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pilgrim highlights
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.
Enjoy an exclusive ‘Breakfast with Jesus’ in a private location by the shores of Galilee.
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.
Participate in a traditional ‘Sabbath of a Lifetime Meal’ as we are welcomed inside a Jewish home to share songs and prayers to welcome in the Lord’s day.
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
Bethlehem: Listen to Catholic students at the Bethlehem University and share a beautiful meal prepared by their hospitality department.
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.
Galilee: Share together a stunning ‘Breakfast with Jesus’ in a secret location by the shores of Lake Galilee.
Jerusalem: Be welcomed into a Jewish home to celebrate a Sabbath Meal experience in Jerusalem with prayers and songs to welcome in the Lord’s Day.
Jerusalem: Celebrate our final night together in a first class restaurant overlooking the illuminated Old City.
TOUR DETAILS – INDICATIVE PRICING
Tour Code PV1021
Starts 04 Sep 2021 – Bethlehem
Finishes 14 Sep 2021 – Jerusalem
Tour Cost USD $3290 Twin Share *
Air & Tour from USD $4590 **
Single Room USD $1090 Supplement
Prepaid Tips USD $14 per person per day
Deposit $800 non-refundable deposit
Download Itinerary
EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST
 
POST-TOUR JORDAN EXTENSION
Starts 14 Sep 2021 – Jerusalem
Finishes 17 Sep 2021 – Tel Aviv
Cost Add-on USD $1140 Twin Share †
Single Room USD $490 Supplement
Prepaid Tips USD $14 per person per day
 
INCLUSIONS
Accommodation & Meals: Based on superior standard central accommodation • 10 Dinners / 10 Full Breakfasts / 4 Lunches. Touring & Transportation: Deluxe Air Conditioned Coach touring • Professional Christian Escort / Local Guides • Sightseeing & Entrance Fees. Other: Fully Escorted by Spiritual Chaplain • Porterage at hotels • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrim Journal & Tour Wallet.
NB: Jordan Visa fee at additional expense (if required)
 
* Costs are based on prices as at August 2019 and remain subject to change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, airfares, hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions for more details.
** Airfare from East Coast USA. Group Airfare participants will travel on main group flights with meet & greet assistance & coach tranfers on arrival & departure. Subject to seat availability and airfare increases.
† Indicative costs only. Includes: Deluxe Coach / Fully Escorted / Superior Hotel / Breakfasts & Dinners Daily / Entrances & Sightseeing. Minimum Group Size applies.

Footsteps of Jesus with Tim Staples

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Tim Staples from Catholic Answers

“Join me live on location in the Holy Land of Israel as we traverse the homeland of Our Lord and Saviour and explore the backroads of our faith as never before. I am personally so excited to take you through the living pages of scripture on what promises to be a true pilgrimage of the heart.” – Tim Staples

Catholic Answers Parousia Media

Tim Staples

Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian televangelists. Soon after, Tim joined the Marine Corps.

During his four-year tour, he became involved in ministry with various Assemblies of God communities. Immediately after his tour of duty, Tim enrolled in Jimmy Swaggart Bible College and became a youth minister in an Assembly of God community. During his final year in the Marines, however, Tim met a Marine who really knew his faith and challenged Tim to study Catholicism from Catholic and historical sources. That encounter sparked a two-year search for the truth. Tim was determined to prove Catholicism wrong, but he ended up studying his way to the last place he thought he would ever end up: the Catholic Church!

He converted to Catholicism in 1988 and spent the following six years in formation for the priesthood, earning a degree in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania. He then studied theology on a graduate level at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, for two years. Realizing that his calling was not to the priesthood, Tim left the seminary in 1994 and has been working in Catholic apologetics and evangelization ever since.

Footsteps of Jesus Itinerary

10 NIGHTS / 11 DAYS. Bethlehem (2 nights) • Masada • Jericho • Nazareth (1 night) • Cana • Sea of Galilee (3 nights) • Mt Beatitudes • Mt Tabor • Mt Carmel • Haifa • Jerusalem (4 nights) •  Optional Wonders of Jordan Extension (3 nights).

DAY 1SAT 4 SEP - ARRIVE THE HOLY LAND

Arrive at Tel Aviv airport where we will be met and transferred by coach to Bethlehem, the City of David and the birthplace of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ where we formally begin our chronological journey in the Footsteps of Jesus.

Bethlehem overnight (D)

DAY 2SUN 5 SEP - BETHLEHEM & SURROUNDS

Theme:  The Birth of Jesus

We firstly travel out to Ein Karem 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).

Back 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.

Prepare to enjoy tonight our special Breaking the Bread Experience as we enter the homes of local Christians and share in a delicious home-cooked Arabic meal.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Bethlehem overnight (BD)

Day 3MON 6 SEP - VIA MASADA & JERICHO TO NAZARETH

Theme:  Desert Encounters

We farewell Bethlehem this morning and journey east along the Jericho Road where we recall the parable of the Good Samaritan. Ascend St George’s Monastery lookout to marvel at the cliff-hanging 5th-century complex carved into a sheer rock wall and still occupied today.

Traveling south along the Dead Sea we arrive at historic Masada where we will embark the Cable Car offering spectacular scenery to the summit before a guided tour of Herod’s fortress overlooking the Judean Desert.

We briefly pause outside Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were found by a Bedouin Shepherd boy in 1947.

Onwards to Jericho, the ‘City of Palms’, said to be the oldest inhabited city in the world dating back to around 9000 BC. Stop by the famous Sycamore tree used to commemorate the powerful story of the tax collector Zacchaeus who climbed the tree to see Jesus. (Lk 19:1-10). Across the valley see the Mt of Temptation where Jesus was tempted by the devil during his 40 day fast.

Soon we arrive at the Jordan River Baptismal site (Qasr Al Yehoud), an archeological discovery said to be the actual location where Jesus was Baptised. Celebrate a special Mass here as we renew our own Baptismal promises.

Finally, we journey north through the Jordan valley passing by Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (Joshua 18:1) before arriving into Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus’ childhood.

After dinner we will prayerfully enter the Basilica of the Annunciation for a Candlelight Procession with the local Christians.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Nazareth overnight (BD)

Day 4TUE 7 SEP - NAZARETH & CANA TO SEA OF GALILEE

Theme:  The Formative Years of Jesus

We begin our day back 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 celebrating Mass we will visit the nearby Church of St Joseph to commemorate the life of Mary’s beloved spouse. We then 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 is upon me” … 

Continue onto Nazareth Village, an authentic non-profit 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 in the original setting of a first century house.

Ascend Biblical Mt Precipice which offers an incredible view of Nazareth and the Jezreel valley. This mountain is believed to be the place of the rejection of Jesus after his teaching in the Nazareth Synagogue (Luke 4:16-30). 

Travel east and on to the village of Cana this afternoon 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.

Finally we arrive and travel by the shores of Lake Galilee“Go to Galilee and you will find him there” (Mt 28:7). We enter Capernaum, the once fishing village of the first apostles Peter, Andrew, James & John which also became the home town of Jesus and the scene of many of his miracles. Here we will explore the synagogue which dates back to the time of Jesus and see the site of St Peter’s home.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)

Day 5WED 8 SEP - SEA OF GALILEE

Theme:  The Public Ministry of Jesus

Arise and set out on a spectacular day of pilgrimage as we firstly board a traditional ‘Jesus Boat’ sailing vessel for a special Harvest highlight – a Private Mass in the centre of Lake Galilee. Here we will float in quiet tranquility and reflect upon the miracles of Jesus calming the storm and appearing to the apostles walking on this very water.

Back on shore at the Yigal Allon Museum, see the 1st century ‘Jesus boat’ painstakingly raised and restored from the muddy lakebed in 1986.

Rise then to the Mount of Beatitudes to enjoy some reflective time to wander through the Church and tranquil gardens to ponder Jesus’ message of blessedness in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1–12).

After our ‘St Peter’s Fish’ lunch in a local restaurant, we will journey north to Caesarea Philippi near the base of Mt Hermon, where the beautiful springs of Banias form the source of the Jordan River. In this tranquil place Jesus spent some quiet time with his disciples asking them, as he does again to us in this moment: “Who do you say I am?” After Peter’s inspired answer he went on to commission him: “You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my church” (Mt 16:13).

We return to our hotel before dinner.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)

Day 6THU 9 SEP - SEA OF GALILEE

Theme:  Galilee encounters with Jesus

Set off to a secret location down by the shores of Lake Galilee to enjoy Breakfast with Jesus in the spirit of John 21:12 when Jesus said to his disciples “Come and have breakfast”.  ‘Taste and See’ the Gospels as we recount together this passage of Scripture live on location!

Nearby visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter down by the shores of the lake. Here Jesus challenged Peter and each one of us ‘Do you really love me? Feed my sheep.’ 

Departing this tranquil place, we come to nearby Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mt 14:20) and explore the 4th-century church displaying Byzantine mosaics considered to be some of the best in the Holy Land. Down by the shore of Lake Galilee we will celebrate an outdoor Mass here we will never forget.

Continue our rise to the majestic summit of historic Mt Arbel to marvel at the amazing views over the Golan Heights and the full panorama of Lake Galilee.

Visit the nearby Ancient Arbel Synagogue which sits alone on the side of the hill with its magnificent Galilee backdrop.

From here, pilgrims will take the opportunity to walk a spectacular stretch of the actual Jesus Trail frequented by Our Lord about three times a year in his journeys between Nazareth and Capernaum. This well-worn shepherd’s path through the Valley of the Doves offers a rare and genuine experience for mobile pilgrims to prayerfully encounter the actual footsteps of Jesus down through the rustic pass between the mountains.

AFTERNOON FREE.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)

Day 7FRI 10 SEP - VIA MT TABOR & MT CARMEL TO JERUSALEM

Theme:  Mountains of the Lord

We begin our day at 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 our private Mass in this breathtaking setting we will better understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’.

Continue west to the large city of Haifa wrapped by the intoxicating blue of the Mediterranean Sea on all three sides. Enter here 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).

We then enjoy lunch in our hand-picked restaurant with spectacular views over the Mediterranean.

We soon come to the House of Grace to hear the inspired story of a family committed to empowering the most marginalized members of the Haifa community. 

Onwards to the crusader port of Caesarea Maritima, built by Herod the Great on the harbour from which Paul was taken to Rome.

Finally, we journey south on and up to Jerusalem – the City of our God and Mountain of His Holiness. Before arrival at our hotel, we will enter the Old City to witness hundreds of devout Jews chanting prayers at the Western Wall (formerly known as the Wailing Wall) on the eve of the Sabbath. We might join the action of our last 3 Popes who tucked their written prayers between the gaps in the ancient stones.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Jerusalem overnight (BLD)

Day 8SAT 11 SEP - JERUSALEM

Theme:  The Passion of Jesus

Begin our Jerusalem pilgrimage as we proceed up to the Mt of Olives to visit the ‘Pater Noster’ Church where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:7–15). Walk down the Palm Sunday Road as pilgrims to the Dominus Flevit Church for Mass, built on the site where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Lk 19:41–44).

We then come 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 set out by coach across town to the Israel Museum for a lunch break. View the Second Temple Scale Model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. In the adjacent Shrine of the Book Museum we will soon gaze upon parts of the original Dead Sea Scrolls with our own eyes.

Continue back to Mt Zion to the Palace of Caiaphas and into the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu commemorating Peter’s triple denial of Jesus. Here our pilgrimage moves towards the final phase of Jesus’ passion. Enter the Cenacle room of the Last Supper (Upper Room) where we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Continue to the Church of the Dormition identified as the place where the Virgin Mary died or ‘fell asleep’ as the name suggests. 

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

Day 9SUN 12 SEP - JERUSALEM

Theme:  The Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus

We rise at dawn and return to the Old City to commence our Stations of the Cross, beginning from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned to death. We pray and follow in Our Lord’s footsteps along the actual Via Dolorosa to culminate at the site of Calvary where we will celebrate Mass here in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Walk the stairway climbing to the actual site where the Cross of Jesus once stood. Also enter the Tomb of Christ, the site believed to be where Our Lord lay buried for three days before rising from the dead.

After breakfast back at our hotel, we then set off north for our adventure to the village of Taybeh, once Old Testament Ophrah and New Testament Ephraim visited by Jesus before facing his crucifixion (John 11:54). Taybeh is the last surviving Christian outpost  here in the Holy Land and enjoying strong ecumenical bonds between its 1300 inhabitants of Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Melkite communities.

Our fascinating time will include a visit to the Byzantine Church of St George built in the 5th century by St Helena, the mother of Constantine and widely known as the first pilgrim to the Holy Land. Also enter a first century farmers house with its original manger below where we will gain insight into the original Nativity reality.

After being served lunch by the local Nuns we will take the opportunity to visit the ceramic workshop with its renowned dove shaped peace-lamps or maybe a tour of the local Brewery or Winery, all serving to bring a sustainable livelihood to this vulnerable community.

Return to Jerusalem for a time of rest.

Before dinner we take the opportunity to listen to the courageous stories of the Bereaved Family Forum where both a Palestinian and Israeli representative will share their extraordinary journey from grief and loss to a stunning reconciliation that is sure to challenge us deeply. 

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Jerusalem overnight (BLD)

Day 10MON 13 SEP - JERUSALEM

Theme: The Ascension of Jesus

We begin our final day at the vicinity of the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall precinct in more detail.

Continue on to the Church of St Anne with its magnificent acoustics and said to be built over the birthplace of the Virgin Mary. See the adjacent Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2–9). Enter the nearby Flagellation and Condemnation Chapels as well as the Ecce Homo’s Lithostrotos which so vividly commemorate the last hours of Jesus’ life.

We then return to the Mt of Olives to the Chapel of the Ascension which is believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. The small round church/mosque contains a stone imprinted with what is said to be the footprints of Jesus. A befitting end to our chronological pilgrimage in his footsteps as we recall his Great Commission to the eleven disciples:“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Mt 28:18-20

AFTERNOON AT LEISURE.

Before our final dinner, take the brief opportunity to view the Holy Shroud Exhibit with its full size replica of the sacred cloth.

Enjoy then a Special Celebration Dinner tonight in a wonderful restaurant with spectacular views over all of Jerusalem.

Mass Setting: Shepherds’ Field

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

Day 11TUE 14 SEP - DEPART THE HOLY LAND OR EXTEND TO JORDAN

Return today to the airport OR join the Wonders of Jordan Extension. (B)

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
Time out – Extended time for Reflection

4 Days / 3 Nights Post Tour

Post-Tour Option: Wonders of Jordan

Mt Nebo / Madaba / Petra (2 nights) / Wadi Rum Desert / Dead Sea (1 Night).
Why not extend your Holy Land journey with a breathtaking 4-day post-tour discovery of the ancient wonders of Jordan? Explore the magnificent Lost City of Petra and marvel at the wonders of the ancient Nabataean civilisation. Head into the Wadi Rum desert for an exhilarating Bedouin-driven jeep ride, and relax by the healing waters of the Dead Sea.

DAY 11TUE 14 SEP - TO PETRA

Travel east this morning crossing into Jordan. Ascend Biblical Mt Nebo for a spectacular Mass where Moses looked over into the Promised Land and blessed Joshua who was to lead the Israelites under God’s protection (Joshua 1:6-9). Visit St Georges Church in Madaba with its precious 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land comprised of more than two million pieces.
Continue south this afternoon 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)

DAY 12WED 15 SEP - PETRA EXPLORATION

Enjoy a breathtaking guided walking tour today 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.
The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure to relax back in our hotel.
Petra overnight (BD)

DAY 13THU 16 SEP – WADI RUM & DEAD SEA

Departing Petra this morning we travel south to Wadi Rum to experience something of the vastness and beauty of this desert region. A moonscape of ancient valleys and towering weathered sandstone mountains rise out of the pink and white coloured sand. Join here the exhilaration of a Bedouin-driven jeep ride deep into the valley to witness the stunning grandeur of this place made famous in the films Lawrence of Arabia and The Martian. Onwards to ancient Aqaba, located on the northern tip of the Red Sea and dating back 5,500 years. Cross the border back into Israel and travel north to our Dead Sea Resort Hotel located right on the shore at Ein Bokek. Take the opportunity before dinner to relax or enjoy the experience of a float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities.
Dead Sea overnight (BD)

DAY 14FRI 17 SEP - DEPART THE HOLY LAND VIA TEL AVIV (B)

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner

  • “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.”

    Clara Kempers
    Footsteps of Jesus

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