Watch the Gospels come alive as we set out on this true pilgrimage of faith and retrace the progressive stages of the life of Jesus from his younger days in Nazareth and his public ministry in the Galilee, unto his passion, death and resurrection in Jerusalem. As we together respond to Jesus’ call to ‘follow me’, prepare to be deeply moved, as we behold with our eyes what our minds for so long attempted to imagine.
Tel Aviv (1 night) • Caesarea Maritima • Haifa • Mt Carmel • Nazareth (2) • Mt Tabor • Cana • Sea of Galilee (2) • Mt Beatitudes • Capernaum • Magdala • Jordan River Baptismal site • Jericho • Jerusalem (4) • Bethlehem day
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
Welcome to the Holy Land, affectionately known as the land of the ‘fifth Gospel’.
Upon arrival at Tel Aviv, we will be transferred to our local hotel to gather ourselves and prepare for the amazing days ahead.
Tel Aviv overnight (D)
Theme: Prepare the way
This morning we journey north to the crusader port of Caesarea Maritima to see the port 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.
Continuing our journey, we come to Haifa, the largest city in Northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country. The Mediterranean Sea wraps around three sides of the city with intoxicating blue and gold beaches.
We firstly visit the Stella Maris Monastery at Mount Carmel where in the lower cave, Elijah was said to have meditated on His victory over the false prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:1-40).
After lunch at a spectacular restaurant overlooking the sea, we 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 listen to an inspiring talk about this ministry.
Later today, arrive into Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus’ childhood.
Nazareth overnight (BLD)
Theme: The Formative Years of Jesus
Our spectacular morning begins at the Basilica of the Annunciation where a traditional cave becomes the focal point to Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel “Let it be done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). After a guided tour and our private Mass, we will visit the adjacent Church of St Joseph to commemorate the life of Mary’s beloved spouse.
Not far away, we enter the nearby Synagogue Church, a Crusader structure said to be built on the site of the synagogue where Jesus read the Messianic passage in Isaiah 61 ” The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me, to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
Continue on to Nazareth Village, an authentic re-creation of the village life of Nazareth as in the days of Jesus. Here we will take a parable-rich walk back in time along the path which brings to life the environment and atmosphere which shaped Jesus’ early years and ministry. Complete our memorable visit with a fascinating Biblical Meal lunch in the authentic setting of a first century house.
In the afternoon, we journey east to the foot of Mt Tabor before ascending by dedicated taxis up the narrow winding road leading to the majestic summit. Here in this breathtaking setting, Our Lord’s divinity shone forth in the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1–2) as we better understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’.
This evening, pilgrims may take the opportunity to join in the candlelit procession, rosary or adoration back in the Basilica of Annunciation (subject to parish schedule).
Nazareth overnight (BLD)
Theme: Mountains of the Lord
Departing Nazareth today, we travel to and ascend Biblical Mt Precipice, which offers an incredible view of Nazareth and the Jezreel valley. This is the site of the rejection of Jesus, described in Luke 4:29-30, where the people of Nazareth tried to push him from the mountain. In 2009 Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass here with 40,000 people in attendance. We notice too the Olive Tree planted earlier by Pope John Paul II as a symbol of peace between religions.
Travel on to the village of Cana where Jesus, at the request of His Mother, performed His first miracle transforming the water into wine at the wedding feast (Jn 2:1-12). Here, married couples will have the opportunity to renew their wedding vows.
Continue east towards of Lake Galilee … “Go to Galilee and you will find him there” (Mt 28:7).
On arrival, we come to the Mount of Beatitudes to enjoy some reflective time and to wander through the Church and tranquil gardens to ponder Jesus’ message of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1–12).
Journey then 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 (BD)
Theme: The Public Ministry of Jesus
Following breakfast, we travel to Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ teaching and healing and home to Peter the Apostle (Mt 4:12–20).
Onwards to Nof Ginosar Kibbutz to see the preserved remains of a first century fishing boat from 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 quietly in the centre of Lake Galilee. 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 the panoramic Mt Arbel lookout to view Lake Galilee and the entire Golan Heights. From here, a spectacular highlight awaits the more agile, as we descend by foot along a unique stretch of the ancient Jesus Trail frequented by Our Lord in his many visits between Nazareth and Capernaum. This well-worn shepherd’s path through the Valley of the Doves offers a rare and genuine opportunity to prayerfully tread the actual footsteps of Jesus down through the rustic pass between the mountains that have changed little since the days of the Gospels. (N.B. Weather and personal fitness dependant / or optional afternoon at hotel.)
Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)
Theme: Desert Encounters
Begin our day in Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene, who became the first recorded witness of the resurrection of Jesus (John 20:18). Recent archaeological discoveries have made Magdala an important pilgrimage essential as we explore the remains of the town famous for its fishing industry and visit the Church of Duc In Altum, named after the words of Jesus to Simon Peter “put out into the deep” and famous for its boat altar.
Departing Lake Galilee this morning we journey south along the Jordan Valley towards Jericho.
Soon we arrive at the Jordan River Baptismal site (Qasr Al Yehoud), an archaeological discovery said to be the actual location where Jesus was baptised. Celebrate a special Mass here as we renew our own baptismal promises.
Onwards to Jericho, the ‘City of Palms’, which is the oldest inhabited city in the world and most famous oasis dating back to around 9000 BC. Stop by the famous Sycamore tree used to commemorate the powerful story of the tax collector Zacchaeus. Across the valley we look up to view 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”. After a lunch stop in Jericho, we drive to St George’s Monastery lookout to marvel at the cliff-hanging 5th C complex carved into a sheer rock wall and still occupied today.
Travel towards Jerusalem along the Jericho Road, as we remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and journey through desert hills and dry rocky landscape. Finally, we ascend up into Jerusalem – the City of our God and the Mountain of His Holiness.
Jerusalem overnight (BLD)
Theme: Commemorating the Birth of Jesus
We travel out today to Ein Karem this morning and ascend the hill to the Church of the Visitation where Mary visited Elizabeth and proclaimed her Magnificat prayer – ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’. Visit the nearby Church of St John the Baptist to pray before the grotto of his birth.
Continue to the Shepherd’s Field to celebrate a joyous Christmas Mass in a local cave to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Holy night (Lk 2:8–16).
In Bethlehem this afternoon, we will enter the spectacular Church of the Nativity, the oldest complete church in the Christian world (6th century) and birthplace of Our Lord and Saviour. Bow low and enter the grotto through the Door of Humility as we descend to the Holy Manger where a silver star in the floor marks the actual spot where Jesus was born.
Proceed to St Jerome’s Cave where in 386 AD the saint spent 30 years producing the first vernacular version of the Bible! Before returning to our hotel for a rest we have the opportunity to visit the Christian Co-Op store.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Passion of Jesus
We 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 continue down to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we will enter the Church of the Agony containing the rock upon which Jesus is said to have prayed before His arrest. Prepare then for a memorable pilgrim highlight, as we gain private group access inside the adjacent ‘Garden of Betrayal’ for an extended time of prayer and reflection surrounded by ancient olive trees dating back to the time of Christ.
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 to the Cenacle, room of the Last Supper and the Church of Dormition where Our Lady was assumed into heaven.
After a rest before dinner, we will meet representatives of the Bereaved Parents Circle – this is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organisation made up of 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 courageously chosen a path of reconciliation which is sure to touch us deeply.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Death, Resurrection & Ascension of Jesus
We commence early this morning 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 in 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 reach through to touch with our pilgrim hands the rock of Calvary. Finally, we may have the opportunity to enter the Tomb where Our Lord rose from the dead for a jaw-dropping moment of pilgrimage.
This morning we travel to the vicinity of the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall. Then we come to the Church of St Anne, said to be built over the birthplace of the Virgin Mary, and visit the adjacent Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2–9).
Finally we come to the Israel Museum to view the Second Temple scale model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. This model will help us to understand the layout of the Old City of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. We will also visit here the Shrine of the Book to view the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
For a special evening of pilgrimage, we will enjoy a Final Celebration Dinner with spectacular views over all of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
We are transferred to the airport for our homebound flight connections or onto the Wonders of Jordan extension. (B)
All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.
3 – 12 September 2024
AUD $TBA Supplement
AUD $TBA per person
8 – 17 October 2024
AUD $TBA Supplement
AUD $TBA per person
*Per person, twin share
Costs are indicative and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, tax & hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions.
Pay homage in Bethlehem before the silver star that marks the very spot of Jesus’ birth.
Reflect quietly at the Grotto cave of the Annunciation to honour Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God.
Celebrate a breathtaking Mass in the centre of Lake Galilee onboard our traditional sailing vessel floating in silence and tranquility.
Engage in inspired People & Plight encounters and be moved by their faith and resilience.
Walk a hidden stretch of the authentic Jesus Trail through the mountain pass in Christ’s actual footsteps towards Lake Galilee.
Enter as a group into a private gated Garden in Gethsemane for an extended time of prayer amidst ancient olive trees.
Walk in Jesus’ footsteps as we pray the Stations of the Cross at dawn along the deserted Via Dolorosa streets in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Bow low at the altar of Calvary and touch the very rock where Jesus was crucified.
Gather for daily Masses around the most stunning Holy Sites of Sacred Scripture.
|taste & see meals
Nazareth: Taste & See a traditional First-Century meal in an outdoor stone dining setting in Nazareth Village.
Tiberias: Experience a renowned ‘St Peter’s Fish’ lunch freshly caught from the Sea of Galilee!
Mt Carmel: Share a beautiful meal in Haifa in a breathtaking setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Jerusalem: Celebrate our final night together in a first class restaurant overlooking the illuminated Old City.
Petra (2 nights), Dead Sea (1).
Travel east this morning crossing into the Holy Land of Jordan.
Visit St Georges Church in Madaba with its precious 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land comprised of more than two million pieces.
We continue on and travel south to the magnificent ancient trading city of Petra known as the ‘Red Rose City’ and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Petra overnight (BD)
This morning we enjoy a breathtaking guided walking tour through the ruins of ancient Petra – the city that the Nabateans carved out of solid rock dating back to 300 BC! Our visit will follow a passage through the Siq, a chasm created in a prehistoric earthquake. It is one of the special moments to walk through this canyon which dramatically opens up before your eyes to reveal the Treasury Building (Al-Khazneh) – a never to be forgotten experience. We will see also the Roman Theatre, Corinthian tomb along with churches, homes and many other buildings from this fascinating period.
Petra overnight (BD)
Travel north today where we will ascend Biblical Mt Nebo for a spectacular Mass. Here, at the site where the Old Testament opened its door to the Land of the New, Moses looked over into the Promised Land and blessed Joshua who was to lead the Israelites under God’s protection (Joshua 1:6-9). It has been possible for archaeologists to identify this sanctuary, thanks to the records left by two pilgrim-visitors of the fourth and fifth centuries of their travels in this region.
His Holiness Benedict XVI, on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2009, said this while here on Mt Nebo: “Here, on the heights of Mount Nebo, the memory of Moses invites us to ‘lift up our eyes’ to embrace with gratitude not only God’s mighty works in the past, but also to look with faith and hope to the future which he holds out to us and to our world.” We too can seize this opportunity to thank God for our journey thus far and anticipate the blessings that are to come.
We then arrive at the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea to check-in to our beautiful hotel located down on the shore. Here we will unwind and take the optional opportunity to float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities.
Dead Sea overnight (BD)
Depart Dead Sea today for Amman airport for our homebound flight connections. (B)
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
|TOUR EXTENSION DETAILS
|Tel Aviv / Jerusalem
|12 – 15 September 2024
17 – 20 October 2024
5 – 8 December 2024
|AUD $TBA per person, twin share
|AUD $TBA supplement
|AUD $TBA per person
|Costs are based on prices as at December 2023 and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions for more details.
“The tour was well organised, the accommodations was excellent. The tour guides were knowledgeable and were an enormous source of information. Border transfers were easily arranged. It was great to travel in an unknown area without any worries.”