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Advent Holy Land Pilgrimage

Bishop Michael McCarthy
7 – 21 December 2018.
Advent in the Holy Land with Rockhampton's Bishop Michael Fabian McCarthy and Fr Noel Milner.
 
 
Advent in the Holy Land
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
ITINERARY
DAY 1: Friday 7th December 2018 – Depart Brisbane for the Holy Land
DAY 2: Saturday 8th December 2018 – Via Tel Aviv to Bethlehem

On arrival at Tel Aviv airport we will be met and board our coach for a panoramic tour of the city. Continue on for a tour of Old Jaffa, including the Franciscan Church of St Peter – the oldest and most distinguished building in Jaffa. Continue to Bethlehem, the City of David – the perfect way to begin our pilgrimage through the life of Jesus.

Bethlehem overnight (D)

DAY 3: Sunday 9th December 2018 – Bethlehem

Our day of pilgrimage begins in Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and site of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43). Pilgrims may choose to pray a mystery of the Rosary here as we walk up to this church dedicated to ‘The Magnificat’. We then visit the renowned Bethlehem University, a Catholic co-educational institution providing higher education to the people of Palestine.

Continue onto Shepherd’s Field to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night (Lk 2:8–16). We celebrate our group Mass here in a local cave. Return to Bethlehem where we will visit the Church of the Nativity built over the stable where Jesus was born. Bending low, we enter the church through the Door of Humility and descend into the Grotto of the Holy Manger. A silver star in the floor marks the very spot where Christ was born. The star’s inscription reads in Latin: Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus Est (Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born).

Bethlehem overnight (BD)

DAY 4: Monday 10th December – to Sea of Galilee

We depart Bethlehem this morning and journey north to the crusader port city of Caesarea to see the maritime city built by Herod the Great and once the Roman capital of Israel. It was here the centurion Cornelius was baptized by Peter, becoming the first gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10), and where Festus tried Paul (Acts 25: 6–12). Visit the impressive excavations, the amphitheatre and the Herodian port.

We proceed to Megiddo, the great biblical location of many decisive battles in ancient times and the actual site of Armageddon (Rev 1:10). Finally we arrive at Tiberias on the shores of Lake Galilee … “Go to Galilee and you will find him there” (Mt 28:7).

Upon arrival we celebrate our group Mass in the new ‘Duc in Altum’ Church at Magdala – home of Mary Magdalene, who became the first recorded witness of the Resurrection (John 20:18). Recent archaeological discoveries have made Magdala an important pilgrimage destination.

Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)

DAY 5: Tuesday 11th December – Sea of Galilee

Our memorable Galilee day begins in Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ teaching and healing and home to Peter the Apostle (Mt 4:12–20). After exploring this site, we travel through Sowers Bay and reflect on the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1–9) before continuing through Magdala, the town of Mary Magdalene.

Visit the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz, within which is preserved the remains of a first century fishing boat as in the days of Christ. We then set off from the shore in a traditional sailing vessel to encounter one of our most memorable pilgrimage highlights – a Private Mass floating in the centre of Lake Galilee with engines switched off. Here we will recall the miracles of Jesus calming the storm and appearing to the apostles walking on this very water. After Mass, we will continue back to the shore for our special ‘St Peter’s fish’ lunch.

Journey on to Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mt 14:20), before an important stop at the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Jesus challenged Peter and each one of us ‘Do you really love me, feed my sheep’. Here we will spend some quiet time to reflect and pray by the shore of the lake.

Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)

DAY 6: Wednesday 12th December – Nazareth & Sepphoris

We travel out this morning to the foot of Mt Tabor before ascending by taxis up the narrow winding road leading to the majestic summit. Here Our Lord’s divinity shone forth in the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1–2). After a memorable Mass in this breathtaking setting we will better understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’.

We then travel east towards Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ childhood. We will enter inside the Basilica of the Annunciation where a traditional cave becomes the focal point of Mary’s response “Let it be done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Celebrate a touching Eucharist here. Time permitting we also see the Church of St Joseph and Mary’s Well.

Then we visit the International Mary of Nazareth Centre. Ecumenical in its approach, it uses multimedia techniques to show the place of the Mother of Jesus in Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions.

We then proceed to nearby Sepphoris which was in the midst of a furious building spurt during Jesus’ childhood. Some scholars suggest that Mary and Joseph settled in Nazareth after their return from Egypt precisely because the frenetic building activity in Sepphoris provided livelihood to artisans such as Joseph. Walking through the ruins, we come across brilliantly preserved mosaic floors.

Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)

DAY 7: Thursday 13th December – Caesarea Phillip, Akko, Haifa

This morning we travel north along the west shore of the Sea of Galilee up to Caesarea Philippi (Banias) near the base of Mt Hermon, where springs form the source of the Jordan. In this tranquil place Jesus spent some quiet time with his disciples and asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” We then travel to Acre where we will visit the Byzantine ruins including the Knights Halls and Crusader tunnels.

Continuing on our journey, we visit the town of Haifa which is the largest city in Northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country. The sea wraps around three sides of Haifa with intoxicating blue and gold beaches. In this region we will visit Mount Carmel where Elijah smote the false prophets and where we will visit the Carmelite Monastery, Chapel of the Holy Family and Elijah’s cave.

We also visit the House of Grace, a Catholic ministry that works with the most marginalised members of Haifa: Christians, Jews and Muslims who are in need of counselling, guidance, and material aid. We will hear a special talk about this ministry (subject to opening hours).

Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)

DAY 8: Friday 14th December to Jerusalem

Our day begins with Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes as we take time in this special place to ponder Jesus’ message of happiness – the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1–12).

We farewell Lake Galilee and travel south through Samaria, a land rich in Old Testament history. We see the twin peaks of Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal, known in the Old Testament as Mt Blessing and Mt Cursing. Mt Gerizim is today the home of the few remaining Samaritans.

Soon we come to the actual site of Jacob’s Well, hewn manually out of solid rock and over 100 feet deep. The water at the bottom of the well is fed by flowing water which is why ancients gave it the name of “living water”. It is at this well that Jesus met the Samaritan woman and said to her: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:13–14)

Pass by Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and through the beautiful Levonah Valley referred to in Judges as the Valley of the Dancers. Finally we continue our journey up to Jerusalem – the City of our God. Upon arrival we will visit the Israel Museum where we have an orientation viewing of the Second Temple scale model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. Then proceed to the Shrine of the Book to view the Dead Sea Scrolls with our own eyes.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 9: Saturday 15th December – Masada, Jericho & Mt Temptation

We begin this morning in Bethany where we relive the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Here we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St Lazarus before returning to our hotel.

Travel along the Jericho Road as we remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and journey through desert hills and dry rocky landscape. Soon our coach will pass by the site of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy.

We continue south along the Dead Sea to the historical Masada where, on arrival, we will embark on the cable car offering spectacular scenery to the summit. Here we will enjoy a guided tour of Herod’s fortress and the Zealot’s last stand.

Travel back to Jericho the ‘City of Palms’ which is said to be the oldest inhabited city and most famous oasis. Here we enjoy a traditional Palestinian meal before viewing from across the valley the Mt of Temptation, the site of Jesus’ fast of 40 days and there are enough stones to illustrate Satan’s words “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves”. Continue to Qasr al Yahud where at the Jordan River we renew our baptismal rights. Before returning to Jerusalem we vvisit the Monastery of St George, taking time to reflect, pray and explore the amazing desert landscape.

Jerusalem overnight (BLD)

DAY 10: Sunday 16th December – Jerusalem

We will proceed to the Mt of Olives this morning where we will firstly visit the Church of the ‘Pater Noster’ commemorating the site where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:7–15). We then enjoy a panoramic view over the city and a spectacular photographic opportunity. As we commence our walk down the Palm Sunday Road, we wander past the tombs of the Prophets Haggai, Malachi and Zechariah before arriving at the Dominus Flevit for Mass. This church was built on the site where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem (Lk 19:41–44).

We then visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where we will enter the Church of the Agony containing the bare rock upon which Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. The outside garden contains olive trees, the roots of which go back to the time of Jesus. Nearby we will have the opportunity for a time of reflection in one of the private gardens.

From here we see the path Jesus was taken along as a prisoner while ascending Mt Zion to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. Here, at the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, Our Lord was interrogated and imprisoned, while Peter denied Jesus three times. Continue on to the Cenacle, room of the Last Supper and the Church of Dormition where Our Lady was assumed into heaven.

Before dinner we will have a chance to meet with the Parents Circle – this is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organisation made up or more than 600 bereaved families. Their common bond is that they have lost a close family member to the conflict. Instead of choosing revenge, they have chosen a path of reconciliation.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

Day 11: Monday 17th December – Jerusalem

Arise early this morning as we enter the Old City to commence our Stations of the Cross, beginning from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned to death. See the Lithostrotos (pavement) in the Ecce Homo convent. Visit nearby the Flagellation and Condemnation Chapels as we pray and follow in Our Lord’s footsteps along the actual Via Dolorosa to the site of Calvary where we will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Walk the stairway climbing to the actual site where the Cross of Jesus once stood. The glass panels reveal the natural rock below which we may come to touch with our pilgrim hands. Also enter the Edicule containing the tomb where Our Lord rose from the dead.

After breakfast back at our hotel we travel to the vicinity of the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing Wall. Then we come to the Church of St Anne, said to be built over the birthplace of the Virgin Mary, and visit the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2–9).

We then journey to Emmaus, where the Disciples recognised the risen Jesus at the breaking of bread and exclaimed “Did not our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us on the road?” (Lk 24:13–35). Proceed to Abu Gosh, biblical Kirya-Jearim, where David brought the Ark to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 12: Tuesday 18th December – Jerusalem

Enjoy a free day today to return to the old city or perhaps visit the Yad Vashem (Holocaust History Museum).

Later this afternoon visit the Pontifical Institute – Notre Dame Jerusalem Centre to experience a unique presentation on the Shroud of Turin (optional) and Mass in the lovely Chapel. For our final night of pilgrimage, we will enjoy a special farewell dinner.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 13: Wednesday 19th December – Depart the Holy Land

Today we are transferred to Tel Aviv Airport for our homebound connections. (B)

DAY 14: Thursday 20th December – In transit

Transit accommodation of 10 hours in Hong Kong.

DAY 15: Friday 21st December – Arrive Brisbane

Arrive at 8:30AM


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"I have been to Holy Land and it was a dream come true for me. The pilgrimage left me with a wonderful memory. The experience of following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ from before He was born in the Old Testament culminating in His birth to the time of His death and resurrection. The experience helped me to strengthen my faith and the bible came alive right in front of my eyes. It's not just a book anymore but a reality. My faith became my way of life. It's an experience of a lifetime that everyone should try to do and visit the Holy Land where our salvation started to be fulfilled" – Aurea Martin
Air and Land Package Pilgrimage Cost Single Supplement Prepaid Tipping
Pilgrimage Code: 8PV28 AUD $6540 AUD $1680 AUD $180
 
INCLUSIONS
Airfares: Economy class airfares from Brisbane. (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations). Accommodation & Meals: Based on moderate standard hotel & accommodation throughout with breakfast and dinner daily. Miscellaneous Inclusions: Deluxe Air-Conditioned Motor coach with driver • Local tour escort/guide • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary. Not Included: Passport and any other Visa Costs (if applicable) • Australian domestic flights • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance (Harvest will recommend a special group policy rate) • Prepaid Tipping.

NB: Costs have been based on prices as at June 2017 and must remain subject to change in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases and minimum group size (30) contingencies. Prices must remain indicative until the airlines release their fares..
 
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