Day 1 - Thursday October 8th – Ireland to the Holy Land
Depart Dublin Airport in the evening for an overnight flight direct to Tel Aviv on El Al.
Day 2 - Friday October 9th – Nazareth
Upon arrival in Ben-Gurion Airport, pilgrims will be met by a Marian Pilgrimages representative and guide before boarding our tour coach to Nazareth. En route we will see stunning views of the sun rising over the Galilee region – site of much of the ministry of Jesus. After breakfast, check-in to the four-star Legacy Hotel for 3 nights with dinner and breakfast. After time to rest and freshen up, we will walk the short distance to the nearby Basilica of the Annunciation to celebrate Mass. On the lower level of the basilica we see the remains of Mary’s house and where the Archangel Gabriel visited her. Adjacent to the basilica is St Joseph’s Church, where we will visit the site of Joseph’s workshop and the house of the Holy Family. A short walk from the basilica is Mary’s Well here you have the opportunity to draw water from the same well as the Virgin Mary followed by free time in Nazareth before dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 – Saturday, October 10th - Nazareth & Cana
Morning Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. See the Cave home of the Holy Family, St Joseph’s workshop, and Mary’s Well. Drive to Cana, and visit the church of the Wedding Feast – site of Jesus’ first miracle. Renewal of Marriage Vows for married couples on the trip. Afternoon drive to Mount Tabor, and ascend by taxi for Mass at the church of the Transfiguration. Enjoy the view of the Valley of Armageddon Valley. Drive to the banks of the River Jordan, and renew our Baptismal Vows in its waters. Return to hotel for dinner.
Day 4 – Sunday, October 11th - Sea of Galilee
Morning Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Hear the full reading of the great Sermon on the Mount. Visit Capernaum – where we see the old Synagogue and the excavations of Peters house. Visit the site of the multiplication of the Loaves & Fish at Tabgha, and the church of the Primacy of Peter on the lake-shore. Enjoy lunch on the shore of the Sea of Galilee then take a Boat trip on the Sea of Galilee, with relevant Bible readings. Return by coach to the hotel and enjoy dinner.
Day 5 – Monday, October 12th - Jericho & Bethany
Morning drive along the Jordan Valley into Jericho. Here we see the Sycamore tree of Zacchaeus, and take the Cable car up the Mount of Temptation to the exact location where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Cross the Allenby Bridge into Jordan and drive South to Amman for overnight in the Olive Tree Hotel. On our journey to Amman we will take a small detour to Jerash. Nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, Jerash is the grandeur of Imperial Rome, being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world, outside of Italy. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition.
Day 6 – Tuesday, October 13th - Madaba & Mount Nebo
In the morning we will take a short panorama sight seeing tour of Amman, capital of Jordan. We will then continue on to the “City of Mosaics,” Madaba. While in this city, you will visit St. George’s
Church, home to a true treasure of Christianity. This Church houses the oldest map of the Holy Land which includes Israel, Palestine, and Southern Egypt. Later, visit Mt. Nebo, the most revered holy sites of Jordan. This mountain was mentioned in Deuteronomy 34, “Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah.” While here, you will tour the Holy site where Moses died and was buried. Following your visit to this Sacred place we will continue on to the “lost” city of Petra and check-in to the Petra Panorama Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Wednesday, October 14th - Lost City of Petra
After breakfast we will explore “lost” city of Petra! This city is located amongst rugged desert canyons and mountains. Enjoy a walking tour of the former capital and trading center. Your first stop will be a visit to the Siq, a mile-long gorge that contains a number of magnificent structures that are carved into the mountains. The walk will culminate with a visit to the Petra Museum. The Museum holds numerous artifacts from the Neolithic period of the Nabataen history. The museum also contains architecture from the Romans as well as, a Byzantine chapel. Spend this afternoon at your own leisure; feel free to shop, relax or rest before transfers back up to Amman for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 – Thursday, October 15th - Amman, Dead Sea & Bethany
After Breakfast we will have some free time in Amman before transferring back over the Allenby Bridge and continue to the Dead Sea and enjoy a “dip” near Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Drive by the Inn of the Good Samaritan, to Bethany to celebrate Mass and visit the tomb of Lazarus. After Mass continue on to Bethlehem and check in to our 4 star Hotel for 3 nights with breakfast and dinner.
Day 9 – Friday, October 16th - Bethlehem
After breakfast we visit the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will have the opportunity to view the Shepherd’s Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves of these fields, you are still able to see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at the Manger Square, which stands in front of the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Our Savior’s birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar, there is a silver star and a Latin inscription that states: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). Following Mass in this Sacred space we will take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It is known that there are two churches in Ein Karem, representing the two homes of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The first is in a valley where the birth of St. John the Baptist is commemorated (Luke 1:39-80) in the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The second is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24) at the Church of the Visitation. You will have a chance to visit both of these churches and have the opportunity to pray the Mystery of the Rosary as you walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation.
After lunch, you will make your way to the Mount of Olives, where you will be able to take in the beautiful, panoramic view of Jerusalem. Historically, the Mount of Olives was a mandatory transit point for Jesus during many iconic moments. Visit the Pater Noster Shrine where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster) (Luke 11:1-4). You will have the opportunity to stop at Dominus Flevit which is a Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue on to Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus brought His disciples here to pray the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:29-53). The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. Your next stop, the Church of All Nations, is built over the “Rock of Agony”. This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of His arrest. Throughout this time, you are invited to remain in prayer and to reflect on Christ’s agony that He experienced. You will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Continue with a visit to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas (Church of
St. Peter in Gallicantu). This Church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the Council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter’s Denial of Christ (John 18:15-18), Peters’ repentance, and Jesus’ forgiveness of Peter. You will also visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17- 30) and where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection (Mark 16:14). In addition, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, “fell asleep.” At the end of this prayerful day, we will return to Bethlehem for dinner.
Day 10 – Saturday, October 17th - Via Dolorosa & The Holy Sepulcher
This morning you will have a very early wake-up to begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress. This is the spot where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16). Following His condemnation, He was taken (on the Road to Calvary) to His place of Crucifixion. Reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus’ crucifixion place) and His tomb (Luke 23: 50- 55). Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we will return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast. You will continue your day with a visit to the Church of St. Anne’s, the home of Jesus’ maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim); and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon, we will visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial is set on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem. The new Yad Vashem Museum opened in 2005 and its nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays present the Holocaust using a range of multimedia including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. Yad Vashem is a place which is not fun to visit, but is definitely somewhere that we recommend all visitors to Israel experience. Following this visit return to the hotel for dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 11 – Sunday, October 18th - Emmaus
After breakfast at the hotel, we have some free time in Bethlehem before boarding the coach for the journey to Emmaus where we will have Mass and lunch before proceeding to the airport for the direct flight back to Dublin.
*It is our intention to follow the itinerary as outlined above, however due to many factors like local holidays, traffic or weather conditions it may be necessary to make changes to the order of events or even the cancelation of certain events.