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Catholic Holy Land Tour

Tour Highlights

This Holy Land tour can bring you closer to your faith. Here you will stand in the places you’ve heard about your whole life and experience the spiritual awakening that arises from the Holy sites. For many Catholics, going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a great way to know the land where Jesus was born, where he preached and healed, suffered, died and rose again.

Visit Holy sites of spiritual importance to Catholics.

Experience Mass in the spectacular Holy Land Churches and Chapels.

Spend time at the sacred baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Dead Sea and discover where the biblical scrolls where discovered.

Marvel at the contrasts of ancient and modern with tours to the cities including Acre, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Tour on map

Detailed Program

Day 1

Ben Gurion Airport / Tel Aviv

Today you arrive in the Holy Land. The group will be met at the airport and then transferred by private coach to your hotel in Tel Aviv. After freshening up we will take you on an afternoon tour of Jaffa.  In addition to strolling through this ancient port city with its old narrow streets and courtyards, we will take you to what is known as the exact spot where St.Peter had his vision on the rooftop of the House of Simon the tanner (Acts 10:32), where Tabitha was raised from the dead (Acts 9:36); Jonah set sail to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3) and King Solomon built his port (2 Chron. 2:16) on the Mediterranean.

Visit Saint Peter’s Church.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

Day 2

Tel Aviv / Mediterranean Coast / Galilee

We leave Tel Aviv today and travel along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea -  the magnificent ruins of Herod’s showcase port city. Many events significant to Catholicism happened in Caesarea;  here St. Peter converted the Cornelius’ household (Acts 10:24), it was the place of St. Paul’s imprisonment (Acts 23:35), here St. Paul appeared before King Agrippa and departed for Rome (Acts 25:13-26:32) and it was home to the Church father, Eusebius. This magical place will transport us back to the ancient times of early Christianity.

We then continue up the coast to Haifa/Mt Carmel. Here we will visit the beautiful Carmelite Catholic Stella Maris Monastery and take in the stunning sea views.

But don’t put your cameras away… We will then continue to see (and take photos of) the splendid  Bahai Gardens.

The Old City of Acre (Akko) will be the last stop today. Acre was named Ptolemais when St. Paul was there (Acts 21:7). It is a gem of the medieval world, with its Knights’ Halls, fishermen’s port, Turkish Bath Museum, bazaar and ramparts overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Possible venue for Mass: Stella Maris Monastery, Haifa

Overnight: Galilee

Day 3

Sea of Galilee Area / Mount Tabor

We start today with a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and we’ll feel the spiritual power of this unique lake. We will then visit the Holy Land site of Capernaum,  the setting for many miracles and teachings, and known as Jesus’s “own town” (Matt. 9:1). Our tour takes us to The House of St. Peter  (Mark 1:29) and the Memorial of St. Peter and well as The Ancient Synagogue – built over the site where Jesus preached (Mark 1:21).

We will visit Tabgha  and the Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes – the site of the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt. 14:13-21) and the Mount of Beatitudes – where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5), and one of many sites where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II prayed.

We will continue to another site which evokes religious feeling, Mount Tabor ­– crowned by the magnificent Church of the Transfiguration with its brilliant mosaics. Mount Tabor is also the site where Barak and Deborah gathered their forces (Judges 4:6).

We then continue to the banks of the Jordan River to visit, Yardenit – Baptismal site* (or Qasr El Yahud baptismal site on Day 4) and enjoy the tranquillity and spiritual beauty of the waters in which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

Our final stop for today is the contemporary capital of the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias. It was built by Herod Antipas (Luke 13:31) during Jesus’ ministry and has many reminders of Biblical days.

Possible venues for Mass: Mount of Beatitudes; St. Peter in Capernaum, St. Peter’s Church in Tiberias, The Church of the Transfiguration

Overnight: Galilee

Day 4

Cana / Nazareth / Jericho / Qumran / Jerusalem

We start our day with a visit to Cana on the outskirts of Nazareth, where Jesus performed the first miracle, changing water into wine (John 2:1-11). Here we find the Wedding Church and the Church of Nathanael (John 21:2) – it is possible to arrange renewal of marriage vows here. Next, we go on to Jesus’s childhood home Nazareth with its attractive churches. Each church has its own character and significance. We will see the Mensa Christi in the old residential quarter, the Synagogue Church in the market, St. Gabriel’s Church over the ancient spring, the Church of St. Joseph, and of course the jewel in the crown, the Basilica of the Annunciation, with its magnificent representations of Mary from around the world.

Driving south from Nazareth we reach Jericho, known as the lowest city on earth and we will marvel at the ancient ruins and Mount of Temptation.

There is an option to travel to Qasr El Yahud* baptismal site and revel in its natural beauty (instead of Yardenit – Baptismal site on Day 3).

After Jericho we will arrive at the bucket list site, The Dead Sea – this incredible natural phenomenon is the lowest, saltiest body of water on earth. We will take in the relaxing, ethereal atmosphere of what is called in the Bible, the Salt Sea, or Eastern Sea (Josh. 15:5; Ezek. 47:18). Here we will visit the historical site of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

Possible venues for Mass: Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth, the Church of St. Joseph, Cana

Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 5

Jerusalem – Mount of Olives /Mount Zion

What a better way to start the day at the top of Mount of Olives to wonder at the splendid panoramic view of the Holy City with its many important churches marking biblical sites.

We will visit the following spiritual holy sites:

Pater Noster – where Jesus taught the Our Father prayer (Luke 11:1-4).

The Dome of the Ascension ­– the site where Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:11).

Dominus Flevit – where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).

The Garden of Gethsemane – with its ancient olive trees where Jesus was arrested (John 18:1-12), next to the Church of All Nations, named for the contributions made by Catholics from around the world. The Church overlooks the Kidron Valley (John 18:1) and is also known as the Basilica of the Agony, as here Jesus sweated blood in fervent prayer (Luke 22:44).

We continue on to Mount Zion, where we will visit:

St. Peter in Gallicantu – with its beautiful mosaics and bronze statuary, built over the ruins of the house of Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57), the stone pit where tradition says Jesus was held, and the Sacred Staircase, which for centuries has led here from the Kidron Valley.

The Coenaculum – or Room of the Last Supper, built over the site of where Jesus and the disciples celebrated the first Eucharist (Mark 14:24).

Dormition Abbey – marking the site of the Dormition of Mary, where Mary was taken up to Heaven.

Possible venues for Mass: Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, the Church of All Nations, Dormition Abbey, St. Peter in Gallicantu

Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 6

Jerusalem – Old City

Today you will discover how Jerusalem is sacred to three religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Our first stop is the Western Wall (the Kotel) holy to the Jewish people since it is the remaining part of the ancient wall of the Second Temple.  Behind the Wall is the Temple Mount* with the Dome of the Rock and El Aksa Mosques (we will view from the outside). The Temple Mount is also where Jesus spent Tuesday and Wednesday of the Holy Week.

From here we continue our tour to visit some of the most significant Christian sites including:

The Pools of Bethesda – where Jesus miraculously healed a paralytic (John 5:2).

The Church of St. Anne – built over the home of Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary.

We will experience Jesus’s final footsteps whilst walking along the Via Dolorosa and following the Stations of the Cross from the Chapel of the Flagellation, and the Sisters of Zion Convent, through the colorful market streets of Old Jerusalem to the Judgment Gate and the Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

We then enter the new city of Jerusalem and pass by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) to see the large bronze Menorah, on our way to the Shrine of the Book, at the Israel Museum, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We will also visit the Model of Jerusalem – the famed 1:50 model which recreates how the Holy City was at the time of Jesus.

Possible venues for Mass: St Anne Church, The Franciscan Chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 7

Jerusalem – Ein Karem / Bethlehem

We start out at Ein Karem – the “city of Judah” (Luke 1:39), and the birthplace of John the Baptist, is our first stop for today. We will discover here:

The Church of the Visitation – where the Virgin Mary met Elizabeth and recited her song of praise, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).

The Church of St. John – where John the Baptist was born.

We then leave Jerusalem for Bethlehem - imagine actually standing where Jesus was born*.

We will visit:

The Church of the Nativity and the Grotto of the Nativity, an underground cave located beneath the Basilica, which enshrines the site where Jesus is said to have been born. The exact spot is marked beneath an altar by a 14-pointed Silver Star set into the marble floor and surrounded by silver lamps. This altar is denominationally neutral, although it features primarily Armenian Apostolic influences. Another altar in the Grotto, which is maintained by the Roman Catholics, marks the site where traditionally Mary laid the newborn Baby in the manger.

The Roman Catholic (Franciscans) Chapel of the Shepherd’s Field, situated approximately 600m to the north of al-Ruwat, and marks the place where angels announced the birth of Jesus. We will discover here a low natural cave or rock shelter in pleasant surroundings with a beautiful view of the hills. The cave, with a soot-blackened roof, has been partially enclosed to create the modern Chapel. The Chapel, built in 1954, is shaped like a tent and decorated with a bronze angel.

The Milk Grotto and Church, built by the Franciscans in 1872. The people of Bethlehem and local artisans expressed their love for the site by decorating the shrine with mother-of-pearl carvings.

Possible venues for Mass: The Church of the Visitation; The Church of St. John, Bethlehem

Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 8

Jerusalem / Ben Gurion Airport

Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your return flight home.

*visit subject to security conditions and government instructions

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