Holy Land Pilgrimage
Walk Where Jesus Walked!
Spiritual Director: Fr. Richmond Dzekoe
Spiritual Director: Fr. Christopher Podhajsky
Group Coordinator: Mary Johnston
January 9 - 19, 2023
*Optional Post Retreat to Assisi & Rome - January 18 - 23, 2023
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from desired airport
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Holy Land Accommodations at centrally located first class hotels: (or similar):
- ~ 1 night: Jan 10 - 11: Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
- ~ 2 nights: Jan 11 - 13: Magdala Hotel, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights: Jan 13 - 18: Olive Tree, Jerusalem
- 5 nights Optional Post Retreat to Assisi and Rome:
- ~ 1 night: Jan 18 - 19: Kfar Maccabiah, Tel Aviv
- ~ 3 nights: Jan 19 - 22: Dal Moro Gallery Hotel, Assisi
- ~ 1 night: Jan 22 - 23: 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 Christian guide in Holy Land
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary in Holy Land
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Lunches (Italy), Beverages, Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1, Mon, Jan 9: Depart for the Holy Land
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your first leg of flights to the Holy Land. Meals will be served on transatlantic flight.
Day 2, Tue, Jan 10: 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, Jan 11: Tel Aviv - Stella Maris (Haifa) - Nazareth - Cana - Tiberias
Theme: The Annunciation
After breakfast, we head 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. Celebrate Mass. Continue on to Nazareth to 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. After we continue on to Cana where 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, Jan 12: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee - Tabgha - Mount of Beatitudes - Capernaum
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Following breakfast at hotel, enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic, Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). After the ride, your group will also 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). After we will 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 where your group will enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 5, Fri, Jan 13: Banias - Mount Tabor - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, we will board the bus and travel to Caesarea Philippi, on the site of the present-day village of Baniyas in the Golan Heights. It was the site of a Hellenistic Shrine to the god Pan and then of a temple built towards the end of the 1st century BC by Herod the Great and named in honor of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesarea. After the visit we head 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. Your group will also have the opportunity to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Transfer to Jerusalem for check-in at hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 6, Sat, Jan 14: Jericho - Jordan River - Masada - Dead Sea
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
After breakfast, we will board our bus and begin our journey south towards the Jordan Valley, to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you will view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, 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 Jordan River (Matthew 3:13-17) where you can renew your baptismal vow. After some time at the Jordan River, you will travel down the Jordan Valley to Masada to see the remains of the fortress where the Jewish Zealots preferred to die than to be taken prisoners by the Romans. Time and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7, Sun, Jan 15: Ein Karem - Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
This morning, you will have breakfast and then start the day with a visit 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. Your group will 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. We will stop for lunch, and then make your way 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. We will stop for lunch, and then continue on the tour 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 u2:1-18). 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, your group will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8, Mon, Jan 16: Jerusalem: Mount of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion - St. Peter in Gallicantu
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
Wake up and enjoy breakfast, and then 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. After we visit 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. Beside the Garden is 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. Your group will 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), then 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, your group will visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, "fell asleep." The tour continues as you will visit 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Tue, Jan 17: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Old City Tour of Christian Quarters - St. Anne's - Pool of Bethesda - Western Wall - Emmaus
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 18:2819:16). 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 Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This Sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus' crucifixion place) and, His Tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). Your group will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, you will return to the hotel to enjoy a late breakfast. The tour continues through the Christian Quarters, and then 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). End the day with a visit to the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 C.E. From there, we will tour the Jewish Quarters. Continue to Emmaus the town mentioned in the Gospel of Luke from the New Testament, where Luke reports that Jesus appeared after his death and resurrection, transfer for Jerusalem for Dinner and overnight
Day 10: Wed, Jan 18: Bethany - Samaria - Ben Gurion Airport
Start the day with Mass in Bethany, the town where Jesus raised Lazarus from the Dead. Head north through Samaria, a land rich in Old Testament history. Passing Shiloh, where the Ark of Covenant was kept and through the beautiful Levonah valley, referred to in Judges as the Valley of the Dancers. See the twin peaks of Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal, known in the Old Testament as Mt. Blessing and Mt Cursing. Stop at Jacob's Well, hewn out of solid rock and over 100 feet deep, it is the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman and many visitors drink the water from this very well from which Jesus drank. Then to Sebastia where you can enjoy a local lunch before exploring this fascinating site that is rarely visited. Under Herod it was a major city as evidenced by the impressive remains. It is here that Salome danced for Herod and asked for the head of John the Baptist as a reward. The Byzantines built a large Basilica and monastery in his memory. In the evening transfer to airport for the return flight home. Arrival in the US next day.