Begin your spiritual journey as we depart for the overnight flight to Tel Aviv.
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. Exit terminal at the sign marked “groups” and meet your local guide who will escort you to your hotel on the coast. Dinner and overnight.
Today you will travel via the coast to Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Visit the Roman and Crusader ruins. Drive through the Carmel Mountains heading for Galilee. In Haifa, visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. Continue to Mukhraka where Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal and where the Carmelite Order was started. Drive to Cana, the village of Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine; here couples may renew their wedding vows. Continue to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth where the group will celebrate Mass and visit Mary’s Well and the Church of the Angel Gabriel. Dinner and overnight in Galilee.
Some of today’s highlights are a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the synagogue and St Peter’s house, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter’s Primacy where Peter was told: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” There will be an unforgettable Mass near the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy or Mt Beatitudes. In the afternoon visit Caesarea Philippi, the location of the testimony of St. Peter, and where Jesus answered him “You are the Rock and upon this rock, I will build my Church.” Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Galilee.
Start the day by going remembering our Baptism at the Jordan River. Continue to Mount Tabor, the scene of the Transfiguration, where you will have Mass. Then proceed to Sepphoris, a regional city at the time of Jesus. Drive down the Jordan Valley and head towards Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
On the first day in Jerusalem, you will be presented with an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area. This includes a dramatic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, revealing a city with 4000 years of history. From this vantage point see much of what makes Jerusalem such a unique city to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the ‘Magnificat’. In the afternoon we drive to Shepherd’s Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born. Mass in Bethlehem or the Shepherds Fields. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
Begin our day with a visit to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Then onto the Mt. of Olives to walk the Palm Sunday route stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then to Gethsemane, the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed His last prayer before his arrest. Visit the cave of betrayal then the cave of Assumption of Mary to heaven. Back on the Mt of Olives, we visit the Pater Noster with the Lord’s Prayer in many languages and the Ascension from where ascended to Heaven. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
Early in the morning, the group will retrace the last steps of Jesus. Then walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross, reflecting on the greatness of His sacrifice. Finally, we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. After breakfast at our hotel, return to the Old City of Jerusalem to visit St. Anne’s Church, the home of the Virgin Mary, and her parents Saints Joachim and Anne. Pass the Ecce Homo where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man”; then the Wailing Wall, the holiest place for those of the Jewish faith. Nearby is the Dome of the Rock and the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, exit at Mt Zion. At the Cenacle visit the Upper Room of the Last Supper. Next, go to Dormition Abbey where it is believed that the Blessed Mary died, end the day at St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied Him thrice. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.
The desert east of Jerusalem is rich in Christian tradition. Further east, just off the Roman road that Jesus ‘walked’, is Wadi Qelt gorge, the site of the Monastery of St George. At the oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt. Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, renowned for its healing properties. In the afternoon, there will be time for you to revisit some of your favorite sites and time for the last-minute buying of gifts for your loved ones. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.