Sunday October 3 – Ireland to the Holy Land
Depart Dublin Airport in the evening for an overnight flight direct to Tel Aviv on El Al.
Monday October 4 – 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 five 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.
Tuesday October 5 – Mount Tabor and Cana in Galilee
After breakfast, we have a short drive to Mount Tabor to ascend by taxi for Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration where Jesus is transfigured and speaks to Moses and Elijah. There is time to enjoy the view of the Valley of Armageddon and the Jezreel Valley – bread basket of the Holy Land.
After time for lunch we take the short coach journey to Cana in Galilee. Here we visit the Wedding Church, the site of the first miracle of Jesus. 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 will see artifacts from the site before having an opportunity to taste and purchase some of the famous wine from this sacred site before returning to Nazareth for dinner in the hotel.
Optional Eucharistic Adoration at the Basilica of the Annunciation in the evening.
Wednesday October 6 – The Sea of Galilee
This morning we make our way to the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, Capernaum and Tabgha. Visit the site of the multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Tabgha, and the Church of the Primacy of St Peter. After lunch on the short of the Sea of Galilee, continue to Capernaum and see the old synagogue and the excavations of St Peter’s house before taking a boat trip on the lake, with relevant Bible readings. Before returning to the hotel we visit Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, a prosperous fishing village at the time of Jesus.
Optional rosary at the Irish icon at the Basilica of the Annunciation in the evening.
Thursday October 7 – Acre: the Crusader capital
We take the short coach ride to the coastal city of Akko, to go into the tunnel famed throughout history as the Crusader capital of the Holy Land. After Mass, we return to Nazareth for free time in the town of the Holy Family before dinner at the hotel.
Optional candlelit procession at the Basilica of the Annunciation in the evening.
Friday October 8 – Jericho and Bethany
We leave Nazareth and drive south along the Jordan Valley visit Qasr el Yahud, the baptismal site of Jesus on the River Jordan, here we can renew our baptismal vows. Continue to Jericho see the Mount of Temptation and the Sycamore tree of Zacchaeus. 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, visit the Tomb of Lazarus. After we drive to Bethlehem and check-in to the four-star Manger Square Hotel, located just a stone’s throw from the Church of the Nativity for four nights, with breakfast and dinner.
Saturday October 9 – Jerusalem
We drive to Jerusalem and enter the Old City to the Church of St Anne and nearby, see the Pool of Bethesda. Close by we begin the Via Dolorosa and follow the stations of the cross through the markets and narrow streets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, 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. Enjoy some free time in Jerusalem for lunch before visiting the Western Wall.
We will then drive to Taybeh – a town where Jesus stayed before going to Jerusalem to endure the Passion. It is the last all-Christian town in the West Bank and here we will hear about efforts to keep the local Christian community vibrant, including local wine-making before returning to the hotel in Bethlehem for dinner.
Sunday October 10 – Mount of Olives
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. Continue to visit the Pater Noster Church, Dominus Flevit, the Church of the Assumption 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 St Peter denied Jesus three times and see the dungeon where Jesus was held the night of Holy Thursday. We walk around Mount Zion and visit the church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper.
Return to the hotel for dinner.
Monday October 11 – Bethlehem
After breakfast we take the short walk to the Church of the Nativity and celebrate Mass. at 10.00. Here you can 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. Visit the Milk Grotto before lunch and meeting with members of the local Christian community in Bethlehem. Afterwards, we take the short drive to the Shepherds’ Field and Ein Karem to the Church of the Visitation before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Wednesday October 12 – 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.