Holy Land Pilgrimage
Spiritual Leader: Fr. Brian Grady
August 1 - 10, 2019
*Optional Post Tour to Jordan - August 10 - 13, 2019
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from Chicago
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels as follows: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: Aug 3 - 5 | Sea of Galilee Hotel, Tiberias
- Post Optional to Jordan
- ~ 1 night: Aug 10 - 11 | Old Village Petra
- ~ 2 nights: Aug 11 - 13 | Dead Sea Spa, or Amman International
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast, lunch & dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wi-Fi on motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Tips to your guide & driver
Thu, Aug 1: Depart Chicago for the Holy Land
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight. Your meals are served on board.
Fri, Aug 2: 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.
Sat, Aug 3: Caesarea - Stella Maris - Nazareth – Cana - Tiberias
Theme: The Annunciation
Following breakfast, we will drive to Caesarea, the former capital of Judea. You will have the opportunity to visit the archaeological remains of this ancient port, which aided as base for the Herodian navy. Shortly after the time of Jesus Christ, it was revealed to Peter in Caesarea that the Good News (to repent) is not only intended for Jewish people, but also the entire world. This is the place which officially ended the tradition of adhering to the Jewish ceremonial laws. As a result, Peter baptized a group of gentiles, the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, and his family. Continue North to Haifa. In Haifa, you will find Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery. The monastery is located above the cave where Elijah, the prophet, once lived. A colorful painting of this "wonder-worker" can be found on the ceiling of the Church. Following this visit, enjoy the scenic drive (with view of the bay of Acco) to Nazareth. In Nazareth you will experience the town where Mary once lived and where Jesus lived as a child (Matthew 2:23). During the visit to Nazareth we visit the church of the Annunciation which includes the church of St Joseph ( It's not Byzantine - it's from 1914-21 built over Byzantine ruins) which tradition identifies it with the workshop of Joseph and the house of the Holy family. We will continue with a visit of the Church of the Incarnation, viewing at Grotto the remains of the house of the Blessed Virgin where the Angel appeared and announced the good news. Following Pilgrims path we visit Mary's well, where often the Virgin Mary would have walked to draw water from the spring. The next stop will be to Cana where you will visit the Franciscan Wedding Church. Couples will have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony to renew their wedding vows. Your first day culminates with a transfer to Tiberias. Upon arrival in Tiberias, you will check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Sun, Aug 4: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today begin this day 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, we 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Mon, Aug 5: 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.
Tue, Aug 6: 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.
Wed, Aug 7: 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.
Thu, Aug 8, Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre –
The Carmel of Bethlehem, Monastère du Carmel Saint Enfant Jésus
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). Later, visit the Carmel of Bethlehem, starting with a video followed by a visit to the Church. See the relics of the Saint and the museum. Following this visit return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Fri, Aug 9: Emmaus
This morning visit Abou Ghosh, probable site of Emmaus, where Jesus appeared to the two Disciples after the Resurrection. Here visit the lovely Crusader church and meditate in the beautiful gardens tended by the nuns. Drive through the Valley of Elah, mentioned in the Old Testament as where the events of Samson & Delilah and David & Goliath took place. Also here is the Monastery of Beit Jimal, which dates to the 5th century and is where St Stephen is buried.
Sat, Aug 10: Return Flights Home
After an early breakfast transfer to airport for your return flights home. NOTE This days itinerary may be adjusted according to the airlines flight schedule.