Advent Pilgrimage to the Holy Land – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

Diocese of Rockhampton

Advent Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Watch the Gospels come alive as we set out on a journey of faith retracing the progressive stages of the life of Jesus. Accompanied by Bishop Michael McCarthy and Fr Noel Milner.

Bishop Michael McCarthy

Highlights

Amman (3) / Bethany / Megiddo / Nazareth (2) / Cana / Mt Tabor / Caesarea Philippi / Beit She’an / Jericho / Galilee (2) / Bethlehem (2) / Jerusalem (5) / Be’er Sheba / Herodium

Itinerary

DAY 1FRIDAY 2 DECEMBER 2022 - DEPART FOR JORDAN

DAY 2SATURDAY 3 DECEMBER 2022 – ARRIVE AMMAN

This morning we arrive into Amman, meet our guide, and immediately continue south.

Our pilgrimage begins at Mt Nebo where Moses and Miriam and the Israelite people first glimpsed at the Promised Land. God showed this land to Moses stretching from Dan in the north to the Beer-sheba (Negev Desert) in the South (Deuteronomy 34). The Jordan River and Jericho unfolds before us and in the distance, we can catch a glimpse of Jerusalem. We celebrate Mass on this holy site where Moses is buried and remember the People of God who took this same journey into the Promised Land many thousands of years ago.

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 later return to Amman where we check into our hotel.

Amman overnight (D)

Day 3SUNDAY 4 DECEMBER - AMMAN

This morning we join a local parish and attend their Sunday Mass.

We then enjoy a city tour with highlights including the Citadel, Amphitheatre and King Abdullah Mosque as well as enjoy short walking tour through the old city to sample falafel and Knafeh amongst the locals.

Amman overnight (BLD)

Day 4MONDAY 5 DECEMBER – NORTHERN JORDAN

This morning we travel north to visit the ancient preserved Roman city of Jerash, one of the Ten Cities of the Decapolis.

In the afternoon we visit the Miraculous Shrine of Our Lady of the Mount in Anjara, and the Orphanage House. The Shrine is the site of a miracle, validated by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in which a statue of Our Lady wept tears of blood in 2010.

We also visit the ruins of the birth town of Elijah, Tal Mar Elias, before returning to our accommodation in Amman city.

Amman overnight (BD)

Day 5TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER – BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN & MEGIDDO TO NAZARETH

Following an early breakfast, we visit Bethany Beyond the Jordan, one of the most recent archaeological and religious discoveries.

The five springs here form a tributary of the Jordan River, believed to be the Baptismal site of Jesus by John the Baptist. So authentic is this site that His Holiness Benedict XVI chose this as an essential place to visit on his last pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 

Journey west across the Jordan River border into the Holy Land of Israel known as the land of the “fifth Gospel”.

We then proceed to Megiddo, the great biblical location of many decisive battles in ancient times and the actual site of Armageddon (Rev 1:10).

We then continue towards Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ childhood and onto our accommodation for check in.

Nazareth overnight (BD)

Day 6WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER – NAZARETH

This morning we 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). We also see the Church of St Joseph.

We then cross the road and 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.

Following Mass in the rooftop chapel of the community of Chemin Neuf we continue to visit Nazareth Village, a re-creation of the village life of Nazareth as in the days of Jesus. Here enjoy a traditional meal and take a parable walk back in time along the path which brings to life the environment and atmosphere which shaped Jesus’ early years and ministry.

Remainder of the day at leisure.

Nazareth overnight (BLD)

Day 7THURSDAY 8 DECEMBER – CANA & MT TABOR TO GALILEE

Continue this morning 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 2:1-11). Here, married couples may take the opportunity to renew their wedding vows, and single and widowed pilgrims will receive a special blessing.

We then travel 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) and we will better understand Peter’s words “Lord it is good for us to be here”.

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 visit Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mt 14:20), following Mass by the shore we visit 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.

Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)

Day 8FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER – CAESAREA PHILIPPI & GALILEE

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?”

En route to Galilee we stop briefly at Tel Dan Nature Reserve. Dan, once the northern most point of the Kingdom… (Samuel 3:19-21). Here we will see the Wading Pool, the Israelite, Abraham (Canaanite) as well as view the Tel from an observation deck.

Returning to Galilee we 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 – Reflection time while 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. We then continue back to the shore for our special ‘St Peter’s fish’ lunch.

Proceed to Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ teaching and healing and home to Peter the Apostle (Mt 4:12-20). After exploring this site, continue to Magdala, the town of Mary Magdalene, where we will celebrate Mass. 

Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)

Day 9SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER – VIA BEIT SHE’AN & JERICHO TO JERUSALEM

Our day begins with a visit to 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 then continue south along the lush Jordan valley to Beit She’an, the place where King Saul’s body was displayed on its walls after his defeat by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10).

See the second century Roman Theatre, the best preserved in Israel, and the Tell el-Husn, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country dating back to 1318 BC.

We travel on to Jericho the ‘City of Palms’ which is said to be the oldest inhabited city and most famous oasis. Here we will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd before enjoying a traditional Palestinian meal.

Across the valley we see the Mount 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 Bethany where we relive the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead at the Church of St Lazarus. 

Finally, we continue our journey up to Bethlehem, the City of David.

Bethlehem overnight (BLD)

Day 10SUNDAY 11 DECEMBER – BETHLEHEM

This morning we begin with a special visit to 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).

We then continue to Shepherd’s Field this morning to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night (Lk 2:8-16).

Leaving Bethlehem, we visit 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’.

Continue to 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.

Bethlehem overnight (BD)

Day 11MONDAY 12 DECEMBER – JERUSALEM & SURROUNDS

This morning we visit the renowned Bethlehem University, a Catholic coeducational institution providing higher education to the people of Palestine.

After an orientation tour including the lovely chapel, 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. 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.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 12TUESDAY 13 DECEMBER – JERUSALEM

This morning we visit Mount Zion. 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.

Continue to the vicinity of the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing Wall.

Proceed 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).

Before dinner we will meet representatives of the 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 chosen a path of reconciliation.

Jerusalem overnight (BLD)

DAY 13WEDNESDAY 14 DECEMBER – BE’ER SHEBA & HERODIUM

This morning we travel south and visit Be’er Sheba where we see Abraham’s Well, the park of the Australian Soldier and the War Cemetery. On the 31st October 1917, the Australian Light Horse were engaged in a battle that has been noted in the history books as the greatest charge by the Australian Light Horse. 

We continue back to Jerusalem where we visit the archaeological site of Herodium. Here we will see the remains of an impressive Palace built by King Herod as well as the Bathhouse, Synagogue and the tunnels carved by the Jewish rebels during the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 14THURSDAY 15 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.

Remainder of the day at leisure 

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 15FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER – JERUSALEM

This morning we proceed 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).

Following Mass in the Crusader Chapel, we return to Jerusalem where the remainder of the day is free to rest, pray, or return to your favourite places in the Old City.

Later this afternoon we hope to visit the Pontifical Institute – Notre Dame Jerusalem Centre to experience a unique presentation on the Shroud of Turin (optional) followed by a special farewell dinner.

Jerusalem overnight (BD)

DAY 16SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER – VIA MADABA / DEPART THE HOLY LAND

Following breakfast, we farewell the Holy Land as we cross the border back into Jordan and continue for a visit to St Georges Church in Madaba with its precious 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land comprised of more than two million pieces. After this some free time will be afforded to explore the fascinating township of Madaba, the ‘City of Mosaics’, taking the opportunity for lunch and to browse the local crafts.

We are then transferred to Amman Airport for our homebound flight connection. (B)

DAY 17SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER – IN TRANSIT

DAY 18MONDAY 19 DECEMBER – ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

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

Petra & Dead Sea Post-Tour Optional Extension

Petra Treasury, Jordan

DAY 16SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER – VIA MADABA TO PETRA

Following our visit to Madaba, we continue down the King’s Highway to the ancient trading city of Petra known as the ‘Red Rose City’. Here we are positioned in the biblical land of Edom (Judges 11:17-18).

Petra overnight (BD)

DAY 17SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER – PETRA

Enjoy an unforgettable guided walking tour this morning of the ruins from 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 to reveal the Treasury Building (Al Khasne) – 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.

Petra overnight (BD)

DAY 18MONDAY 19 DECEMBER – DEAD SEA

This morning travel north and arrive at the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea to check-in to your beautiful hotel located down on the shore. Here you will unwind and take the optional opportunity to float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities. The experience is quite uplifting!!

Dead Sea overnight (BD)

DAY 19TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER – DEPART JORDAN

After some free time, we are transferred back to Amman Airport for our homebound flight connections. (B)

DAY 20WEDNESDAY 21 DECEMBER – ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

Dates & Prices

PILGRIMAGE DETAILS
DEPARTS Fri 02 December 2022
RETURNS Mon 19 December 2022
TOUR COST AUD $7,890 Indicative Cost PP (twin share) *
SINGLE ROOM AUD $1,995 Supplement. Indicative Cost
PREPAID TIPS AUD $150 per person
OPTIONAL PETRA EXTENSION
STARTS Saturday 17 December 2022
FINISHES Wednesday 21 December 2022
TOUR COST AUD 1,490 Indicative Cost PP (twin share) **
SINGLE ROOM AUD $480 Supplement. Indicative Cost
PREPAID TIPS AUD $30 per person

* Costs remain indicative and subject to possible change in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases and minimum group size (35) contingencies. Single Rooms are limited, further supplement may apply if single room allocation exceeded.

** Costs remain indicative and subject to possible change in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases and minimum group size (15) contingencies. Single Rooms are limited, further supplement may apply if single room allocation exceeded.

Inclusions

  • Airfares: Economy class airfare from Brisbane to Amman and return (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations)
  • Accommodation & Meals: Based on moderate standard hotel & religious accommodation throughout with breakfast & dinner daily and 5 lunches
  • Deluxe Air- Conditioned Motor coach with driver
  • Professional English Speaking Local Guides
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary
  • Jordan Entry Visa
  • Porterage of 1 piece of luggage per person at hotels
  • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Tour Wallet

Exclusions

  • Other meals not listed
  • Australian Domestic Flights
  • Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable)
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance (Harvest will recommend a special group policy rate)
  • Prepaid Tipping (invoiced with other services)
  • “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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