Easter Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Saturday: Arrival to the Holy Land
Start your spiritual journey with a flight into TLV “Ben Gurion International Airport”. Your local Catholic tour guide will meet you; will accompany you to your first class coach and transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem.
After breakfast, then we drive towards the city of Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and the caves of the Shepherds’ Fields. We will have a Mass in Bethlehem. Later, we join fellow pilgrims from across the globe in the Palm Sunday Procession in Jerusalem from Beth phage to St. Anne’s Church, following in the footsteps of Jesus’ triumphal entrance to Jerusalem.
Monday – North to Galilee
We drive up north towards Caesarea Maritime “Caesarea by the Sea” for a visit of the site. Here is where the Romans held Paul a prisoner. We stop by the ancient aqueduct. Caesarea was a tiny fishing village that was transformed into a world-class port by King Herod between the years 22 BC and 10 BC. Herod spent a fortune building a mini Rome equipped with a Theater, Hippodrome, the second largest port in the Roman Empire and Roman Aqueduct which Herod named Caesarea after Augustus Caesar hoping to seek approval of the new emperor of Rome. Next, we continue to visit the shrine of Stella Maris on Mount Carmel in Haifa “the area of the Galilee”. Later we drive to Sepphoris, a regional city at Christ’s time. Then, we drive to the city of Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
Tuesday: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today, we will have a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to visit the old Synagogue -that was built on top of the one at Jesus time- and St. Peter’s house -The first home Church in Christianity. We drive up the twisted narrow road climbing the Mount of Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, overviewing the Sea of Galilee. After that, we go to visit Tabgha to see the mosaic floor of the loaves and fishes were Christ fed the crowds. A short walk to the Tabgha of the Primacy Church where Peter was told “Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep”. We will celebrate Mass on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Later, we continue to the foot of Mount Tabor and take smaller vehicles to reach the summit and visit the Church of the Transfiguration. After some time enjoying the breathtaking panoramic view of the “Jezreel” Valley from the top of Mount Tabor, we return back to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Wednesday: Cana, Nazareth, Jordan Valley
After Breakfast, we check out of our hotel and commence our day by driving to Nazareth where we will celebrate mass. We visit the site of the Annunciation, where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she will become pregnant with Jesus Christ. We visit the house of Mary underneath the new Basilica and the house of Joseph nearby. We continue our tour and arrive at the well of Mary inside the Greek Orthodox Church. Next, we drive to the wedding site of Cana in Galilee where Jesus made his first miracle of changing water into wine. Here couples may renew their wedding vows. Then, we drive south via the Jordan Valley to view the Jordan River and Baptismal site before we continue to Jerusalem.
We join the Pontifical Mass (Washing of the Feet) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and then we visit St. Anne’s Church, the Flagellation and Zion Sisters. In the afternoon, we visit the Western Wall and the Dome of Rock. At 4pm, we join the Pilgrimage of the Cenacle and the Churches of St James and St Mark on Mount Zion. After dinner, we go on to the Gardens of Gethsemane and the Rock of Agony where Jesus uttered his last prayer. After the betrayal by Judas, He was held prisoner at the palace of the High Priest Caiaphas. From prison Jesus was taken to the Judgment Hall and then led through the city to be crucified. Today we retrace these last hours of Jesus and join in the Holy Hour in the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemane.
Good Friday: The Passion of Jesus’s Last Hours
Our day begins on the top of the Mount of Olives with a visit to the Chapel of the Ascension - the place where Jesus ascended up to heavens 40 days after the resurrection; on to the Pater Noster (Eliona Church) - the place where Jesus taught the disciples the Prayer ‘Our Father’, which you see in 154 languages on ceramic art around the walls of the church; and on to the panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem. We continue on to visit St Peter in Gallicantu built over the Palace of Caiaphas on Mount Zion, where Peter denied Christ.
At 2.30pm we enter the Old City to take part in the ancient Way of the Cross Procession on the Via Dolorosa.
Join the “Funeral Procession” in the Holy Sepulcher at 8.10pm.
Day 8 | Holy Saturday – The Wilderness
We start the day in the town of Bethany, home of Martha and Mary, where Lazarus was raised from the dead. We visit the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by chance by a simple Bedouin herding his goats. After we explore Qumran we spend some time on a private beach where we have the option of covering ourselves with the world famous Dead Sea mud and relax with a float on salty Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth. Continue on our drive towards Jericho. Here, we visit the most ancient continuously inhibited city in the world (approximately 10,000 years old) the first city that was taken by Joshua. We view the sycamore tree and the famous mount of Temptation (Mt.Qarantal)
Church of the Holy Sepulcher: Evening Prayer in front of the Edicule at 6pm.
Pontifical Celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours with the Custos of the Holy Land (Holy Sepulcher: starts at 11.20pm).
10am: We join the Solemn Entry of the Latin Patriarch to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and attend the Pontifical Mass. In the afternoon we visit the village of Ein Karem in the suburbs of Jerusalem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist. We visit the Church of Visitation where Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the Magnificata. Then we visit the near by church built over the birthplace of John the Baptist “John the Baptist BaHarim”.
Easter Monday – Emmaus
10am: Join the Custos of the Holy Land in the Pontifical Mass and the Blessing of Bread. Emmaus is the site of the meeting of the two disciples with Jesus after the Resurrection. They invited him to join them in their simple meal and recognized him only when he blessed the bread. Time to enjoy the setting of Emmaus and a picnic lunch.
Tuesday - Departure