Sample of Catholic Pilgrimage

A fascinating 8-day tour combining visits to sacred Christian sites with other historical attractions

 

Day 1 – Biblical Nature, Mini-Israel and Approaching Jerusalem

  • Arrive at Ben-Gurion International Airport, just outside Tel-Aviv.
  • Enjoy a "Biblical Meal" at the Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Reserve – home to trees, plants and fruits mentioned in the Bible – and a leisurely tour of this unique site.
  • Alternatively, or in addition, visit Mini-Israel, which offers you a miniature overview of the entire country, displaying replicas of each of the holy sites. (Either of these sites could be suitable as a finale to your tour.)
  • Drive (less than an hour) to the Holy City of Jerusalem.
    Overnight: Jerusalem

 

 

Day 2 – Following Jesus in Jerusalem, Holy to All Three Great Religions

  • Visit the Mount of Olives for an awesome, panoramic view of the Old City.
  • Walk through the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30), see the Grotto of Agony, and pray at the Church of All Nations, the Paternoster Church and the Chapel of the Ascension. You can also visit the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus performed the Sabbath miracle (John 5:1-24).
  • Experience an inspiring visit to Mount Zion, home to King David's Tomb and the actual room where the Last Supper is said to have taken place (Mark 14: 12-26).
  • Close by is the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, built on the site of the House of the High Priest Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57), where Jesus was imprisoned for a night, and the Dormition Abbey.
  • Stroll through the colorful and sensual Moslem Quarter on your way to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, situated – according to Jewish tradition – on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2), site of the Binding of Isaac and the two Jewish Temples.
  • Touch the emotion-filled stones of the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site in the world, and explore over 3,000 years of history, underground, on an enthralling tour of the Western Wall Tunnels.
    Overnight: Jerusalem

 

 

Day 3 – Bethlehem*, Where it all Began… and More of Jerusalem

  • A short drive from Jerusalem brings you to Bethlehem*, birthplace of Jesus.
  • Visit the oldest church in the Holy Land, the Church of the Nativity at Manger Square (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-7), built over the Manger Cave.
  • Explore St. Jerome's Chapel, St. Catherine's Church and the nearby Shepherd's Field* (Luke 2:8-20).
  • Return to Jerusalem to see an amazing, detailed model of First Century Jerusalem at the Israel Museum, which displays a wide selection of impressive modern and ancient exhibits.
  • Ein Karem, a serene, picturesque Jerusalem suburb, is also home to the Church of John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation.
  • Finish your day with a powerful, thought-provoking visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
    Overnight: Jerusalem

 

 

Day 4 – Following the Path to the Crucifixion

  • Enter the Old City via St. Stephen's Gate.
  • Literally follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he walked down the Via Dolorosa.
  • Hear the amazing story of the Sisters of Zion at the Stone Pavement – how the Ratisbonne brothers founded the community and their sacred work in the Holy Land.
  • Continue along the Via Dolorosa until you reach the five stations of the Cross at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
  • Spend the afternoon shopping or sightseeing in modern Jerusalem, which offers you a range of modern shopping malls, fresh produce markets, museums, fascinating neighborhoods, and more!
    Overnight: Jerusalem.

 

 

Day 5 – Jericho*, the World's Oldest City and Northwards to the Sea of Galilee

  • Say farewell to Jerusalem on your way to Jericho* via the mysterious Judean Desert.
  • Stop off at Bethany,* home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11), where Jesus stayed at the home of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6) and visit the Inn of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34).
  •  Imagine yourself conquering Jericho under Joshua's leadership all those years ago (Joshua 6:20.) Enjoy a stunning cable car ride to Quarantal (the Mount of Temptation, Matthew 4:1-11) and see an active monastery carved into the cliffs.
  • Moving northwards, drive through the Jordan Valley until you reach scenic Mount Tabor (Psalms 89:12), one of two places considered probable sites of the Transfiguration.
  • A short drive then transports you into another world, the world of Jesus' childhood in the holy city of Nazareth. Experience Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation and visit the Church of St. Joseph.
  • Visit Cana, site of Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine (John 2:1-11).
  • Drive to Tiberias, one of Judaism's "Four Holy Cities." Couples wishing to renew their matrimonial vows can stop off at a local wedding chapel.
    Overnight: Tiberias area.

 

 

Day 6 – Sea of Galilee and Jesus' Miracles

  • Cross the glorious waters of the Sea of Galilee – from Tiberias to Capernaum, home to Jesus' Galilean ministry.
  • Visit the synagogue site where Jesus most certainly taught and worshipped (Matthew 4:13, Mark 3:1, 8:5 and 14), the House of Peter and the House of the Centurion.
  • Cross the road and walk up to the Mount of Beatitudes, with its stunning view of the Sea of Galilee. Here, Jesus delivered his famous Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12).
  • Next stop Tabgha, site of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes (Luke 9:10-17) and the Church of St. Peter's Primacy, where Jesus instructed Peter to "feed my sheep" (John 21: 15-17).
  • Enjoy a view of the "Galilee Boat", an authentic fishing boat from Jesus' times, and a film about how it was discovered and preserved.
    Overnight: Tiberias area.

 

 

Day 7 – More Miracles and Galilean Adventures

  • Visit Kursi, the New Testament Gergesenes, overlooking the western shores of the Sea of Galilee and site of the Miracle of the Gadarene Swine (Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-13). The miracle is celebrated in what remains of a beautiful 5th Century Byzantine church.
  • Continue on to Dodekathronon, site of the second Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes (Luke 9:11-17).
  • Take a short break at Kibbutz Ein Gev to enjoy an animated version of "The Gospel Trail."
  • Jordan Park, site of Bethseida, the city of Phillip, Andrew and Peter (John 12:21) and others, and where Jesus healed the blind man (Mark 8:22-26).
  • Return to a night out in Tiberias, but don't forget to see the ruins at Korazin, one of the "Jewish Triangle" cities in Jesus' time (Matthew 11:21).
    Overnight: Tiberias area.

 

 

Day 8 – Crusaders, Elijah, Romans and More

  • Visit the Old City of Acre and the remains of a Crusader fortress.
  • Travel up to Haifa and Mount Carmel, and visit Stella Maris (for Mass) on your way to the site of Elijah's famous victory over the Prophets of Ba'al (I Kings 18:25).
  • Drive southwards to the Roman city of Caesarea, where the centurion Cornelius was baptized by Peter, becoming the first gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10), and where Festus tried Paul (Acts 25: 6-12). Visit the impressive excavations, the amphitheater and the Herodian port.
  • Back to Tel-Aviv, maybe stopping off for a magical tour of Old Jaffa port, before preparing for the flight home.

 

 

Masses will be celebrated daily.

When a priest accompanies the group, private masses can be arranged. These should be booked in advance and can be held Monday-Saturday (subject to space) at the following sites:

  •  Carmelite Monastery in Haifa
  • Church of St. Peter's Primacy in the Galilee
  • Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth
  • Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
  • Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem

If a group arrives without a priest, they can participate in regular Masses in English on Sundays. Some places also conduct Mass in the afternoons during the week.

Click here for a virtual tour

 

*Under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
Visiting the site/s may require special arrangements, including coordination for transportation and guides.