CATHOLIC PILGRIMAGES

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Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Jerusalem

After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our Franciscan priest guide or Catholic guide who will make the scripture come alive as you follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We will take you to your selected hotel in Jerusalem, where you will enjoy a welcome dinner.

Day 2: Bethlehem / Jerusalem (including Mass)

After breakfast, we will drive to Bethlehem to visit and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Nativity, which was built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ birth. We also tour the Manger, the Grotto of St. Jerome, the Church of St. Catherine, the Milk Grotto and the Shepherds’ Fields. We will then proceed to the Israel Museum in the New City of Jerusalem where we will view a scale model of Jerusalem as it was 2,000 years ago. We will then continue on to Ein Karem to see the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her famous “Magnificat” and the Church of St. John the Baptist, where he was born.

Day 3: Jerusalem (including Mass)

This morning we will drive to the top of the Mount of Olives, where a breathtaking panoramic view of the Old City awaits you. From there, we will visit the Church of Pater Noster, where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to His disciples, and the Chapel of Ascension, where He ascended into Heaven 40 days after His resurrection. Then we will walk along the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem. Afterwards, we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations for Mass on the Rock of Agony.

This afternoon, we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate. We will visit the Church of St. Anne where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born, the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralytic man, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of the “Ecce Homo”. We will then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to visit Golgotha and the Tomb of the Risen Savior.

Day 4: Jerusalem (including Mass)

Today we will visit the Temple area of the Old City of Jerusalem, featuring the Dome of the Rock, el Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing Wall. We will then enter the restored Jewish Quarter and walk along the excavated Cardo, once a main street of ancient Jerusalem, followed by a tour of the Herodian Mansions, a complex of villas from 2,000 years ago.

This afternoon, we will drive to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, Dormition Abbey where Mary fell into eternal sleep, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus three times.domeontherock

Day 5: Jerusalem (including Mass) /Dead Sea Area

After an early Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we will return to the hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will proceed to Bethany to visit the site of the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus as well as the Tomb of Lazarus. We will continue through the Judean Wilderness to Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. From the top of the ancient “tel”, we’ll have an excellent view of Elisha’s Fountain, the Qarantal and the Mount of Temptation.

Afterwards, we will travel to Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, followed by an opportunity to take a dip in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem. This evening, you will enjoy a special “farewell Jerusalem” dinner arranged in your honor in a typical Middle Eastern restaurant.

Day 6: Tiberias (including Mass)

This morning we leave for Tiberias, driving north through the Jordan River Valley to Bet Shean, where we’ll explore the extraordinary excavations of an ancient Roman city. From there, we will continue to the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River where you will have the opportunity to renew your baptismal vows. Following this, we will drive to Tiberias to check in at our hotel located on the shores of the picturesque Sea of Galilee.

Day 7: Tiberias / Sea of Galilee (including Mass)

This morning we will drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, we will celebrate Mass. Afterwards we will reach a site along the water named Tabgha (Seven Springs). There, our first stop will be the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Next, we will visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership of the Church. Here we will pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, followed by a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where we will see the ruins of the 2nd century Synagogue (John: 6). Here our Lord called some of the apostles in Capernaum, taught the Good News of our Redemption, and cured many people of their afflictions. On the site of the ancient village of Magdala a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.

After lunch in a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will drive to the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we will enjoy a peaceful boat ride, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake. The day will conclude with a drive back to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 8: Nazareth /Tiberias (including Mass)

Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed His first miracle – changing water into wine at the wedding feast. Here, we will invite couples to renew their wedding vows. Afterwards, we will proceed to Nazareth, Our Lord’s boyhood town, where Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica of the Annunciation. We will also visit Joseph’s Workshop and Mary’s Well, then take an excursion to Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight, from where we will return to our hotel.

foodmeatdishDay 9: Haifa (including Mass) / Return to Airport

This morning we will leave Tiberias and drive to the sparkling port city of Haifa, where we will ascend Mount Carmel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, for Mass at Stella Maris. We will then continue along the Mediterranean coast to ancient Caesarea where St. Peter preached and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years. Here we will visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the Crusaders’ Moat and the Byzantine Churches. The drive will also take us to Old Jaffa to visit the Church of St. Peter and the home of Simon the Tanner. Later on, you will feast during a farewell dinner in a local restaurant, including wine, and then transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for your evening flight home.

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Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Tiberias

On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our Franciscan priest guide or Catholic guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage in the Holy Land. You will travel by bus to our hotel in Tiberias, located directly on the Sea of Galilee, check in, and enjoy dinner together.

Day 2: Nazareth / Tiberias (including Mass)

After a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel, we will head to Nazareth with a stop in Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle during the wedding feast. Here, couples who wish to do so can renew their wedding vows before a priest. We then continue on to Nazareth for Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation. We’ll also visit the home of the Holy Family at the site of St. Joseph’s Church, which is very close to the Basilica. A short walk will take us to the Crusader church built on the site of the synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

In the afternoon we will travel to Sepphoris, the former capital of Galilee and the traditional site of the birthplace of the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anna, and the probable location where Joseph and Jesus would have likely practiced the family business. After a lunch break, we will ascend Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight before returning to Tiberias.

Day 3: Sea of Galilee / Tiberias (including Mass)

This morning we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, we will celebrate Mass. Afterwards we will reach a site along the water named Tabgha (Seven Springs). There, our first stop will be the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Next, we will visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership of the Church. Here we will pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, followed by a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where we will see the ruins of the 2nd-century Synagogue (John: 6). Here our Lord called some of the apostles in Capernaum, taught the Good News of our Redemption, and cured many people of their afflictions. On the site of the ancient village of Magdala a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.

After lunch in a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will drive to the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we will enjoy a peaceful boat ride, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake. The day will conclude with a drive back to our hotel in Tiberias.

boatongalileDay 4: Tiberias (including Mass) / Jerusalem

After breakfast, we will follow the Jordan River south from the Sea of Galilee through its fertile valley. Near Jericho, we will stop on the bank of the Jordan River to recall Our Lord’s Baptism by St. John. Those who wish may renew their own Baptismal Promises. Then we’ll stop by a sycamore tree to recall the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. From there we will travel to the site of Old Testament Jericho (Tel es-Sultan), Elisha’s Spring and visit an Orthodox Monastery very near the site of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert.

On the drive to Jerusalem, we will stop for Mass at Bethany, home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus before checking into our hotel.

Day 5:  Bethlehem (including Mass) / Jerusalem

Today, after traveling a short distance south of Jerusalem, we will arrive in Bethlehem. We begin with a visit in the countryside of the Shepherds’ Fields to recall the Angels’ glad tidings to the shepherds. Within the town of Bethlehem, we will go to venerate the Holy Grotto of the Nativity and attend Mass, and view the Manger and the Grotto of St. Jerome. We also will see the Franciscan church of St. Catherine, scene of Bethlehem’s Christmas Midnight Mass.

This afternoon we will drive to Ein Karem to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Visitation Church, where we will praise God with the Magnificat, before returning to our hotel.

Day 6: Jerusalem (including Mass)

This morning we will drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a spectacular view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem and stand where Jesus did. We will also visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster (commemorating the Our Father prayer). During our walk on the Palm Sunday Road, we will visit the chapel of Dominus Flevit. There, too, we will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem. We will then continue down the road to the Garden of Gethsemane and visit the Basilica of the Agony and the Tomb of Mary.

This afternoon we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem at St. Stephen’s Gate, where our first stop is the Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Next, we will follow the Way of the Cross, carrying a wooden cross along the streets and among the markets and shops as Jesus did on His journey to Calvary following the Via Dolorosa. We will then enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and inside, visit Golgotha and complete our devotions at the Sacred Tomb of Jesus. After dinner, around 8 p.m., we will come together in a holy hour in the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations) on the very spot where Jesus asked His apostles “Could you not stay awake for one hour with me?”

Day 7: Jerusalem (including Mass)

This morning we will make our way to the sacred Jewish Temple area, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), where prayers are offered at these remaining holy stones of the glorious second Temple. Today, the only structures left standing on the Temple Mount are the Moslem Shrines of the Dome of the Rock and el-Aqsa Mosque. We will then drive along the walls of the Old City to Mount Zion and visit the nearby traditional site of the Upper Room, remembering the Last Supper, Easter Sunday night and Pentecost Sunday. Nearby, we will see Dormition Abbey Church that honors the passage of Our Lady from this life to Heaven. This afternoon, we will continue our travels to Emmaus to recall Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the day of His resurrection.

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Day 8: Jerusalem (including Mass) / Return to Airport

Early this morning we will have Mass at the Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we will return to our hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will drive through the Judean Wilderness to Qumran to visit the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the ruins of the buildings of the Essene community. From there, we will proceed to the Dead Sea for a unique opportunity to float in its mineral-rich water. A drive through the winding mountain roads will take us back to Jerusalem. For the rest of the afternoon, you will be free to discover and enjoy this fascinating city on your own.

This evening, a special farewell dinner including wine has been arranged in your honor at a typical Middle Eastern restaurant. Late tonight, we will drive you to the airport for your return flight home.

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We are proud to be the first company to have organized a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1973 for a group of members of the Order from the western lieutenancy, under the leadership of William Doyle and Bishop Leo Maher and guided by the late Father G. Kloetzli. We enjoy a close relationship with the Order to this day and continue to arrange pilgrimages to the Holy Land, such as the following sample, for the various lieutenancies around the world.

Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Jerusalem

After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, you will be met by our Franciscan priest guide or English-speaking Catholic guide who will make the scripture come alive as you follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We will take you to your selected hotel in Jerusalem, where you will enjoy cocktails and a welcome dinner.

Day 2: Bethlehem / Jerusalem (including Mass)

After breakfast, we will drive to Bethlehem to visit and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Nativity, which was built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century above the traditional Grotto of Jesus’ birth. We will also tour the Manger, the Grotto of St. Jerome, the Church of St. Catherine, the Milk Grotto and the Shepherds’ Fields. As well, we will visit Bethlehem University, which is supported by the Order. We will then proceed to the Israel Museum in the New City of Jerusalem where we will view a scale model of Jerusalem as it was 2,000 years ago. We will then continue on to Ein Karem to see the Visitation Church, where Mary proclaimed her famous “Magnificat”, and the Church of St. John the Baptist, where he was born. Tonight, dinner will include an opportunity to meet with members of the local Christian community.

Day 3: Jerusalem (including Mass)

This morning we will drive to the top of the Mount of Olives, where a breathtaking panoramic view of the Old City awaits you. Together, we will visit the Church of Pater Noster, where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to His disciples, and the Chapel of Ascension where He ascended into Heaven 40 days after His resurrection. Then we will walk along the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem. Afterwards, we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations for Mass on the Rock of Agony.

This afternoon, we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate. We will visit the Church of St. Anne where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born, the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralytic man, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of the “Ecce Homo”. We will then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, there will be the Solemn Entry to the church, followed by Mass at the Sacred Tomb of Jesus and a meeting with the Latin Patriarchate to receive the Pilgrim’s Shell.

seaandfieldDay 4: Jerusalem (including Mass)

Today we will visit the Temple area of the Old City of Jerusalem, featuring the Dome of the Rock, el Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing Wall. We will then enter the restored Jewish Quarter and walk along the excavated Cardo, once a main street of ancient Jerusalem, followed by a tour of the Herodian Mansions, a complex of villas from 2,000 years ago, as well as a local school sponsored by the Order.

This afternoon, we will drive to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, Dormition Abbey where Mary fell into eternal sleep, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus three times.

Day 5: Jerusalem (including Mass) /Dead Sea Area

After an early Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, we will return to the hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will proceed to Bethany to visit the site of the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus as well as the Tomb of Lazarus. We will continue through the Judean Wilderness to Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world. From the top of the ancient “tel”, we’ll have an excellent view of Elisha’s Fountain, the Qarantal and the Mount of Temptation.

Afterwards, we will travel to Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, followed by a unique opportunity to take a dip in the healing, mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, before returning to Jerusalem. This evening, you will enjoy a special “farewell Jerusalem” dinner arranged in your honor in a typical Middle Eastern restaurant, featuring a guest speaker from the Christian community.

Day 6: Tiberias (including Mass)

This morning we leave for Tiberias, driving north through the Jordan River Valley to Bet Shean, where we’ll explore the extraordinary excavations of an ancient Roman city. From there, we will continue to the Baptismal Site on the Jordan River where you will have the opportunity to renew your baptismal vows. Following this, we will drive to Tiberias to check in at our hotel located on the shores of the picturesque Sea of Galilee.

Day 7: Tiberias / Sea of Galilee (including Mass)

This morning we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, we will celebrate Mass. Afterwards we will reach a site along the water named Tabgha (Seven Springs). There, our first stop will be the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Next we will visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership of the Church. Here we will pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, followed by a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where we will see the ruins of the 2nd century Synagogue (John: 6). Here our Lord called some of the apostles in Capernaum, taught the Good News of our Redemption, and cured many people of their afflictions. On the site of the ancient village of Magdala a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.

After lunch in a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will drive to the shores of the Sea of Galilee where we will enjoy a peaceful boat ride, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake. The day will conclude with a drive back to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 8: Nazareth /Tiberias (including Mass)

Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed His first miracle – changing water into wine at the wedding feast, and where couples may renew their wedding vows. Afterwards, we will proceed to Nazareth, Our Lord’s boyhood town, where Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica of the Annunciation. We will also visit Joseph’s Workshop and Mary’s Well. From there, we will ascend Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight, before returning to our hotel.

stonehallwayDay 9: Haifa (including Mass) / Return to Airport

This morning we will leave Tiberias and drive to the sparkling port city of Haifa, where we will ascend Mount Carmel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, for Mass at Stella Maris. We will then continue along the Mediterranean coast to ancient Caesarea where St. Peter preached and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years. Here we will visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the Crusaders’ Moat and the Byzantine churches. The drive will also take us to Old Jaffa to visit the Church of St. Peter and the home of Simon the Tanner.

Later on, you will feast during a “last supper” in a local restaurant, including wine, and then transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for your evening flight home.

Day11-030Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Tel Aviv (including Mass)

After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, you’ll be welcomed by our Franciscan guide or English-speaking Catholic guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage in the Holy Land and Jordan. Depending on your arrival time, you will board our bus and visit Old Jaffa, where Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Church. Next we will travel to ancient Caesarea, where Peter baptized the family of Cornelius, and where Paul was imprisoned for two years before being taken to Rome for trial. We will also visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the ancient port, the amphitheater, and the Crusaders’ Moat. Afterwards, we will drive to our hotel in Tel Aviv where you will check in, followed by dinner together.

Day 2: Haifa (including Mass) / Sea of Galilee / Tiberias

After a hearty breakfast, if there was no time to do so yesterday, we will drive along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to ancient Caesarea, where Peter baptized the family of Cornelius, and where Paul was imprisoned for two years. We will visit the ruins of the Roman Theater, the ancient port, the amphitheater, and the Crusaders’ Moat. Afterwards, we will travel through the Plain of Sharon to the modern port city of Haifa and ascend Mount Carmel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, for a scenic view of the city and the port. We’ll visit the Carmelite basilica, popularly known as Stella Maris and celebrate Mass here. Next we will go to Muhraka, the site of the duel between Elijah and the false prophets of Baal. From there, we will drive to our hotel located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias.

Day 3: Nazareth / Tiberias (including Mass)

This morning we will travel to Cana, the site of the first miracle of Our Lord and visit the Wedding Church, where couples will be invited to renew their wedding vows. We will then drive to Nazareth for Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation. We’ll also visit the home of the Holy Family at the site of St. Joseph’s Church as well as the Crusaders’ Church, built on the site of the synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

In the afternoon we will drive to Sepphoris, traditional site of the birthplace of the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anna, the former capital of Galilee and the probable location where Joseph and Jesus would have most likely practiced the family business. Afterwards, we will ascend Mount Tabor, where Jesus took Peter, James and John and was gloriously transfigured in their sight before returning to our hotel.

Day 4: Tiberias (including Mass)

This morning we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. In this scenic setting, Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount. Down along the lakeshore, we will come to Tabgha (Seven Springs), the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. Next we will visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Our Lord bestowed upon Peter the role of leadership of the Church. Here we will pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. We will also take a prayerful walk to Capernaum, known as the Second City of Jesus, where Our Lord called some the apostles, and where we will see the ruins of the 2nd century Synagogue (John: 6). It is here that He taught the Good News of our Redemption and cured many people of their afflictions. Next we will proceed to the site of the ancient village of Magdala, where a new facility is being built for pilgrims; we will visit this site made famous by its Gospel resident, Mary of Magdala.

After lunch at a restaurant serving St. Peter’s Fish, we will enjoy a boat ride on the peaceful Sea of Galilee, remembering the scripture passages of Jesus and His apostles on this lake, before returning to our hotel.

sunsetonhillDay 5: Tiberias / Petra (including Mass)

Today we will check out of our hotel and drive to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge to cross into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We will continue to Mount Nebo, where Moses viewed the Promised Land. After Mass at the Franciscan Chapel, we will travel south to the ancient city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and settle into our hotel, followed by a Jordanian dinner.

 Day 6: Petra (including Mass) / Amman

This morning we will take a horse-drawn ride through the Siq to the magnificent city of Petra, which was rediscovered in 1912. This “rose-red” city was founded by the Nabatean Arabs as their capital city and lies in a valley enclosed by sandstone cliffs in shades of red, purple and pale yellow. The remains of Petra bear eloquent testimony to its former power, wealth and architecture. We will marvel at the masterpieces of the Treasury, made famous by the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and visit the Monastery, the Triumphal Arch and the Roman Amphitheater. We will then travel through Karak, an ancient walled city steeped in history, and visit a church in Madaba which has a famous ancient mosaic (6th century) of the Holy Land. We will continue on to Amman, the capital of Jordan, which was built by the Romans according to a traditional city plan and which, like Rome, sprawls over seven hills. Following this, we will proceed to our hotel.

Day 7: Amman / Dead Sea Area / Jerusalem (including Mass)

This morning we will drive to the Jordan River to view Byzantine church ruins where the Byzantine Christians recalled Jesus’ baptism. Nearby is the cave where it is said that John the Baptist stayed. We will then have the opportunity to renew our baptismal promises by the Jordan River. We’ll also stop at Elijah’s Hill, the site from which the great prophet went up into heaven on a fiery chariot. Afterwards, we’ll drive to Allenby Bridge and cross from Jordan into the West Bank and travel to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western World. Here we’ll stop by a sycamore tree and recall the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. From there, we will travel to the site of Old Testament Jericho (Tel es-Sultan), Elisha’s Spring and stop at an Orthodox Monastery very near the site of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert.

After lunch, we will drive to Qumran to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, as well as the ruins of the buildings of the Essene community. Following this, we will stop at the Dead Sea for a unique opportunity to float on its mineral-rich water. A drive through the winding mountain roads will take us to Jerusalem and our hotel.

Day 8: Bethlehem (including Mass) / Jerusalem

This morning we leave for Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus and the cradle of Christianity. We will visit the Church of the Nativity, where we will celebrate Mass at the Grotto of Saint Joseph, and, time permitting, join the Franciscans in the noon prayer service that includes a procession to the revered location of Jesus’ birth. We will also visit the Church of the Nativity, the Manger, the Church of St. Catherine, the Grotto of St. Jerome and the Shepherds’ Fields. We will then have lunch at the Casa Nova Hospice in Old Jerusalem, a quaint historic guest house built in the 16th century to accommodate Catholic pilgrims and owned by the Franciscans.

In the afternoon, we’ll drive to the gentle, lush countryside of Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born and we’ll visit the Church of St. John. We’ll also tour the Church of the Visitation, which commemorates the visitation of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth. After enjoying dinner, we will take a holy hour in the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of All Nations) around 8 p.m. on the very spot where Jesus asked his apostles “Could you not stay awake for one hour with me?”

Day 9: Jerusalem (including Mass)

Today we will drive to the Mount of Olives to enjoy the spectacular view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem and stand atop it as Jesus did. Then we will visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster (commemorating the Our Father prayer). Afterwards, we will walk the “Palm Sunday Road” to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem, and proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Basilica of the Agony and the Tomb of Mary. We will then travel to Bethany, home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.

In the afternoon we will drive to Emmaus to recall Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the day of His resurrection before returning to our hotel for dinner.

jeruatnightDay 10: Jerusalem (including Mass)/ Return to Airport

Early this morning we will have Mass at the Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then return to our hotel for breakfast. Afterwards, we will drive to Mount Zion to visit the Franciscan Chapel at the Cenacle, then continue to the Upper Room where Our Lord ate the Last Supper with His disciples. Following this, we will visit Dormition Abbey where Mary, mother of Jesus, “fell into eternal sleep”, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the “rooster crowed.”

After lunch, we will walk through the narrow, cobble-stoned streets of the Old City as we visit the Church of St. Anne, the Pool of Bethesda, the Chapel of Flagellation and the Arch of the “Ecce Homo”. We will then pray at the Stations of the Cross as we follow the Via Dolorosa to the holiest shrine in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, to visit Golgotha and the Tomb of Our Lord. We will conclude the day with a special farewell dinner (with wine) in your honor at a typical Middle Eastern restaurant. Late tonight we will drive you to the airport for your return flight home.