1st day: Departure for Tel Aviv
2nd day: Arrival in Tel Aviv, transfer to hotel
3rd day: Tel Aviv/Tiberias
We begin our Holy Land pilgrimage with a visit to Caesarea Maritima which was built by Herod the Great as a major seaport at the time of Christ. Later it was occupied during the Byzantine and Crusader periods. It contains ruins from all three periods. Then we drive to Haifa, a modern seaport which is situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the mountain of Elijah. There we shall visit Elijah's cave and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. After lunch we travel to Nazareth where we will celebrate our first Mass in the Holy Land at the Basilica of the Annunciation, followed by a vist to the church commemorating the house of the Holy Family and St. Joseph’s workshop. Finally we make our way to Tiberias and the Sea of Galillee, on the shores of which is our hotel. Dinner and overnight.
4th day: Tiberias
Driving to the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, we first celebrate Mass at the Primacy of Peter right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We then visit the village of Capernaum- the site where Peter lived and Jesus exercised much of his ministry in the Galilee. We proceed to Upper Galilee to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked the apostle: “Who do you say that I am?” We visit the sources of the Jordan River. We experience a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
5th day: Mt. Tabor/Cana/Tabgha
We drive to Cana for the renewal of marriage vows. Then we drive up to Mt. Tabor to celebrate Mass at the site of the Transfiguration. We visit the site of the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha. The rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight.
6th day: Tiberias/Jerusalem
After Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes, we drive south to Jerusalem along the Jordan River route. On our arrival in Jerusalem, we will experience our own special Solemn Entry into Holy Sepulcher with the Franciscans greeting us. Dinner and overnight.
7th day: Jerusalem/Bethlehem
We travel to Bethlehem for Mass at Shepherds’ Cave, followed by a visit to the Basilica of the Nativity which houses the crypt commemorating the birth of Jesus. Lunch and time for shopping.
8th day: Jerusalem
Early Mass at Holy Sepulcher inside the Empty Tomb. After breakfast, we enter the Old City through Herod’s Gate to visit St. Anne’s church and the pool of Bethseda. We move on to the church of the Flagellation where we begin the Via Dolorosa. We next visit the excavations of Ecce Homo. We proceed along the Way of the Cross and come out at the top of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. Lunch in the Old City. After lunch we visit Ain Karem where we will pray at the two churches honoring the birthplace of John the Baptist and the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. Dinner and overnight.
9th day: Dead Sea/Masada/Qumran
After Mass at Calvary and breakfast, we proceed to the Dead Sea area where we visit Masada, the fortress of Herod the Great. We then proceed to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth. After a swim and lunch, we visit Qumran and the site of the Essene Community where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
10th day: Mt. of Olives and Gethsemane/Mt. Zion
After breakfast we proceed to the Mt. of Olives and visit the church of the Our Father. We proceed down the hill to the church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We come to the base of the Mt. of Olives to the Kedron Valley to celebrate Mass in the Basilica of All Nations, the site of the Lord’s Agony in the Garden. After lunch we visit Mt. Zion and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the site of the home of Annas and Caiphas and the place where Peter denied Jesus. We then proceed to the church of the Dormition of Mary. Return to the hotel and overnight.
11th day: Upper Room/Emmaus
After breakfast, we visit the Cenacle for Mass and the site of the Last Supper and Pentecost. We then go to the Holy Land Model to see a replica of the city of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. Then we proceed to the Israeli Museum to see the Shrine of the Book housing original Dead Sea Scrolls. Lunch and then return to hotel for leisure time and shopping. Early dinner and packing for return home.
12th day: Departure for Home
We rise very early in the morning to drive to Ben Gurion Airport for the journey home. Arrival in Chicago and/or destination city.