St Charles Borromeo Parish Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
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 Nativity in Bethlehem to his Passion on Calvary. Be deeply moved as we behold with our eyes what our minds for so long attempted to imagine.
Dead Sea (2 Nights) / Masada / Jericho / Bethlehem (2) / Nazareth / Cana / Sea of Galilee (3) / Caesarea Philippi / Mt Tabor / Mt Carmel / Haifa / Jerusalem (4) / Taybeh / Bethany. Pre Tour Option: Wonders of Petra (2 nights)
Theme: Glimpsing the Promised Land
Arrive today into Jordan’s capital Amman. Travel west by coach to ascend Biblical Mt Nebo for a spectacular opening 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). Also see the stunning collection of Byzantine mosaics preserved within the shrine.
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 as we anticipate the blessings to come in the days that follow.
We continue to our hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. Here we will unwind and take the ideal opportunity to float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities.
Mass Setting: Memorial of Moses Chapel, Mt Nebo Dead Sea overnight (D)
Theme: Baptism of Love
In the morning we make a visit to Bethany Beyond the Jordan, one of the most recent archaeological and religious discoveries. The five springs here form a tributary of the Jordan River and are believed to be the Baptismal site of Jesus by John the Baptist. Here we remember the powerful commission from the Fatherly voice of Heaven: ‘This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’ (Mt 3:17). So authentic is this site that Pope Francis chose this as an essential place to visit on his last pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Travel along the Biblical Kings Highway to 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 return to our Dead Sea hotel to reflect on our morning and to rest up for the days of pilgrimage that lie ahead.
Mass Setting: Outdoor Altar at Bethany Beyond the Jordan Dead Sea overnight (BD)
Theme: Travellers from the East
This morning we farewell Jordan and cross over the border into the Holy Land of Israel, affectionately known by Christians as the land of the fifth Gospel.
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.
Continue on to Jericho the ‘City of Palms’ and said to be the oldest inhabited city in the world dating back to the first hunter-gatherers around 9000 BC.
Before departing Jericho, we stop at the famous Sycamore tree used to commemorate the story of the tax collector Zacchaeus who climbed the tree to see Jesus, only to be singled out above the crowds. (Lk 19:1-10).
Across the valley we view the Mt of Temptation, where Christ was tempted by the devil during his 40 day fast.
Finally, we arrive into Bethlehem, the City of David and the birthplace of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ where we literally begin our journey in the Footsteps of Jesus.
Mass Setting: Church of the Good Shepherd, Jericho Bethlehem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Birth of Jesus
We firstly travel out to Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and Church 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’ – ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’ (Lk 1:46). From here we come to the Church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, built over a natural grotto to the left of the altar, identified as his actual birthplace.
Returning to Bethlehem, we enjoy a fascinating visit to Bethlehem University to engage with local students in discussion before visiting the beautiful chapel and Cultural Heritage Centre within the grounds. To cap off our visit, the students from the Hotel Management Institute will prepare and host a special home cooked meal for lunch.
Continue to Shepherd’s Field to celebrate Mass in a local cave to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas 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.
Visit the adjacent Cave of St Jerome where he spent 30 years translating the Scriptures.
Prepare to enjoy tonight our special Breaking the Bread Experience as we enter the homes of local Christians for fellowship and to share in a delicious home-cooked Arabic meal.
Mass Setting: Shepherd’s Field Bethlehem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Formative Years of Jesus
We farewell Bethlehem this morning and journey directly north to Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ childhood. Firstly come to nearby 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 first-century meal in a stone-dining area typical of the days of Christ.
Back in Nazareth township, enter inside the Basilica of the Annunciation where a traditional cave becomes the focal point as
we ponder Mary’s response “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 before entering 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” …
Travel 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 2:1-11). Here, married couples may take the opportunity to renew their wedding vows, and single and widowed pilgrims will receive a special blessing.
Journey east to Tiberias on the shores of Lake Galilee … “Go to Galilee and you will find him there” (Mt 28:7).
Mass Setting: Basilica of the Annunciation Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)
Theme: Galilee Encounters with Jesus
Arise before dawn this morning and ascend to the majestic summit of historic Mt Arbel to marvel at the amazing sunrise views over the Golan Heights and the full panorama of Lake Galilee.
View 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 ancient Jesus Trail* frequented by Our Lord in his many travels between Nazareth and Capernaum. This well-worn shepherd’s path offers a rare and genuine experience for able bodied pilgrims to prayerfully encounter the actual footsteps of Jesus down through the rustic pass between the mountains. *Weather and personal fitness dependent
After breakfast at the hotel, we 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.’ Down by the shore of Lake Galilee we will celebrate an outdoor Mass here we will never forget.
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.
Rise then to the Mount of Beatitudes for a beautiful Mass here in the tranquil gardens to ponder Jesus’ message of blessedness in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1–12).
Mass Setting: Church of the Primacy of Peter Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)
Theme: The Public Ministry of Jesus
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, see the 1st century ‘Jesus boat’ painstakingly raised and restored from the muddy lakebed in 1986.
After Mass, we enjoy our special ‘St Peter’s fish’ lunch.
Continue onto Capernaum, the once fishing village of the first apostles Peter, Andrew, James & John which also became the hometown of Jesus and the scene of many of His miracles.
Return to our hotel for a rest before dinner.
Mass Setting: Afloat Lake Galilee
Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)
Theme: Mountains of the Lord
We begin our day ascending by taxis up the narrow winding road leading to the majestic summit of Mt Tabor. Here Our Lord’s divinity shone forth in the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1- 2). After our private Mass in this breathtaking setting we will understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’.
Continue west to the 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 marginalised members of the Haifa community.
Finally, we journey south on and up to Jerusalem – the City of our God.
Mass Setting: Mt Tabor Jerusalem overnight (BLD)
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). Enjoy a panoramic view and photographic opportunity over the city. 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 move to the private garden for a secluded time of prayer and reflection surrounded by ancient olive trees.
From here we set out by coach across town to the Israel Museum for a lunch break. Continue then on a fascinating outdoor orientation viewing of the Second Temple Scale Model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. In the adjacent Shrine of the Book Museum we view the Dead Sea Scrolls with our own eyes.
Finally, today we come to Mt Zion to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas and into the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu commemorating Peter’s triple denial of Jesus. On its roof rises a golden rooster atop a black cross recalling Christ’s prophecy that Peter would deny him three times ‘before the cock crows’.
Mass Setting: Dominus Flevit Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: Solidarity & Peace
This morning we travel to Bethany, a favourite place of rest and refuge for Jesus. Here too we relive the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (Jn 11:1-44).
We then continue 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 Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Melkite communities.
Our fascinating time here will begin in the Church of St George. This Byzantine Church was 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. Visit the local Taybeh Brewery which services to bring a sustainable livelihood to this vulnerable community. Sit down then to a sumptuous meal served by the local Order of Nuns. Before departure we take the opportunity to purchase a dove-shaped Taybeh Peace Lamp in solidarity with all peoples of the Holy Land.
Return to Jerusalem for a time of rest.
Before dinner we gather 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 inspire us deeply.
Mass Setting: Church of St Lazarus, BethanyJerusalem overnight (BLD)
Theme: Death, Resurrection & Ascension of Jesus
We rise at dawn and return to the Old City to commence our Stations of the Cross following in Our Lord’s footsteps along the actual Via Dolorosa. We 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. After Mass here 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 at our hotel, continue 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).
We then return up to the Mt of Olives to the Chapel of the Ascension which is believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. A befitting end to our chronological pilgrimage in His footsteps as we recall Jesus’ Great Commission to the eleven disciples: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” – Mt 28:18
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: Holy Sepulchre – Chapel of the Apparition Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Ascension of Jesus
We farewell Jerusalem this morning as we are taken to Tel Aviv airport for our homebound or ongoing flight connections. (B)
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
|Departs||Sunday 29 October 2023|
|Finishes||Saturday 11 November 2023|
|Air & Tour Cost||AUD $8990* Per Person Twin Share|
|Single Room||AUD $2590 Supplement|
|Prepaid Tips||AUD $14 PPPD**|
|BOOKINGS CLOSED – ON REQUEST|
|WONDERS OF JORDAN OPTIONAL EXTENSION|
|Starts||Commences Amman Saturday 28 October (Flight from Australia Friday 27 October)|
|Finishes||Amman Monday 30 October 2023|
|Cost Add-On||AUD $1390 (twin share) †|
|Single Room||AUD $560 Supplement|
|Prepaid Tips||AUD $14 PPPD**|
|† Includes: Deluxe Coach / Fully Escorted / Superior Hotel / Breakfasts & Dinners Daily / Entrances & Sightseeing. Minimum Group Size applies.|
* Costs are based on prices as at February 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.
** Per Person Per Day
Arrive into Amman and travel south along the Biblical Kings Highway to the magnificent ancient trading city of Petra known as the ‘Red Rose City’ and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Here we are positioned in the biblical land of Edom (Judges 11:17-18) for the next two nights.
Mass Setting: At Hotel, before dinner
Petra overnight (D)
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 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.
Mass Setting: Byzantine Church ruins inside Petra OR at hotel before dinner
Petra overnight (BD)
This morning we will be transferred to Amman where will meet the arriving group. (BD)
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.”