you will check-in to your hotel in time for dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Saturday, September 16: Jerusalem: Temple Model - Ein Karem
Today we will begin with a visit to the Israel Museum which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Your group will visit a model of the Second Temple, as it was in the time of Jesus. After lunch we will make a short drive taking us to the village of Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist, to visit the church. This will be followed by a return drive back to Notre Dame for dinner & overnight.
Day 7, Sunday, September 17: Jerusalem: Temple Mount - St. Anne’s Church – Holy Child Program - Church of Nativity - Shepherds Fields
Theme: The Visitation & Nativity
Following an early breakfast, we will start our day with a visit to Temple Mount, starting with a visit to the Church of St. Anne's, the home of Jesus' maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim). Nearby, we enter the Old City to see the Pool of Bethesda (John 5: 1 - 9), which supplied the water for the Temple, and where Jesus healed the crippled man. At 10:30 A.M., we will make our way to the Holy Child Program – a school for children that the Order has directly funded. After meeting with the Franciscan Sisters who run the school, we will take a tour, followed by a meeting with students. From there, we will depart to the Manger Square, which stands in front of one of the oldest of Christian churches, the Church of the Nativity. Enter the Church and down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Jesus' birth. Beneath the Altar, there is a silver star with the Latin inscription: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary.) We will celebrated the Liturgy in the Church of Nativity, and then continue our final stop of the day, the Shepherds Fields. The caves have soot marks of the fires that shepherd's lit to keep warm while watching over their flocks. Return to Notre Dame for dinner and overnight.
Day 8, Monday, September 18: Jerusalem: Jerusalem: Mt. of Olives - Mt. Zion – Meeting at the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – Pilgrim Shell
Theme: Palm Sunday the Agony in the Garden, and the Last Supper
We will start the day with visit to Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead. Drive to the Mount of Olives, where we will take in the panoramic view of Jerusalem. Then to the Pater Noster shrine, where Jesus taught His disciples the Pater Noster - The Lord's Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). Walking down the Palm Sunday Road, we will stop at the beautiful little church, Dominus Flevit - "The Lord wept." It was here that Jesus wept over Jerusalem [Luke 19:41]. Then make our way to Gethsemane to reflect on Jesus' final night (Luke 22: 29 - 53). The Garden contains trees, the roots of which go back to the time of Jesus. Visit and celebrate Mass at the Church of All Nations to pray at the "Rock of Agony," a section of bedrock identified as the place where Jesus prayed alone in the garden on the night of His arrest. Following Mass, we will visit the Church of the Assumption, and then make our way to Mt. Zion, overlooking the Kidron Valley. From Gethsemane, Jesus was taken as a prisoner to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas where He was interrogated and imprisoned. Now called Peter in Gallicantu ("Crowing Rooster"), this beautiful Church also commemorates Peter's denial of Chris (Luke 22: 33 - 34), his repentance and then being forgiven by Jesus. We will make a stop for lunch Included and then continue on to Mt. Zion, the Upper Room (Matthew 26: 17 - 30) where we commemorate the Last Supper. Nearby is King David's Tomb, and the Benedictine Church of the Dormition. We will proceed to the Offices of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem where we will have an audience with the Latin Patriarchate or the Apostolic Administrator. Following this meeting, Knights and Ladies will receive their “Pilgrim Shell” – a decorative honor commemorating their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Tuesday, September 19: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Meeting at the Pontifical Mission - Our Lady of Palestine - Final Day in Jerusalem
Theme: The Crucifixion
Today will be an early morning, as we will depart the Hotel at 5:30 A.M. and make our way 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. Your group will reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Luke 23: 26-33). This Sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus' crucifixion place) and, His tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). The Liturgy your group will be celebrating this morning is High Mass at the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Continue to the Western Wall, the holiest site to Jews. Return to Notre Dame for breakfast, and then you will have some free time to relax. We will then meet at the Pontifical Mission with their representative, Mr. Sami El-Yousef. Quick lunch Included and then travel along the Valley of Elah, where the famous encounter between David and Goliath has taken place, reaching Deir Rafat Monastery. This Monastery is dedicated to Our Lady of Palestine. The Latin Patriarchate, Luigi Barlassina, established this Monastery in 1927. The facade in the Convent Church bears the Latin inscription "Reginae Palaestinae", meaning "to the Queen of Palestine". It carries a six (6) meter statue of the Virgin Mary. The Church ceiling is decorated with a painting showing angels carrying banners with the first words of the "Hail Mary" prayer in 280 languages. Return to the Notre Dame for your Farewell Dinner on the rooftop of the Notre Dame " Wine & Cheese", and overnight.
Day 10, Wednesday, September 20: Free Day – Return Home
Breakfast in the morning, followed by free time to spend at your own leisure before you meet back at the Hotel. With heartfelt farewells to your fellow pilgrims, you will board our evening transfers to Tel Aviv Airport for our return flights home. *Depending on the returing city, flights may depart in the afternoon or in the evening.
*206 Tours Disclaimer:
Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of places to be visited. Occasionally local religious holidays, national days, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of visits or the missing of certain visits.
About your trip
About The Holy Land - In the footsteps of Jesus:
If you desire to draw closer to Jesus of Nazareth, come, as we follow in His footsteps. Each day of your pilgrimage you will have time to renew and affirm your faith; to pray and reflect. The Scriptures will come alive as you visit Our Lord's homeland. You will be inspired by the natural beauty of the landscape, in addition to its rich historical heritage It is an encounter that has changed the lives of many pilgrims, an act of faith and prayer. Pilgrims have been traveling to the Holy Land for hundreds of years, and as part of your pilgrimage, we include many of the rich traditions that have evolved over time. The maxim at the entrance to the Church of the Nativity says: "We are hoping that: If you enter here as a tourist, you would exit as a pilgrim. If you enter here as a pilgrim, you would exit as a holier one." We pray that same will occur when you join 206 Tours pilgrimage.