Holy Land


2018 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

November 5-16, 2018

Starting at $2999* per person
Come and see… John 1:39
Dear Pilgrim, The peace of Jesus Christ be with you! Thank you for your interest on the 2018 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Here is some information concerning the itinerary of the trip.


Monday, 05 November – Depart from USA

The pilgrims will depart from Rochester.

Tuesday, 06 November – Arrive in Israel

Arrive in Tel Aviv and then take a bus towards Galilee for Tiberias where we will be based for five days as we explore Galilee and the neighboring towns. Staying at the St. George Hotel in Nazareth.
  • Celebrate a Welcome Mass in the evening.

Wednesday, 07 November – Nazareth, Cana and Sepphoris

Witness where Christianity began: Nazareth, the place where God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin to reveal His definitive plan of salvation in the “Word made flesh,” Jesus Christ, and the place where the obedience of Mary, “Be it done unto me according to your word,” (Lk 1:26-38) and Joseph (Mt 1:18-25) began to radically transform the whole world. Journey through this town in Galilee where Jesus made his home (Mt 2:19-23) and grew up (Lk 2:39-40, 51-52): visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of Saint Joseph, the Synagogue of Jesus and the Well of the Virgin Mary. And just four miles NE of Nazareth is Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding (Jn 2:1-12), as well as place where Jesus returned to heal the Court Official’s Son (Jn 4:46-54). At the Franciscan Church of the Miracle of Water and Wine, couples will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows. Then, NW of Nazareth is the town of Sepphoris, thought to have been the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents St. Joachim and St. Anne (Piacenza Pilgrim). Sepphoris, the “ornament of all Galilee” (Antiquities), has extensive ruins and mosaics from the time of Herod Antipas, the Crusaders and the Ottoman can be found here, including a beautiful mosaic of a woman, dubbed as the “Mona Lisa of Galilee”.
  • Celebrate mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Thursday, 8 November – The Sea of Galilee and the Surrounding Area

Get immerse at the sites of the public ministry of Jesus in Galilee: the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called his first disciples (Mk 1:16-20) and visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, Tabgha or Heptapegon, the traditional site of the feeding of the multitude (Mk 6:34- 44; 8:1-9) and visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, Capernaum where Jesus first performed his accounted exorcisms (Mk 1:21-28) and healing miracles (Mk 1:29-34), where Jesus taught on the Sabbath at the Synagogue (Mk 3:1-6), where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection (Jn 21:1-14) and commissioned Peter (Jn 21:15-17). In Capernaum, visit the remains of the Synagogue, the venerated House of St. Peter, and the excavations in the Greek Orthodox property where, as believed by tradition, is located the House of the Centurion (Mt 8:5-13). Then continue to Kursi, in the region of the Gadarenes where Christ casted the unclean spirits into the herd of swine (Mk 5:1-20). Then cross the Sea of Galilee aboard a boat of the Kinnereth Sailing Company and appreciate the waters that Jesus commanded to calm down (Mt 8:23-27) and where Jesus walked (Mt 14:22-33). And lastly, see a 2,000 year-old sailing vessel that was discovered in 1986 and preserved in a Kibbutz at Ginosaur. This is a rare find of the kind of boat that Jesus and the disciples would have used to cross and fish at the Sea of Galilee.
  • Celebrate Mass on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy of St. Peter Church.

Friday, 09 November – Mount of Beatitudes, Jordan River and Bet Shean

Returning to Tabgha, ascend the Mount of Beatitudes and enjoy the majestic views of Galilee and surrounding areas. In the serene environment of the Church of the Beatitudes, listen once more to the radical teachings of Jesus Christ as accounted in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-7:29). Heading to the north we will visit the Caesarea Philippi or Banias, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem began at this place, where he asked his disciples about what people and what the disciples themselves say about who Jesus is (Mark 8:27ff). Heading back south, we explore the Bet Shean, claimed to be the best-preserved Roman-Byzantine town in Israel. Already an Egyptian administrative center in 15th century BC, it became a city of Solomon’s empire (1 Kgs 4:12), fell under the Philistine army in 11th century BC and whose walls once hung the bodies of Saul and his sons (1 Sam 31:1- 13). At the time of Alexander the Great, Bet Shean was renamed Scythopolis (2 Mac 12:29) and was included as one of the ten city-state of the Decapolis. On the way back to Tiberias, we stop by at the Jordan River at the Yardenit Baptismal Site, recall the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (Mk 1:9-11); at the same time, take the opportunity to renew your own baptismal promises.
  • Celebrate Mass outdoors on the Mount of Beatitudes.

Saturday 10 November – Nain, Mount Tabor, Caesarea Maritima and Megiddo

From Tiberias, we leave early for Mount Tabor where Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John (Mk 9:2-10) and where Jesus emphasized to his disciples the value of faith in effecting miracles (Mk 9:13-28). Then, we visit the strategic Megiddo or Armageddon (Mountain of Megiddo). Foreseen to be the site of the final battle between the forces of good and evil on the great day of the Lord (Rev 16:1-21), the ruins at Megiddo offer glimpse of the impressive commercial and military complex built by Solomon, Ahab and Omri. Then, we visit Caesarea Maritima to remember the conversion of the Gentile centurion, Cornelius and its monumental significance (Acts 10:1- 11:18) as well as the two-year imprisonment of Paul under the Roman Procurators Antonius Felix and Porcius Festus. Take the time to listen to the great apologetic speech of Paul before Festus and Agrippa II (Acts 23:23- 26:32) echoing through the remains of the Roman aqueducts, columns and amphitheatre. Lastly, we visit Mount Carmel, the site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1Kings 18). On the site was built an early Carmelite monastery, just a few years the order was founded and was dedicated to the Blessed Mother under the title, Star of the Sea or Stella Maris.
  • Celebrate mass in the Church of the Transfiguration.

Sunday, 11 November – Jericho, Qumran, Dead Sea, Jerusalem

Leaving Galilee, we proceed south towards the Holy City, Jerusalem. Along the way, stop by at Jericho and visit the ruins of the oldest city in the world, already inhabited in 7000 BC, which Joshua and the Israelites captured in 1200 BC (Jos 6:1-27). Jericho bore witness to the healing of the blind man (Mt 20:29-34) and the encounter between Jesus and the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). In Jericho, visit the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Temptation, the traditional site of the temptation of Jesus (Mt 4:1-11). From Jericho, travel to the northeastern tip of the Dead Sea and visit Qumran where an ascetic and secluded community of Essenes believed to have lived. At the site, view the ruins of the Essene community and the caves where a Bedouin young shepherd once stumbled upon the resting place of ancient manuscripts now called the Dead Sea Scrolls. And before ascending to Jerusalem, take the time to “float” on the mineral laden waters and therapeutic mud of the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. Midway Jericho and Jerusalem, amidst miles of twisting road nestled in the Judean mountains is a Roman Road, which provides the setting of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). Lastly, look out over the city of Jerusalem before checking into our accommodation. Staying at St. Thomas Home in Jerusalem.
  • Celebrate Mass by the Sea of Galilee.

Monday, 12 November – Bethlehem and Ein Karem

See Bethlehem, the city of David (1 Sam 17:12, Lk 2:4), sitting on a hill on the edge of the Judean desert. In Bethlehem, visit the Church of the Nativity and the adjacent Church of St. Catherine. Descend to the lower level to venerate the Altars of the Birth and the Manger and to visit the Grottos of St. Jerome, the Holy Innocents and St. Joseph (Mt 2:1-12, 16-18; Lk 2:1-7). Nearby is the Shepherds’ Field, where angels appeared to the shepherds to gladly announce the birth of Jesus Christ (Lk 2:8-20). Then, visit Herodion, a circular fortified palace built by Herod the Great and believed to be his final resting place. From this hilltop, enjoy a panoramic view of the Judean landscape. From Bethlehem travel to Ein Karem where Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth prior to the births of John the Baptist and our Lord (Lk 1:39-80). In Ein Karem, visit the Church of the Visitation and the Church of St. John the Baptist where one can re-echo Mary’s Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55) and Zechariah’s Benedictus (Lk 1:67-79).
  • Celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Catherine.

Tuesday, 13 November – Mount of Olives, Bethany and the Kidron Valley

Sitting on the Mount of Olives affords one an expansive and remarkable view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem. This hill on the eastern side of Jerusalem bore witness to the final moments of the earthly life of Jesus: his lament over the unrepentant Jerusalem (Mt 23:37-39), now commemorated in the Dominus Flevit Chapel, his agony in the Garden of Gethsemani (Mt 26:36-46) and his arrest (Mt 26:47-56) whose memory is enshrined in the Church of All Nations. Further up on the Mount of Olives is the Pater Noster Church where the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:2-4) can be read in 62 languages. Also found within the area are the Greek Orthodox Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the Mosque of the Ascension, and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Stephen. Within view is the Lion’s Gate or St. Stephen’s Gate where just outside the city walls Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death (Acts 6-8:1). On the Lion’s Road, remember Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-11). Then journey further east of the Mount of Olives and arrive at Bethany, the village of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, where Jesus taught (Lk 10:38-42), where Jesus was anointed (Jn 12:1-8), where Lazarus was raised form the dead (Jn 11:1-44) and where Jesus ascended to heaven (Lk 24:50-53). In Bethany, visit the House and the Church of Lazarus that showcases mosaics dating back to the Byzantine Church that originally stood on the same site. Going back to Jerusalem, cross the Kidron Valley or the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Jl 3:1- 17) as did David when he fled from his son Absalom (2 Sam 15:13-31), and Jesus when he was brought for trial before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. Look for the Absalom’s Tomb, the Tomb of Jehoshaphat, the Tomb of Zechariah and the Tomb of Bnei Hezir. And at the foot of the City of David, visit the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a blind man (Jn 9:1-41).
  • Celebrate Mass in the Church of All Nations.

Wednesday, 14 November – Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Abbey of the Dormition, Upper Room, Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, Tower of David Museum of the History to Jerusalem

Spend the day in and just outside the walls of the Old City. In prayer, walk the Via Dolorosa to Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, take the time to meditate on crucifixion of Jesus (Mt 27:32-44, Jn 19:16b-27), his death (Mt 27:45-56, Jn 19:28-30), his burial (Mt 27:57-61, Jn 19:38-42) and his resurrection (Mt 28:1-10, Jn 20:1-10). Then cross the Armenian Quarter, exit through Zion Gate and head for the Abbey of the Dormition, which was built by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1910. The Church commemorates the “falling asleep” of the Virgin Mary. Within a few steps’ distance, visit in the Upper Room or the Cenacle, which is revered as the place of the Last Supper (Mt 26:17-35) and there, remember the humility of the Son of God in the Washing of the Disciples’ Feet (Jn 13:1-17). Afterwards, descend to the ground level and visit the Tomb of David. Then, visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied Jesus three times (Lk 22:54-62) and where Jesus was held overnight (Lk 22:63-65) before he was taken to the Sanhedrin (Lk 22:66-71) and then to Pontius Pilate (Lk 23:1-5). Within the premises, walk through some of the ancient Rooms of Caiaphas, the High Priest's House. Then, visit the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem now housed in the Citadel, an imposing 14th century AD bastion, situated just a stone’s throw away from the Jaffa Gate. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Israel and Holy City through displays, dioramas, models and archeological artifacts that unravel the intertwined Jewish, Christian and Muslim character of the Holy Land.
  • Celebrate Mass at the Altar of the Crucifixion inside the Holy Sepulchre.

Thursday, 15 November – Jewish Quarter, Western Wall, Temple Mount, St. Anne’s Church, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Visit Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great. Find a crevice in the stonewall to insert and number your written prayer among those of other worshippers. Within the premises, recall apparition of the angel Gabriel to Zachariah (Lk 1:5-22), the presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:22-38), the encounter between the boy Jesus and the teachers of the Law (Luke 2:41-52), Jesus at the Festival of Booths (Jn 7-8), the cleansing of the Temple (Mt 21:12-17) and the controversies at the Temple (Mt 21:23- 23:39). Conditions permitting, ascend and cross the bridge that leads to the Temple Mount, where once stood the First and Second Temples but now home to the majestic Dome of the Rock. Take the time to enjoy the exceptional tile work that adorns the walls of Mosque. Crossing a few streets, visit the Crusader Church, St. Anne’s Church. Next to the Church are cisterns and ruins of a Byzantine Church, believed to be the site of the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a paralyzed man (Jn 5:1-15).
  • Celebrate Mass at the Tomb of Jesus at Holy Sepulcher.

Friday, 16 November – Return to USA