Day 1 - Saturday, 01 October:
Make your way to Dublin airport and check-in for Turkish Airlines flight to Tel Aviv via Istanbul, with onboard catering and personal entertainment on one of Europe’s best Airlines. On arrival in Tel Aviv, we will be met by our Marian Pilgrimages representative and guide in the arrival hall before boarding our tour coaches. We can get acquainted with the group on the short transfer to Bethlehem – birthplace of Jesus Christ – for check-in to the four star Manger Square Hotel for four nights with dinner, bed and breakfast.
Day 2 - Sunday, 02 October:
After breakfast, we take the short walk to the Church of the Nativity where we spend the morning and celebrate Mass. Here we will visit the birthplace of Jesus, and the Holy Manger as well as the chapels of St Joseph, St Jerome, the Holy Innocents and the Church of St Catherine.
Leaving the Church of the Nativity, we make our way to the Milk Grotto Church before sitting down to lunch in Manger Square where we will have a chance to meet the Mayor of Bethlehem and hear from local Christians. After lunch, we board the coaches for the short drive to the Shepherds Fields’ where the angels heralded the birth of Christ. After lunch, we continue to Ein Karem and visit the Churches of the Visitation (where Mary met Elizabeth) and St John the Baptist before return to the hotel for dinner.
Day 3 - Monday, 03 October:
This morning we drive to Jerusalem and enter the Old City to the Church of St Anne and nearby, see the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man paralysed for over 40 years. Close by we begin the Via Dolorosa – the way of sorrow - and follow the stations of the cross through the markets and streets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Calvary (where Jesus was crucified) and his tomb. Here we will celebrate Mass and take some time to reflect at this sacred site.
Afterwards we can enjoy some free time in Jerusalem for lunch and exploring the markets, before visiting the Western Wall.
Day 4 - Tuesday, 04 October:
After breakfast, we drive to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem where we take our group photo and enjoy the view of the Old City below. We make our way to the highest point on the Mount of Olives to the Ascension Dome that marks the site where Christ ascended into heaven. After this, we continue to visit the Pater Noster Church, Dominus Flevit, the Assumption Church and Grotto and the Garden of Gethsemane. In the afternoon we celebrate Mass in the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu or ‘cock’s crow’, where Peter denied Jesus three times and see the dungeon where Jesus was held the night of Holy Thursday.
Afterwards, we walk around Mount Zion and visit the Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Day 5 - Wednesday, 05 October:
This morning, we leave Bethlehem and visit Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead for Mass. We will then drive via the Inn of the Good Samaritan to the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth. We have some time to relax and float on the water near Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We will then continue to Qasr-al-Yahud where Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan by St John the Baptist for a renewal of baptism vows.
We then proceed to Jericho to see the Mount of Temptation where Jesus was tempted by the devil, and the Sycamore tree of Zacchaeus. After lunch, we drive along the Jordan Valley to Nazareth and for check-in to the four-star Legacy Hotel for four nights, dinner bed and breakfast. Optional Eucharistic Adoration at the Basilica of the Annunciation at 8.30pm.
Day 6 - Thursday, 06 October:
After breakfast, we will spend our morning exploring the city where Jesus lived as a child. We make our way to the Basilica of the Annunciation to celebrate Mass. Visiting the lower level of the basilica, we see the remains of Mary’s house and where the Angel Gabriel visited her. Here inscribed on the alter are the Latin words of ‘Here the Word was made flesh’. Adjacent to the basilica is the 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 through the thriving market is Mary’s Well where we have the opportunity to draw water from the same well as the Virgin Mary. After some time for lunch, we take the short coach journey to Cana where we visit the Wedding Church, the site of Jesus’ first miracle, turning the water to wine. Couples on the pilgrimage can take part in the special ceremony to renew their wedding vows and there is also prayers and blessings for spouses at home and deceased husbands and wives. In the lower level of the church we see artifacts from the site before having an opportunity to taste and purchase some wine from this sacred site. Afterwards, we make the short return journey to Nazareth for dinner in our hotel.
Optional rosary at the Irish icon at the Basilica of the Annunciation at 8.30pm.
Day 7 - Friday, 07 October:
This morning we make our way to the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum and Tabgha. Here we take some time to listen to the readings of the great Sermon on the Mount before continuing to Capernaum to see the old synagogue and the excavations of St Peter’s house. We then visit the nearby site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish at Tabgha, and the Church of the Primacy of St Peter.
We enjoy lunch on the shore of the Sea of Galilee before taking a boat trip on the lake. Before returning to the hotel, we visit Magdala and the magnificent retreat centre and celebrate Mass in the newly-built chapel at the home of St Mary Magdalene.
Optional candlelit procession at the Basilica of the Annunciation at 8.30pm.
Day 8 - Saturday, 08 October:
After breakfast we drive to Mount Tabor and ascend by taxi for Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration where Jesus is transfigured and speaks to Moses and Elijah. We have a chance to enjoy the view of the Valley of Armageddon before returning to Nazareth for some free time and dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 - Sunday, 9 October:
Early breakfast before taking our coach to Tel Aviv airport for return flights to Dublin via Istanbul.
*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.