We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, where our Unitours tour manager will meet us and remain with us for the duration of our pilgrimage. We drive north to our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee; enjoy free time to acclimate to the time zone. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
This morning we visit Nazareth and celebrate Mass at the Church of the Annunciation, where the Word became Flesh! We continue to the nearby village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle; our married couples will have the opportunity to renew their wedding vows. This afternoon we drive to Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration for personal prayer and reflection. Return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Today we take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to the seaside village of Kibbutz Ginosar to view the historic archaeological discovery of “The Jesus Boat.” On to Capernaum, where we view the remains of the village synagogue and the new church built atop St. Peter’s house. We continue to Bethsaida – then drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, to celebrate Mass and enjoy personal meditation in the beautiful gardens. We visit Tabgha and the Franciscan Church of St. Peter’s Primacy, where Jesus made His appearance after the resurrection. Next we see the Benedictine Basilica of the Loaves and Fishes. We continue to Mt. Carmel where we visit the site of Elijah’s confrontation with the priests of Baal. We conclude our day with a visit to the River Jordan, and we renew our Baptismal promises. Return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
This morning we drive south through the Jordan Valley visiting Jericho and viewing the Mount of Temptation. After our visit to Jericho, we drive a short way along the exciting Wadi Qelt to an overlook up to St. George’s Monastery. We continue to Bethany and visit Lazarus’ tomb and the Church of Martha and Mary where we celebrate Mass. Finally, we make our thrilling entry into Bethlehem The House of Bread, before arriving at our hotel in Bethlehem for dinner and overnight.
BETHLEHEM – JERUSALEM
This morning, we visit the Church of the Nativity that commemorates the birth of Our Lord. We visit the Manger, Crusader’s Cloister, and the Grotto of St. Jerome, where we celebrate the Christmas Mass. We also visit Shepherd’s Field. We break bread and have a special lunch with some of the local Palestinian Christians. This afternoon, we enter Jerusalem and visit the place of the Ascension and the Church of the Pater Noster. We view the beautiful City of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We walk down the hill to Dominus Flevit Chapel, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem and on to the Garden of Gethsemane to the Church of All Nations. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.
This morning, we return to the Judean wilderness first visiting the excavations at Qumran, the home of the Essenes connected with John the Baptist and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Weather permitting; we have an opportunity to swim in the salty, yet clear waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth (swim lockers not included). We stop at the traditional site of the Good Samaritan Inn. Returning to Jerusalem, we drive to Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born and Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth to utter the words of the Magnificat. We will spend time contemplating the Magnificat and celebrate Mass here. Our afternoon ends with a visit to Yad Vashem? the Memorial to the Holocaust or additional free time in the old city of Jerusalem. Return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
We rise very early today and walk the Stations of the Cross and the Via Dolorosa arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. Then we continue to the Church of St. Ann (Mary’s mother) and the Pool of Bethesda. We visit Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, Arch of Ecce Homo and the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. We drive along the Kidron Valley stopping at St. Peter in Gallicantu (The Cock Crows), where Jesus was held in the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. If possible, today we will meet with the Latin Patriarch. Return to hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
JERUSALEM – TEL AVIV – AIRPORT
Today we go to Mt. Zion to visit the Church of Dormition and pray in the Upper Room. We enter the Old City through Zion Gate making our way to the Western (Wailing) Wall. We also see the Cardo and the remains of Hezekiah’s wall. Later, we travel to Abu Gosh, one of the traditional sites of Emmaus, where Jesus appeared on the road on the first Easter Sunday. We celebrate our closing Holy Land Mass here. We continue to Jaffa, the city of Jonah, where Peter had his rooftop experience, where we ride through the quaintly restored area. We enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner nearby before we head to Ben Gurion Airport for our overnight flight home.