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Holy Land & Egypt

Catholic Pilgrimages

Tel Aviv Israel Catholic Pilgrimages.jpg

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the Arrival Hall, where your tour guide and driver will greet you. Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv to check in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel and overnight.

Day 1: Tel Aviv

Depart Tel Aviv to Caesarea Marittima, one of the three largest ports in the Roman world, built by Herod the Great between 21 B.C. and 9 B.C. It was in Caesarea where St. Peter baptized the first gentile convert, Cornelius, and where St. Paul gave his defense of the Church. From here, we will see the Roman Theater, Herod’s Palace, the Hippodrome, and the harbor from where St. Paul sailed on his journeys. Continue north to Haifa, located on Mt. Carmel, where we will visit the Carmelite Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and pray at the cave where Elijah, the prophet, took refuge. Continue to Nazareth for lunch and then visit the Church of the Annunciation.

Walk down to the Grotto, where the remains of the house of the Blessed Mothers are visible. Here is where the Angel of the Lord announced the good news to Mary. Visit the museum and archaeological site where you can see the remains of Nazareth at the time of Christ and the workshop of St. Joseph – now known as St. Joseph’s Church. Celebrate Mass, and then continue to Cana. Here, Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. During your visit to the Wedding Church, married couples can participate in the ceremony and renew their wedding vows. From there, we continue to Tiberias, located on the Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight.

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Day 2: Tel Aviv | Caesarea | Stella Maris (Haifa) | Nazareth | Cana | Tiberias

Tiberias Israel.jpg

After breakfast, enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking, have the opportunity to view the remains of the boat dating back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed His great Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49). Near the Mount is Tabgha, one of Jesus' miracle sites. At Tabgha, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). In Tabgha is St. Peter's Primacy, where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter (John 21:9). Continue visiting Mary Magdalene's birthplace in Magdala. During the time of Jesus, this village was a prosperous fishing village that exported fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction popular in Roman cooking). Your day concludes at Capernaum, the launching place of Jesus' ministry. In Capernaum, see the Synagogue where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29) and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee

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After breakfast, drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). Here you will have time to reflect on Christ's Humanity and Divinity. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Continue south towards the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you get to view the exact location of the Mount of Temptation. Here is where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Following the visit to this mountain, continue to Jesus' baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). Following time for Prayer and reflection at the Jordan River, continue to Jerusalem to check in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Jordan River | Mt. Tabor | Jericho | Jerusalem

Ein Karem  Israel Catholic Pilgrimages.jpg

This morning, enjoy breakfast before we start our day with the Israel Museum, which houses the Temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple, as it was in the time of Jesus, as well as view the Shrine of the Book (where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display). Following this visit, take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist. Known for its two churches 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, the Church of the Visitation, is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24). In the afternoon, visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Have the opportunity to view Shepherd's Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves, you can see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at Manger Square, which stands before the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity, marking the spot of Our Savior's birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar 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, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Jerusalem: Temple Model | Ein Karem | Bethlehem

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Following breakfast at your hotel, you will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran was built of 2,000-year-old ruins from the days of the Second Temple. It is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered (Ezekial 47:8-10). These writings have helped further the understanding of the Jewish background in Christianity. Time and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Continue as you travel through the Judean wilderness, where Jesus spent His 40 days fasting. The day of touring culminates with a transfer to Bethany. Bethany is where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, foreshadowing His Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Qumran | Dead Sea | Bethany

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After breakfast, you will go to the Mount of Olives, where you can take in Jerusalem's beautiful panoramic view. 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 can stop at Dominus Flevit, the Church commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue 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". Jesus prayed here alone on the night of His arrest. Take time to Pray and 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), Peter's 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). Also, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this is the Church where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, fell asleep. At the end of this prayerful day, return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Jerusalem: Mt. of Olives | Gethsemane | Mt. Zion (Upper Room) | Western Wall

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This morning you will have a very early wake-up to begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress, 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. 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 cripple man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon, enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit, return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 8: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa | Holy Sepulchre

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Transfer to the airport and fly to Cairo. Upon arrival, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the Arrival Hall, where your tour guide and driver will greet you. Your sightseeing begins with a visit to Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt, which Emperor Theodosius destroyed. The Islamic conquerors used the stones and blocks to build their mosques and palaces. Continue to the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, designed by the innovative architect Imhotep and the forerunner of the pyramids. The tomb of King Zoser is over 200 feet high and resembles a giant set of stairs. Continue to Giza and the Great Pyramids of Cheops, Cheophreh, and Mykerinos, guarded by the colossal Sphinx monument, which is symbolic of Egypt throughout the ages.

Day 9: Fly to Cairo | Memphis and Giza

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This morning, your guide will escort you on a tour of 7,000 years of Egyptian history with a visit to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which includes the world-famous golden treasures from King Tutankhamun‘s tomb. Tour the Citadel of Saladin, built in 1183 AD, and visit the Hanging Church in Old Cairo, which is named for its location above a gatehouse of the Roman fortress in Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo). Later, enjoy a ride on the Nile aboard a traditional Egyptian Felucca.

Day 10: Cairo: Egyptian Museum | Old Cairo | Nile Cruise

City of Luxor Israel Catholic Pilgrimages.jpg

This morning after breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to the modern city of Luxor. Upon arrival, we visit the Temple of Karnak (temple of the New Kingdom period) and the East Bank of the Nile. It was during this period that the bondage and Exodus occurred. Karnak second to Giza’s Pyramids, is one of Egypt’s most important Pharaonic sites. Embarkation on board our Nile cruise. Lunch, followed by a visit to the famous Temple of Luxor, which was founded in the reign of Amenhotep III, grandson of the pharaoh of the Exodus. Re-board our ship for dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Fly from Cairo to Luxor - Embark Nile Cruise

Hatshepsut Israel Catholic Pilgrimages.jpg

This morning we visit the Valley of the Kings (where many ancient pharaohs were buried) and the famous Temple of Hatshepsut, the princess who perhaps pulled baby Moses out of the Nile River. Moses may have designed this temple. Back to our cruise. Lunch and start navigation towards Edfu passing through Esna lock. Dinner and overnight on our ship.

Day 12: Valley of the Kings

Edfu temple Israel Catholic Pilgrimages.jpg

After your breakfast aboard the cruise, you will be transferred to visit the famous Edfu temple, then back to the cruise ship to continue sailing to Kom Ombo to visit the crocodile-headed God of fertility and creator of the world and then return to your cruise vessel to sail to Aswan with dinner In Aswan and an enjoyable overnight stay aboard the cruise.

Day 13: Edfu, Kom Ombo

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Breakfast, then depart to visit the High Dam, built from 1960 - 1971, which is a significant factor in Egypt's agricultural success. We then also spend time at Philae Temple on the Isi-Island. This complex was moved from upriver due to the impending destruction upon the completion of the High Dam. For those who wish to participate, a visit is available this afternoon to Abu Simbel, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments." Our Egyptologist guide discusses the relevance of this spectacular site from Egyptian history. We will also try to put into perspective the long history of Egypt. Here we visit the massive temple of Pharaoh Rameses II, perhaps the greatest builder of temples in ancient Egypt (13th Century BC), and a second one of Queen Nafertari, Rameses's most beloved wife. Free time is available in Aswan, followed by a Felucca ride around the Agh Khan Mausoleum for those who do not participate in the trip to Abu Simbel. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 14: Aswan

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Early morning departure to the Airport for our return home - the end of a most enjoyable journey.

Day 15: Aswan - Cairo - Departure

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