Created: 29.01.2015

Wednesday, September 23 - Day 1 ??? OKLAHOMA CITY/TEL AVIV ??? This morning we depart Oklahoma City for our overnight flight to Tel Aviv. We enjoy in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft. Thursday, September 24 - DAY 2 - CAESAREA MARITIME/ CARMEL/ NAZARETH - Late this morning, we arrive in Tel Aviv where we are met by our guide. We drive north along the coastal plain to Caesarea Maritime, capital of Judea under the Romans. Visit the excavations of this ancient city, the Roman theatre and aqueduct. Next we head to Mt. Carmel to visit the Carmelite Monastery of Mukhraka ??? where Elijah called down fire from Heaven. After this miracle, a great drought ended with the appearance of a small cloud over the sea, a pre-figuring of Mary. We celebrate Mass and time permitting we head to Nazareth, stopping briefly at Nain, the site of the first resurrection miracle. We check in to our Nazareth hotel for dinner and overnight. (D) Friday, September 25 - DAY 3 - NAZARETH/TIBERIAS - This morning we explore Nazareth, beginning with Mass at the Church of the Annunciation. We visit the Church of St. Joseph next door, and Mary's Well at St. George's church. We visit the new International Center for Mary at Nazareth and learn about what life was like for the Holy Family. If possible, we???ll visit the convent of the Sisters of Nazareth, and the Tomb of the Righteous Man, believed to be that of Joseph, Jesus' foster-father. We drive to Cana, the site of Jesus??? first miracle, where married couples can renew their wedding vows. Close by we see the home of the disciple Nathanael who said the famous line,  "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?". Next, we visit Sepphoris, believed to be the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and where Anna and Joachim lived. We see the "Mona Lisa of the Galilee".   In the afternoon we drive to the summit of Mt. Tabor for a magnificent view of the plains of Esdralin (Jezreel Valley) and have time of prayer in the Basilica of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. We visit Mt. Precipice where the angry mob tried to throw Jesus from the cliff but he disappeared from them. We head toward Tiberias, stopping first to view the pre-70 AD synagogue at Magdala, home of the Magdalene and stop at the entrance to the Arbel Pass to see the Gospel Trail, the path Jesus and the disciples walked from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. We end this day at our Tiberias hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. (B, D) Saturday, September 26 - DAY 4 -  CAESAREA PHILLIPI / CHORAZIN/MT. of BEATITUDES/CAPERNAUM/TABGHA/SEA OF GALILEE- Drive to Caesarea Phillipi (Dan) and see the Temple of Pan and the head of the Jordan River, the Banias Spring, where Jesus was recognized as the Messiah by His disciples. We visit Chorazin, one of the 3 cursed cities to view the synagogue and the 'seat of Moses'. We continue to the Mount of Beatitudes ??? where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, and one of many sites where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II prayed. We celebrate Mass here. Lunch of St. Peter's Fish. We continue to Capernaum ??? scene of many miracles and teachings, and known as Jesus??? ???own town??? including The House of St. Peter, and the ancient Synagogue ??? built over the site where Jesus preached. Next we visit the Tabgha Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes ??? the site of the feeding of the 5,000 and we visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter ??? site of the miraculous catch of fish, where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection and of St. Peter???s reconciliation to Jesus.  Finally, we view the ancient "Jesus Boat"  ??? a wooden vessel dating back to the days of Jesus in a fascinating display at the Yigal Allon Museum before embarking on a boat-ride across the Sea of Galilee in a wooden vessel reminiscent of Jesus??? day. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D) Sunday, September 27 - DAY 5 - TIBERIAS/JERUSALEM ??? This morning we follow the Rift Valley that runs parallel to the Jordan, following the route Jesus most frequently traveled to Jerusalem. We stop to marvel at the Roman ruins in Beit She'an, the capital of the Decapolis in Jesus' day. Then we are off to visit ancient Jericho at the excavated Tel. Lunch on our own. We see the ruins of the ancient city, Elisha's Fountain, ride the funicular to the Quarantal Monastery atop the Mount of Temptation and look out over  the Jordan Valley. We continue to Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Afterwards, we stop for a quick dip at the clear yet salty waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. Finally, we visit Lazareth's Tomb and celebrate Mass at the Church of Martha and Mary before making our thrilling entry into Jerusalem and conclude at our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D) Monday, September 28 - DAY 6 - JERUSALEM - After breakfast, we visit the Western (Wailing) Wall where we have time to pray. Next, we visit the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. We make our way to the Pools of Bethesda and the Church of St. Anne, with its incredible acoustics. We then carry the cross as we pray the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where we celebrate Mass. At Damascus gate, local chefs will lead us on a tour through the Old City of Jerusalem ending at the Jewish Quarter Cardo Alley to see different aspects of daily market life and have a taste of the products: this will include kaak bakery, hummus, falafel, spices market, special handmade dessert, live cooking, the making of sesame paste and halva. Then, we drive to the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. Visit the Church of Pater Noster and the Church of Dominus Flevit - where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. We then proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. We drive through the Kidron Valley passing the Tombs of Absalom, Zecariah and St. James. We visit the Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter of Gallicantu (Caiaphas' House.)  We meet our chefs again who demonstrate local cooking methods at the Cardo restaurant as they prepare a tantalizing meal inspired by Biblical references. Return to hotel for overnight. (B, D) Tuesday, September 29 - DAY 7 - JERUSALEM - This morning our excursion begins in Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity that commemorates the birth of Christ. We celebrate Mass in the Cave of St. Jerome. We then proceed to Shepherd???s Field where we visit the beautiful grotto church of the Franciscans and the caves of the shepherds, which still bear soot marks from their fires. We visit the Kando store and hear from Shibly Kando the story of how his grandfather as a young boy discovered the cave of the Dead Sea Scrolls and we see the Isaiah Jar. Then we leave Bethlehem to visit the New City of Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the Upper Room, the Tomb of King David and Dormition Abbey. This afternoon we visit Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist; and the Model City of Jerusalem in Jesus' time. We pass by the Knesset (Israel Parliament.) We return to our hotel for a short rest. In the evening, we will enjoy dinner at the Eucalyptus Restaurant or similar in Jerusalem, followed by a Sound and Light show at the Tower of David. Overnight in Jerusalem. (B, D) Wednesday, September 30 - St. Jerome - DAY 8 -JERUSALEM/EIN GEDI/MASADA /AMMAN ??? This morning we travel eastward to Ein Gedi, the desert oasis in which David sought refuge from King Saul. We marvel at the beautiful waterfalls and lush foliage before heading to Masada, King Herod's mountaintop fortress where from 70-73 AD, the Jewish defenders made the last stand of the Jewish revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth century Byzantine Church. Later on, we cross the Allenby Bridge into Jordan. We stop at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan where Jesus was baptized, a site visited by St. John Paul II on his visit to Jordan. Here we renew our Baptismal vows before we travel to Amman for dinner and overnight. (B, D) Thursday, October 1, 2015 - Day 9 ??? AMMAN/PETRA - This morning we depart Amman and travel south tracing the steps of Lawrence of Arabia along the famous Kings Highway. We continue to the wonderful Rose City of Petra, the awesome city the Nabataean Arabs carved out of the rock during the four hundred years before Roman rule. It could be defended by a handful of men because access was limited to the narrow fissure known as the ???siq.??? We will travel that same way, and the way Indiana Jones entered in search of the Holy Grail in the Stephen Spielberg classic The Last Crusade. We can either walk or travel part way by horseback. Dinner and overnight in Petra.  (B, D) Friday, October 2 - Day 10 - PETRA/MT. NEBO/MADABA/TEL AVIV - This morning we return northwards and stop at Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land but was forbidden entry. We will celebrate Mass here in the new Catholic Church on top of Mt. Nebo. We also see Madaba and the rich collection of 3rd to 7th century mosaics, including the oldest map of the Holy Land. After crossing at the north border back into Israel, we continue on to Tel Aviv for dinner and overnight.  (B, D) Saturday, October 3 -  Day 11 ??? TEL AVIV/JAFFA/TEL AVIVAIRPORT - After breakfast we will drive to Abu Gosh (Emmaus), celebrate Mass at the Crusader Church.  We then continue on to Jaffa, the city of Jonah, where Peter had his rooftop experience where we ride through the quaintly restored area. We visit St. Peter's church, built on the site believed to be the house of Simon the Tanner, where St. Peter stayed and had his famous dream.  We visit Tabitha's tomb, and enjoy some free time shopping in the colorful market bazaar. Afterwards we will celebrate our farewell dinner nearby before we head to Ben Gurion Airport for our overnight flight home. (B, D) Sunday, October 4 - Day 12 ??? ARRIVE USA - We arrive home with unforgettable memories to cherish. Our walks in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians will bring new meaning to our Scripture readings and Mass participation because of such a memorable pilgrimage.

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