This itinerary allows extra time for worship at the holy places.
1. Arrival in Israel
2. From the Coast of Sharon to Tiberias:
We start at Caesarea Maritima, the Roman bridgehead to the land that became, by a singular act of baptism, the Christian springboard to the West (Acts 10). On to the Carmelite Monastery at Muhraka on Mt. Carmel, where we tell the Elijah story (1 Kings 18) and view the Plain of Jezreel. In Nazareth we shall visit the ancient spring of the village, known as Mary’s Well, and the Church of the Annunciation (We may celebrate Mass here by appointment.) We shall then drive to Cana to remember the first of Jesus’ signs in the Gospel of John.
3. Galilee: We boat to Capernaum for a visit.
Then on to Tabgha and the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. We continue to the Mt. of Beatitudes. (At any of these one may reserve a time and place for Mass.) We then ascend to the Upper Galilee and Caesarea Philippi (Banias).
4. Mount Tabor/Bethlehem/Jerusalem:
We visit the peak of Mt. Tabor, which Christians have long identified as the “high mountain” of Matthew 17:1, the site of the Transfiguration. We then drive south to Jericho, where we ascend by cable car the Mount of Temptation (Luke 4). We continue up the central mountain range to Bethlehem for a leisurely visit. (We may reserve a time for Mass at any of these places.)
Atop the Mt. of Olives, we visit the Church of Pater Noster, where Jesus is believed to have taught The Lord’s Prayer. We continue to the nearby Place of the Ascension (Acts 1:9), now a small mosque. We descend the Palm Sunday route toDominus Flevit andGethsemane (the Church of All Nations – we may celebrate Mass here or in the secluded garden nearby). After lunch we shall visitMt. Zion and the Upper Room, long considered to be the site of the Last Supper and Pentecost. We then descend to Peter in Gallicantu, a possible location for Caiaphas’ house, where Peter thrice denied Christ. We end the day in the New City of Jerusalem with a visit to the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as an open-air model of Jerusalem, representing the city in 66 AD.
6. Jerusalem/ the Dead Sea/ Qumran/ Bethany:
After a visit at the Western Wall, we ascend to theDome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the traditional site of the Temple Mount. We then drive to Bethany, hometown of Martha and Mary. Here we shall visit Lazarus’ tomb. We may celebrate Mass in the Church of St. Lazarus. In the afternoon, we drive down to the Dead Sea for a visit atQumran, in whose caves the famous scrolls were found.
7. Jerusalem/Old City:
We enter the Old City through St. Stephen’s Gate, visiting St. Anne’s Churchand the Pools of Bethesda (John 5). We then walk the Via Dolorosa (the Stations of the Cross), finishing at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians commemorate the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ. The remainder of the day is free.
We drive through West Jerusalem to picturesque Ein Kerem, the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. We then proceed to the airport for the flight to Rome. Upon arrival, we shall drive along the ancient Appian Way, remembering the journeys of Peter and Paul into this Eternal City.
Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, a tour of the Vatican museums, including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. We then visit the Mamertine Prison, where many Christian martyrs perished – including, it is thought, Peter and Paul.
But we may take additional days in Italy: for example, to visit Assisi. It is also possible to include a four-day extension to Medjugorje, the small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina where, since 1981, people have borne witness to visions and messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary.