|Starts||3 September 2020|
|Finishes||19 September 2020|
|Air & Tour||AUD $8,490 twin share *|
|Single Room||AUD $1,990 Supplement|
|Prepaid Tips||$225 per person|
|Deposit||$800 non-refundable deposit|
|Download Flyer||BOOK NOW|
|* Prices are based on a minimum group size of 20 paying pilgrims, calculated as at August 2019. Prices remain subject to possible changes in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases or minimum group size contingencies.|
|Starts||Fri 18 September 2020|
|Finishes||Wed 23 September 2020|
|Cost Add-On||AUD $2,390 (twin share) †|
|Single Room||AUD $590 Supplement|
|Prepaid Tips||AUD $60 per person|
|† Based on minimum 10 participants. Gratuities to be prepaid prior to departure.|
|AIRFARES: Economy class airfare (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations). ACCOMMODATION & MEALS :Based on moderate 4 star hotels & religious accommodation throughout with breakfast & dinner daily and 2 lunches. MISCELLANEOUS INCLUSIONS: Deluxe Air-Conditioned Motor coach with driver • Full Time local Guide • Jordan Visa • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary • porterage of 1 piece of luggage per person at hotels • Mass daily. NOT INCLUDED: Other Visas (if applicable) • Prepaid Tipping • Australian Domestic Flights • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance|
Join Father Reginaldo Lavilla and Mary, Queen of the Family Parish on a Holy Land Pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan. Optional extension to Oberammergau.
17 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS: Dead Sea (2 nights) • Madaba • Petra (2) • Bethlehem (2) • Nazareth • Cana • Sea of Galilee (3) • Haifa • Jericho • Jerusalem (5) • Emmaus • Masada. Optional Oberammergau Passion Play Extension (3 nights).
This morning we fly into Amman. We will be met and transferred west by coach to ascend Biblical Mt Nebo, the site where the Old Testament opened its door to the land of the New as 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. Continue to our hotel on the shores of the intriguing Dead Sea (Jordan side). Relax this afternoon or take a float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities.
Dead Sea overnight
Today 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 will celebrate Mass and renew our Baptismal vows as 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). Free afternoon back at our Dead Sea resort.
Dead Sea overnight
After breakfast we depart the Dead Sea, travelling east 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. Our journey takes us south along the King’s Highway through the Jordanian Desert. En route to Petra, we make a stop at Wadi Mujib, known as the ‘Jordanian Grand Canyon’. Here we will enjoy a wonderful photographic opportunity as we gaze at the amazing gorges below that make up part of the Jordan valley trekked by John the Baptist. Continue down 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.
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 up 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.
Transfer to the Allenby bridge border to cross over into the Holy Land of Israel, affectionately known as the land of the fifth Gospel. Travel by coach to Bethlehem, the City of David and the birthplace of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
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 St John the Baptist, built over a natural grotto identified as the saint’s 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). Our day will culminate at the Church of the Nativity, the oldest complete church in the Christian world (6th century) and birthplace of Jesus. 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. The star’s inscription reads in Latin: Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus Est (Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born). Finally we come to St Jerome’s Cave where in 386 AD the saint spent 30 years translating the scriptures from Hebrew into Greek and Latin producing the first vernacular version of the Bible!
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 parablerich 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. 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).
Sea of Galilee overnight
Arise and set out on a spectacular day of pilgrimage as we set off to 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 he worshipped and taught in the synagogue where he promised the Eucharist by saying: ‘I am the bread of life … unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you’ (John 6:48-53). Continue on to Nof Ginosar Kibbutz, within which is preserved the 1st century ‘Jesus boat’ painstakingly raised and restored from the muddy lakebed in 1986. Set off from here on a traditional sailing vessel for a spectacular Harvest highlight – a Private Mass in the centre of Lake Galilee. Here we will float in quiet tranquillity and reflect upon the miracles of Jesus calming the storm and appearing to the apostles walking on this very water. Continue back to the shore to enjoy a traditional ‘St Peter’s fish’ lunch to commemorate our Galilee experience. Visit Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mt 14:20) and pray within the 4th century church displaying Byzantine mosaics considered to be some of the best in the Holy Land. Beneath the altar is the rock believed to be where Jesus placed the loaves and fish before blessing them. Finally we come to 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’.
Sea of Galilee overnight
We begin our day at the Mount of Beatitudes for Mass as we take time in this special place to ponder Jesus’ message of happiness – the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1–12). Surrounded by prayerful gardens overlooking the north western shore of Lake Galilee, the eight sides of the Church represent the eight beatitudes given by Jesus. Travel west to Haifa, the largest city in Northern Israel. Here the Mediterranean Sea wraps around three sides of Haifa with intoxicating blue and gold beaches. In this region we come to 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 make our way to 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. Here we will share lunch and hear an inspired talk about this powerful ministry to rehabilitate released prisoners. Finally we come 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 some time to reflect in this breathtaking setting we will better understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’. Return to Tiberias for rest before dinner.
Sea of Galilee overnight
Prepare for yet another pilgrim highlight this morning as we 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”. In this picturesque setting, we will celebrate Mass by the shore before a picnic breakfast. We journey south along the Jordan Valley 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. Stop by 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. Travelling west through the dry rocky landscape of the Judean Desert there are enough stones to illustrate Satan’s words “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves” (Mt 4:3). Ascend to the spectacular lookout as we view the St George’s Monastery – a cliff hanging 5th century complex carved into a sheer rock wall and still occupied today. Travel along the Jericho Road as we remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and journey through desert hills. Finally we journey south on and up to Jerusalem – the City of our God. To deepen our experience and understanding of the Jewish heritage, we will partake tonight in a Sabbath Experience Meal in a local Jewish home. Here we will ‘Taste & See’ the Jewish culture and how it relates to Christian faith while joining in with traditional prayers, blessings and songs with locals prior to a delicious Middle Eastern Sabbath Meal.
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). Whilst on Mt of Olives we will also see the Ascension Church 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. 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.
We ascend Mt Zion this morning, described by the psalmist as ‘holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, the joy of all the earth’ (Ps 48). First stop is 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’. Enter the Cenacle room of the Last Supper (Upper Room) where we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist and the later descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. After time here to sit and reflect we will continue to the Church of the Dormition identified as the place where the Virgin Mary died or ‘fell asleep’ as the name suggests. We then come to the vicinity of the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall (once known as the Wailing Wall). Continue to the Church of St Anne, said to be built over the birthplace of the Virgin Mary. Continue to the adjacent Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2–9). Enjoy some free time this afternoon to pray, rest or explore the Old City at your own pace. Before dinner we will meet with representatives from the Bereaved Families Forum in our hotel meeting room. Here we will take the opportunity to listen to the courageous stories of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian family members as they share their extraordinary journey of loss on the path of true reconciliation.
Arise very early this morning as we return to the Old City of Jerusalem 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. The glass panels reveal the natural rock below which we may come to touch with our pilgrim hands. 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 re-enter the Old City precinct to the Lithostrotos (pavement) in the Ecce Homo convent and the Flagellation and Condemnation Chapels which so vividly commemorate the last hours of Jesus’ life. Continue this morning to Emmaus (Abu Gosh) 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). We enter here through the gardens of this Benedictine church built by the Crusaders and take time to reflect with gratitude on the Lord’s companionship with us along the road of our past days of pilgrimage.
Journey 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 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. Return to Jerusalem to enjoy some free time this afternoon. Before dinner we experience the spectacular Holy Shroud Exhibit in the Notre Dame Centre where pilgrims will gain a deeper understanding of Christ’s suffering and resurrection, while viewing a full size replica of the Holy Shroud housed in Turin. For our final night together, we will enjoy a Special Celebration Dinner with spectacular views over all of Jerusalem.
Today we will cross the border back in to Jordan and continue to Amman airport for our homebound flight connections. OR join optional Oberammergau Passion Play Extension (below)
We embark on our travel day as we are transferred to Tel Aviv airport for our flight connections to Germany. On arrival at Munich airport we will be transferred to our hotel for check-in.
Today we will be transferred to the village of Oberammergau, home to the world renowned Passion Play.
Every ten years affords pilgrims the great privilege of witnessing the world renowned Passion Play of Oberammergau. For over 300 years this picturesque village in the Bavarian Alps has reenacted the passion of Jesus, and people of every religious denomination have been drawn to this cherished spectacle.
We will check in to our accommodation.
Oberammergau region overnight
The history of the Oberammergau Passion Play begins in 1633. During the Thirty Years’ War, after much suffering and also many deaths caused by the plague, the surviving population of Oberammergau vowed that they would perform the “play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” every ten years if they were spared from extinction. At Whitsun in 1634 they kept their promise for the first time. As early as the middle of the 18th Century spectators came to Oberammergau from all parts of Germany, attracted by the great power and mystique of the play. In 2020 the village will perform the play for the 42nd time, maintaining the continuity of this unique world-famous event. Over 2000 participants bring the story of Jesus of Nazareth to the ears and eyes of the audience in a five-hour presentation on the imposing open-air stage. Almost half of the inhabitants of Oberammergau enact with great devotion the story of Jesus, whose message gives billions of people hope and strength. The play covers the period of Jesus entering Jerusalem and continues up to his death on the Cross and his resurrection. Today is the highlight of our pilgrimage when we attend the Passion Play.
Oberammergau region overnight
We return to Munich airport today for our homebound flight connections.