PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND 2023
Depart Toronto on a direct flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we collect our luggage and meet our guide and transfer to our hotel in Nazareth. En route we stop at Cesarea Maritima, one of the most important cities in Roman Empire, built by Herod the Great.
We can explore King Herod’s ancient port and harbor, the city’s Roman theatre, hippodrome, and aqueducts. St Paul the Apostle was imprisoned here for two years, before he went to Rome, where he was executed. We continue to Haifa and Carmelite Church of Stella Maris on Mount Carmel, where we celebrate Mass. We also stop at the Hanging Bahai Gardens, famous garden terraces around Bahai shrine.
Dinner and overnight in Nazareth.
We start our day with a boat ride on the peaceful Sea of Galilee where Jesus miraculously walked on water. In Tabgha (also known as Heptapegon, the Seven Springs) we see the Church of Multiplication with its famous 5th century fish mosaic and the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy.
Later visit Capernaum, home of St. Peter and the site of Christ’s preaching. Celebrate mass on Mt. Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered his famous Sermon on the Mount. In the afternoon we stop to renew our baptismal vows at baptismal site on Jordan River, where according to tradition, Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist.
Dinner and overnight in Nazareth.
In the morning we ascent Mount Tabor – the Mount of Transfiguration. Continue to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and the place where he spent the first 30 years of his life. We visit the Basilica of Annunciation, built over the remains of Byzantine and Crusader churches.
It incorporates the cave in which the Virgin Mary received the news from the Angel Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus. The upper part of Basilica is adorned by huge mosaics of the Virgin Mary donated by communities from around the world. We also see Mary’s Well and St. Joseph’s carpentry shop. On to Cana – the site of Jesus’ first miracle, where couples will be able to renew their marriage vows.
Mass. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth.
We leave Nazareth in the morning. We drive through the Judean Desert to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Later we descent to the Dead Sea– the lowest place on earth (423 meters below sea level). Time to enjoy the sun and float on the surface of the Dead Sea. In the afternoon we see monastery on the Mt. of Temptation and finally we arrive in Jericho the oldest city in the world. We stop by Sycamore tree to tell the story of Zacchaeus.
Mass, dinner and overnight in Jericho.
Today our journey takes us to the village Ein Karem, where we will visit the Church of Visitation, the site of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ s visit with her cousin Elizabeth. This is the place where Our Lady said Her ” Magnificat.” We continue to Bethlehem.
First, the visit to Shepherd’s Field where Angels appeared to the shepherds, to announce the birth of Jesus. Later we visit the church of Nativity built over the tomb of St. Jerome. In the Grotto under the central altar, we will walk by the Holy Manger, and touch the spot where Jesus was born, the Silver Star with the Latin inscription Hic de Maria Virgine Jesus Christus Natus Est (Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born).
Mass. Dinner and overnight in Jericho.
In the morning, we will head to Jerusalem to visit the Pater Noster Church– site of where Jesus taught his disciples the Our Father prayer. Enjoy the view of the Holy City from atop the Mount of Olives. We then walk down the Palm Sunday Road, the road Jesus followed on his way to Jerusalem. We stop at the chapel of Dominus Flevit where our Lord wept and shed a tear for the city of Jerusalem.
We then proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane and pray at the Church of All Nations also known as the Basilica of the Agony. It was built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified. In the afternoon, we visit Mount Zion, home to King David’s tomb and the Upper Room where the Last Supper is said to have taken place.
We also visit the Abbey of the Dormition, where Mary fell into Eternal sleep and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, built on the site of the House of the High Priest Calaphas. This is where the Jesus spent the night in the dungeon after his arrest. On this site, Peter denied Jesus, three times.
Mass in one of Jerusalem churches. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
In the morning we will enter the Old City and begin with the Church of St Anne built over the house of Joachim and Anne.
Here we also visit and pray at the pool of Bethesda where Jesus Christ healed a man who was crippled for 38 years. We continue with the Stations of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows). We walk carrying the cross the same pathway Jesus walked from Pilate’s Judgment Hall, where he was condemned to death to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mass. At the end of the day, we stop at Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site in the world.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Morning transfer to Tel Aviv airport for our flight to Toronto.