God is Near
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Anyone who’s been to the Holy Land knows the feeling that God has never been closer. It sweeps over you as you walk the stone streets of Jerusalem, place your hand on the spot where Jesus was crucified, and set sail on the Sea of Galilee. Wherever you’re at in your faith journey, it’s a powerful, life-altering story brought to life in full color.
Discover it For Yourself
Everywhere you set foot, every explanation you hear adds to the same, beautiful story. It becomes more real, more ordinary, more expansive than ever before. Whether you’re walking the Via Dolorosa, visiting the birthplace of Jesus, or contemplating Mary in her hometown, you’ll start to see God’s story anew.
This isn’t another trip to Europe. You’re set down in the Middle East, in a land that’s as beautiful as it is different. You’ll feast on Mediterranean food, taste Israeli wine, and witness unique religious customs. And, you’ll be in the heart of cities both modern and ancient, where different cultures and religions exist together, making it one of the most interesting places in the world.
Expect the unexpected when you visit the Holy Land, no matter where you are on your faith journey. It could be the realness of the places you visit, an encounter with God during Mass, or reflecting upon Mary. Whatever it is, it may surprise you how near you seem to God, as it has for so many other pilgrims before you.
(Itinerary shown does not include flights to/from pilgrimage.)
Welcome to Israel
Your pilgrimage journey begins on day one when you depart from your home airport en route to Israel. If there’s time when you arrive the next day, grab some falafel, explore the city, or head south to Jaffa, the oldest part of Tel Aviv. Later, you’ll enjoy your first Mass as a group and get to know each other over dinner. It’s also a great time to talk about the days ahead and what you hope to get out of them.
A Day in Mary’s Hometown
On the first full day of pilgrimage, the trip focuses on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her hometown of Nazareth. You’ll visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, built on top of the location accepted as the spot where the angel Gabriel announced she would conceive and bear a son — Jesus. You’ll get the opportunity to have Mass there, eat an authentic Israeli lunch, and explore the city. Later, in Cana, married couples will have a special moment where they can renew their wedding vows in the same place Jesus was at a wedding and performed his first miracle.
A Day of Reflection
Just as Jesus and his disciples once did, you’ll go out onto the Sea of Galilee with your fellow travelers. After Mass on the boat, you’ll visit an ancient boat museum and head on to several closeby churches. So much of Jesus’ ministry was done around the sea, which you can reflect on as you visit Capernaum, Peter’s Primacy, Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes, and Magdala. After a group dinner, you’ll spend the night in Tiberias.
Early on in the trip, the Sea of Galilee offers the perfect moment of tranquility so you can take stock of what’s happened so far, and pray for what’s ahead. Mass on the boat where Jesus was with his disciples is a truly divine moment. And the different churches on the coast offer quiet, reflective moments you don’t get elsewhere.
To the Highest Heights and Lowest Lows
The Church of the Transfiguration is a magnificent Fransiscan church built on the top of Mount Tabor and the spot you’ll head to first thing for Mass. After taking in the views you’ll go back down the mountain to the Jordan River, the baptismal site of Jesus, where you can renew your baptismal promises. After that is the Dead Sea, and if you’ve never been, you have to take an other-worldly dip there. Then, head to dinner and spend the evening in Jerusalem.
Celebrate Christ’s Birth
Crossing into Palestine from Jerusalem, you’ll visit the beautiful, inspiring Church of the Nativity, to visit the birthplace of Jesus. Though often somewhat crowded, it can be a special, spiritual moment. After Mass, you’ll visit Shepherd’s Fields, the place believed to be where angels first announced the birth of Christ. Before heading back to Jerusalem, stop by a Christian cooperative whose sales help the very small Christian community within Palestine.
In and Around Jerusalem
Continue walking in Jesus’ footsteps today by starting out on the Mount of Olives, including Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, the Garden of Gethsemane, and Mass in the Church of All Nations. After that you’ll visit the famous Western Wall, where you can pray, put your prayer intentions into the wall if you wish, and hear about the wall’s great significance. That afternoon on Mount Zion, you’ll get to see St. Peter in Gallicantu, the Upper Room, and Dormition Abbey.
A Sacred Morning
Today’s early morning rise will be well worth it. While it’s still dark, your group will walk the lamp-lit corridors of the Via Dolorosa, as you pray through the Stations of the Cross. The final stations will be done at the end of the route at the Holy Sepulchre. There a sacred moment is waiting for you at Calvary, where you can touch the rock where Jesus was crucified. After that is a special Mass at the tomb of Jesus, the site of Jesus’ Resurrection. After Mass, be first in line to pray in the empty tomb, a moment to certainly cherish forever. Later in the day you’ll have the chance to visit Ein Karem, including the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation. There is also an optional afternoon visit to St. Anne’s Church and the Pools of Bethesda. Finally, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the pilgrimage you’ve just had before traveling home the next morning.
This is truly an exclusive opportunity to have Mass here and be the first in line to go inside and touch the tomb of Jesus. While other groups will wait hours in line just to quickly pass through, you’ll have access to a sacred, intimate setting.
The City of Mosaics
Madaba is a beautiful city to stroll through, with its countless pieces of art earning it the title the “City of Mosaics.” When you visit St. George’s church, you’ll marvel at the ancient mosaic there called the “Madaba Map,” a sixth-century map of Madaba and the surrounding area, including Jerusalem. From there, you’ll head to the top of Mt. Nebo, where Moses is thought to have died and been buried. On a clear day you’ll be able to see the city of Jerusalem from that height. Coming down the mountain, you’ll head to Petra for a full day there tomorrow.
The Wonder of Petra
Today you’ll get a full morning and afternoon at the “Lost City” of Petra, a site named one of the “New7Wonders of the World,” and featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
You’ll get to see The Treasury in person, and wind your way through the narrow gorge known as the Siq to arrive right in front of the elaborate facade. Though best known for those two sites, a guided tour will show you around this complex, sprawling city which is still being uncovered. The ruins include an amphitheater, courthouse, monastery, homes, and mausoleums. You’ll also get to explore the museum, containing hundreds of artifacts, located at the site.
Until Next Time
Wake up, eat breakfast, and head to Amman for a panoramic city tour. After lunch you’ll have free time to explore Jordan’s capital — a modern city with plenty of history and ancient ruins to explore — before your evening transfer to the Amman airport. As you head home, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your trip to the Holy Land and how God continues to make himself known to us to this day.
Once you register, we’ll help you prepare for the journey, logistically and spiritually. In the meantime: