Women of Grace
Holy Land Pilgrimage
In the Footsteps of Mary and the Holy Women
Group Coordinator: Johnnette Benkovic Williams
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from New York
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 1 night: Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
- ~ 2 nights: Leonardo Plaza, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights: Dan Jerusalem Hotel, Jerusalem
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner daily
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Free Wi-Fi on motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic Guide
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Lectures with Johnnette
- Luggage handling (at Hotels - 1 piece per person)
- Tips to Hotel Staff, Restaurants, and Luggage Handlers
- Votive Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Tips to your Guide & Driver, Individual transfers.
Day 1, Depart for Tel Aviv
Make your way to your local Airport, where you will board your overnight flight to Tel Aviv. Your meals are served on board.
Day 2, Arrival in Tel Aviv
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival's Hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. Your group will transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv in time to check-in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Day 3, Tel Aviv - Caesarea - Nazareth - International Center of Mary - Kfar Kedem - Cana
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will head 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 also 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. From there, enjoy the scenic drive to Nazareth where you will experience the town where Mary once lived and where Jesus lived as a child (Matthew 2:23). Across the street from the Basilica, We will continue on to the Mary of Nazareth International Center - where we will get to view a presentation that portrays the Virgin Mary's role in salvation history, and a perspective of Mary's place in Scripture. From there, we continue on to Kfar Kedem, which displays a reconstruction of the everyday life in the Galilee 2,000 years ago, during the Mishnah period. Continue on to Cana, the very spot 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. Your first day culminates with a transfer to Tiberias. Upon arrival in Tiberias, you will check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4, Sea of Galilee
Your group will begin this day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic, Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). During this ride, your group will also view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, your group will continue on 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).Your tour continues as you visit the birthplace of Mary Magdalena, 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, your group will have the opportunity to see the Synagogue of where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29), and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Your group will enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 5, Lisieux - Landing Beaches - American Cemetery
Upon waking up in Lisieux and enjoying breakfast, you will pray and reflect upon the life of the beloved Saint and celebrate Mass. After Mass and following the visit to the Basilica, you will have the opportunity to view relics, clothing and personal objects of St. Therese, when you visit her family home, Les Buissonets. Additionally, you will tour the Carmelite Convent, where she entered in 1888, and is currently entombed in with her parents. This afternoon, you will transfer to Normandy Landing beaches. The Normandy landings were the landing operations that took place on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) by the Allies, of Normandy, during World War II. As the largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied Northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allies' victory on the Western Front. Continue on to visit The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, honoring the American troops that died in Europe during World War II. Many of the brave American soldiers of World War II are buried here, and it is encouraged to say a prayer in thanksgiving for their courage. Return to Lisieux for dinner and an overnight.
Day 6, Mount Tabor - Haifa - Stella Maris - Ein Karem - Jerusalem
Following breakfast, your group 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. Your group will also have the opportunity to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. The tour continues north to Jesus' baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, your group heads west 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, your group will depart Stella Maris and head 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. Your group will end their day with a transfer to Jerusalem where your group will check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7, Bethlehem - Shepherd's Field - Convent of the Carmelite Sisters in Bethlehem - Dier Rafat (Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine) - Jerusalem
This morning, you will have breakfast and then depart for a day in Jerusalem, 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. Following this visit, your group will take a short drive In the afternoon, your group will transfer to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will start with a visit to 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, your group will 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. From there we go on to visit the Convent of the Carmelite Sisters in Bethlehem, founded on August 20th in 1875 by Saint Mary Bouardy (also known as St. Mary of Jesus Crucified). Ten (10) Sisters under hear leadership left their mother monastery in Pau (France) to start the Carmel in Bethlehem. Then we continue to Deir Rafat, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine. The Monastery was established in 1927 by the Latin Patriarchate (Luigi Barlassina) - for which it contained a Boarding School, Orphanage, and Convent. The facade of the Church bears the Latin inscription "Reginae Palestinae", which means "to the Queen of Palestine". The Church ceiling is decorated with a painting showing angels carrying banners with the first words of the "Hail Mary" prayer in 280 languages. Since 2009, the Convent has been in the care of the Catholic Order known as the "Monastic Family of Bethlehem of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno" - or the "Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem". From here, your group will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8, Mt. of Olives - Mt. Zion - Jewish Quarter - Wailing Wall
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. 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). The tour continues 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. 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 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. 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. 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, 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." At the end of this prayerful day, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9, Mt. of Olives - Mt. Zion - Jewish Quarter - Wailing Wall
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will travel down the Jordan Valley to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you will have the opportunity to 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, your group will continue 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, your group will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Your tour will 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). Your group will celebrate Mass and return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 10, Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulcher - Breakfast - St. Anne - Davidson Center (visit the Southern steps where most probably Mary & Joseph walked - a presentation of Jesus at the Temple) - Notre Dame Cooking Class
Your group will have a very early morning wake-up, which will 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 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, your group 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, your group will take part in a Cooking Class at Notre Dame where you will learn to make local specialties, and then have time to revisit to the Old City. Following this visit, your group will enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
*Today, you will receive your Transfer Letter advising you of the time to meet in the Lobby for your transfer to the Airport.
Day 11, Return Home
This morning, you will have breakfast, and then check out of your room. Be sure to have your luggage out at the time noted in your "Transfer Letter", and meet in the Lobby at the time noted as well. Any time in between can be spent at your own leisure.