Holy Land Pilgrimage
with Fr. Bill and Sherri McNeeley
September 13 - 22, 2023
*Optional Post Tour to Rome - September 22 - 26, 2023
Tel Aviv · Caesarea · Stella Maris · Nazareth · Tiberias · Cana · Sea of Galilee · Jordan River · Mt. Tabor · Jericho · Jordan River · Jerusalem · Temple Model · Ein Karem · Bethlehem · Bethany · Dead Sea · Mt. Of Olives · Gethsemane · Mt. Zion (Upper Room) · Western Wall · Via Dolorosa · Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- ~ 1 night | Sep 14 – 15: Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
- ~ 2 nights | Sep 15 – 17: Leonardo Plaza, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights | Sep 17 – 22: Olive Tree, Jerusalem
- 3 nights Optional Post tour to Rome:
- ~ 4 nights | Sep 22 – 26: Hotel Exe International, Rome
- Breakfast and Dinners daily
- Lunches in Holy Land
- Wine and Mineral Water with dinners
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Free Wi-fi on motor coach
- Headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Christian Guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Tips to hotel staff, restaurants, luggage handlers
- Flight bag & Portfolio of all travel documents
- beverages not mentioned, tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1 | Wednesday, September 13: Depart for the Holy Land
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight. Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 | Thursday, September 14: Arrive in Tel Aviv
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, make your way to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival hall, where you be greeted by your tour guide and/-or driver. Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv to check-in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Day 3 | Friday, September 15: Tel Aviv - Caesarea - Stella Maris (Haifa) - Nazareth - Cana - Tiberias
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, both 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 where Elijah the prophet took refuge. Continue to Nazareth for lunch, followed by a visit to the Church of the Annunciation. Walk down to the Grotto, where the remains of the house of the Blessed Mother are visible. Here is where the Angel of the Lord announced the good news to Mary. Visit the museum and archaeological site where you can see the remains of Nazareth at the time of Christ, as well as the workshop of St. Joseph – which is now known as St. Joseph’s Church. Celebrate Mass, and then continue to Cana. It was here that Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. During your visit to the Wedding Church, married couples will have the chance to participate in the ceremony and renew their wedding vows. From there, we continue to Tiberias, located on the Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 | Saturday, September 16: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
After breakfast, enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking, have the opportunity to view the remains of the boat dating back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, 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). 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. Durin g 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.
Day 5 | Sunday, September 17: Jordan River - Mt. Tabor - Jericho - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). Here you will have some time to reflect on Christ's Humanity and Divinity. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Continue south towards the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you get to view the exact location of the Mount of Temptation. Here is 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). Following time for Prayer and reflection at the Jordan River, continue to Jerusalem to check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 | Monday, September 18: 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 (Luk e 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, take a short drive to the birthplace of John the Baptist, Ein Karem. Known for its two churches 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, the Church of the Visitation, is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months, in seclusion (Luke 1:24). Visit bot h churches. You will 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, visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Have the opportunity to view Shepherd's Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves, you can 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 | Tuesday, September 19: Bethany - Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness
Following breakfast at your hotel, you will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran built of 2,000-year-old ruins from the days of the Second Temple. It is 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 Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 | Wednesday, September 20: Jerusalem: Mt. Of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion (Upper Room) - Western Wall
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
After breakfast, you will make your 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, the Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue 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, is built over the "Rock of Agony". Jesus prayed here alone on the night of His arrest. Take time to Pray and 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). Also, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this is the Church 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 | Thursday, September 21: 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, 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. Continue your 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 cripple 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 | Friday, September 22: Jerusalem - Abu Gosh - Return Flights Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for return flights home. On the way group will stop to visit Benedictine Monastery in Abu Gosh where Jesus met His disciples after the Resurrection.