Biblical Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Jerusalem ... Bethlehem ... Sea of Galilee ... Nazareth ... Tiberias Caesarea-by-the-Sea ... Jericho ... Masada
Day One - Departure: Depart today for Israel.
Day Two - Tel Aviv /Tiberias: Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we’ll meet our professional tour manager and begin our journey through Galilee to Tiberias, our home for three nights. The hotel is located directly on the Sea of Galilee.
Day Three - Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee: This morning we cruise on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, Jesus’ home for two years and where we’ll celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Church. We then visit the Mount of Beatitudes where we will have devotions, Tabgha, the Church of the Primacy, Chorazin (a curse on Chorazin, and Bethsaida). Following our special lunch on the Sea of Galilee, we’ll continue south through the Jordan Valley to Bet Shean where the Biblical history covers the Canaanites, the Philistines, and the Romans. Later this afternoon, we’ll renew our Baptismal Vows along the Jordan River. Overnight Tiberias.
Day Four - Tiberias: excursion to Mount Tabor, Cana, and Nazareth: Our journey today takes us by the Horns of Hattin-where Saladin defeated the Crusaders en route to Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration. Later, we continue to Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle and we’ll have the opportunity to renew our wedding vows before continuing on to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. Here, we plan to celebrate Mass at the Church of the Annunciation. Overnight in Tiberias.
Day Five - Caesarea-By-The-Sea / Mount Carmel / Megiddo / Jerusalem: Today, be prepared to travel back at least 2,000 years, where every mile will tell at least one Bible story as we motor along the coastal plain to the Carmel range for a panoramic view of Haifa. Drive on the crest of Mt. Carmel to Muhragen where Elijah engaged in the contest with the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:1-40). From an elevated platform it is possible to see the hills of Nazareth, Mount Tabor, the Mountains of Gilboa, the valley of Jezreel (“Armageddon” in Revelation 16:16), and the hills of Samaria. Later, we are planning to visit the Stella Maris Carmelite Church on Mt. Carmel. Our journey then takes us to Caesarea-By-The-Sea. This ancient city was built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar and was the capital of the Romans in the Holy Land for nearly 500 years. Caesarea serves as the backdrop for the Book of Acts, including the many visits by the Apostle Paul, his two-year imprisonment, and the commencement of his journey to Rome. En route to Jerusalem, we will also visit Solomon’s Chariot city at Megiddo - the site of epic battles that decided the fate of western Asia which dates back to the 15th century BC. Overnight Jerusalem.
Day Six - Mt. Of Olives / Mt. Zion / Bethlehem: Our morning begins on the Mount of Olives where we’ll visit the Church of the Pater Noster, the Church of Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem according to Luke, and the Garden of Gethsemane where we plan to celebrate Mass in the Church of All Nations. Later, we cross the Kidron Valley passing the Tombs of Absalom, Zechariah, and St. James. On Mount Zion we’ll visit the Church of St. Peter’s in Gallicantu (Caiaphas’ House), and the Upper Room. Our afternoon tour takes us to Bethlehem where we’ll visit the Basilica and Grotto of the Nativity, the Church of St. Catherine, the cave of Jerome (latin translator of the Bible) where we plan to celebrate Mass, and to the Field of the Shepherds. Through our visits, input and reflections, we will gain a deeper understanding of the world and circumstances into which the Lord was born. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Seven - Jerusalem / Bethany / Dead Sea / Qumran / Masada: Today we visit the small village of Bethany (home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus) and the church near the grotto in which the Tomb of Lazarus is located. Later, we’ll continue south via the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth (1,300 feet below sea level). Among our stops will be Qumran, site of the Essene Community where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and Ein Gedi where a precipitous cliff filled with caves rises some 2,000 feet. It was here that David and his men took refuge from King Saul and here also that David spared Saul’s life. Arrive Masada in the late morning. Our tour will include a visit to the remarkable ruins of the Fortress built by Herod the Great where Jewish zealots made their last stand in revolt against the Roman legions from 70 to 73 A.D. On our return to Jerusalem, there will be time to float in the Dead Sea. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Eight - Jerusalem: Our morning walking tour of the Old City begins at the Dung Gate. From here we’ll visit the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, St. Stephen’s Gate, and St. Anne’s Crusader Church with the Pool of Bethesda (where Christ healed the crippled man). We then begin the Via Dolorosa - the Way of the Cross. There are fourteen stations along Christendom’s most sacred route - each one marks an event that took place during the last walk before the Crucifixion. Nine of these stations are actually along the Via Dolorosa, including the Chapel of Flagellation, Arch of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Lithostrotos, and the remaining five are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we plan to celebrate Mass. There will be some free time this afternoon for shopping in the Old City... Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Nine - Jerusalem / Model City / Western Wall: This morning before we enter the Old City we’ll visit the Israeli Museum and the Model City depicting Jerusalem as it looked 2000 years ago. We then enter the Western Wall and its tunnels ... one of the most popular tourist sites in Jerusalem. These underground tunnels connect the western wall prayer area to the northwest side of the temple mount. Along its path are remains from the second temple period, as well as structures from later periods. The experience of walking along the tunnels is like taking a time machine back to the time of the second temple. Later, we’ll visit the Cardo, a Byzantine road, roughly the equivalent of an eight-lane highway that ran through the heart of the city. The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure in the Old City. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day Ten - Tel Aviv / We depart Tel Aviv and begin our journey home.