Join us as we travel through the Holy Land, visiting sites related to Our Lord’s life and the history of the early Catholic Church.
In the spring of 2023, Ken Hensley and Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson will be leading a group on pilgrimage through the Holy Land.
The Holy Land has often been referred to as the “Fifth Gospel.” And it’s true. The stories of the Gospels that most of us have heard all our lives come alive in a new way once you have seen the places where these stories took place. We begin our pilgrimage next April on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and after visiting the ancient cities of Joppa and Caesarea, where St. Paul was imprisoned for two years, and Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenged the false prophets of Baal, we continue to explore the most important sites associated with Our Lord’s life, ministry, death and resurrection. These include Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi, the Mount of Transfiguration, Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, and the site of Our Lord’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. We will also visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and Masada, where the Jews made their desperate last stand in the first-century Jewish-Roman War. We will walk the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem and celebrate Mass in some of the most important and beautiful churches in the Holy Land. Finally, we will walk the Via Dolorosa in the steps of Our Lord in his passion. Please consider joining us! It will be a wonderful time for us to share our stories and forge life-long friendships as we experience the power of walking where Jesus walked and learning about his life up close.
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, P.A.
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Day 1 – Depart USA
Depart USA on an overnight flight to Israel.
Day 2 – Arrive in Israel | Tel Aviv
On arrival in Israel, we meet our Tour Guide and proceed to our hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv. Check-in and free time to relax or walk on the beach before our Welcome Dinner. (D)
Day 3 – Joppa | Caesarea | Muhraqa | Tiberias
After breakfast at the hotel, we begin our pilgrimage with a visit to St. Peter’s Church in nearby Joppa, where St. Peter raised the disciple Tabitha from the dead, and where the prophet Jonah, centuries earlier, boarded a ship to flee from the Lord. From here, we travel north along the Mediterranean to Caesarea Maritima to explore the magnificent Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader ruins of the city where St. Paul was imprisoned for two years and where St. Peter baptized the first gentile converts to Christianity, the Roman centurion Cornelius and his family. After lunch, we ascend the Carmel Mountain Range, arriving at the site of Muhraqa, where Elijah confronted the 450 prophets of Baal. We continue on to Stella Maris on Mt. Carmel, the largest monastery of the Carmelite Order. Here we visit the Cave of Elijah before traveling on to the city of Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, our home for the next four nights. Dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Day 4 – Nazareth | Cana | Tiberias
This morning we drive to Nazareth, the site of Mary’s home and the town where Jesus lived as a child, worked with St. Joseph, and grew to manhood. We celebrate Mass at the Church of the Annunciation built over the traditional site of Mary’s home, where the words of the Angel Gabriel were first spoken: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” We will also visit the nearby Church of St. Joseph’s Workshop. After lunch, we continue to the village of Cana where Our Lord performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. Here we remember His Blessed Mother’s words, “Do whatever He tells you.” We return to Tiberias for free time, dinner, and overnight. (B, D)
Day 5 – Mount of Beatitudes | Caesarea Philippi | Tabgha | Peter’s Primacy
After breakfast, we drive to the Mt. of Beatitudes for Mass and a time of reflection. We continue from there to Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus spoke those historic words, “You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church.” We drive through the Golan Heights to view the Syrian border. Lunch at the Rin Lebanese Druze Restaurant in a Druze Village in Mesada is included, before returning to Galilee to Visit Tabgha, Where Jesus Multiplied the loaves and fishes, and the site of Peter’s Primacy, where Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B, D)
Day 6 – Capernaum | Sea of Galilee | Magdala
We begin today by visiting the archaeological site of the city of Caperaum, where Jesus began his Galilean ministry, called many of his disciples, and performed many miracles. Here we celebrate Mass, see the site of Simon Peter’s home and stand in the first-century synagogue where Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.” After lunch at St. Peter’s Fish, we take a brief excursion on the Sea of Galilee followed by a visit to the Magdala Center to see one of the best-preserved first-century synagogues in all of Israel. Return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and relaxation. (B, D)
Day 7 – Mount Tabor | Beit She’an | Jerusalem
Today we begin our journey with Jesus to Jerusalem where He is condemned, crucified, and is raised from the dead. We begin that journey as Jesus did, with a trip to Mount Tabor where Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, and John, and they glimpse a sign of his glory before witnessing His passion and death. Following Mass on Mount Tabor, we set out toward Jerusalem, stopping to walk the ancient Roman ruins of Beit She’an near Mount Gilboa, where Saul and his son Jonathan died in battle with the Philistines. We will also visit the archaeological site of the ancient city of Jericho, where walls dating to the time of Joshua and before have been uncovered. We continue past the Mount of Temptation and catch our first sight of Jerusalem, where we will stop to take pictures before heading to our hotel just outside the walls of the Old City, where we will make our home for the final five nights of our pilgrimage. (B, D)
Day 8 – Shepherd’s Field | Bethlehem
After breakfast, we travel to the Shepherds’ Field for Mass in the Shepherds’ Cave. We then enter the town of Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity built over the traditional site of Our Lord’s birth. After lunch, we will visit the Olive Wood store where we can do some shopping to support local Palestinian Christians. Tonight, we enjoy a special dinner in Bethlehem at a Bedouin Tent restaurant, complete with traditional dancing. Overnight in Jerusalem. (B, D)
Day 9 – Mount of Olives | Garden of Gethsemane | Mount Zion
We begin this morning at the top of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Walking down the slope we visit the Church of Pater Noster as well as the Dominus Flevit Church, marking when Jesus wept over the city. We then enter the Garden of Gethsemane where we will visit the Church of All Nations before celebrating Mass in the Gethsemane Grotto dedicated to Mary. After lunch, we travel across the Kidron Valley to Mount Zion to visit the traditional site of the Upper Room and the Dormition Abbey Church, which honors the passage of Our Lady into heaven. We end our day at the Church of St. Peter Gallicantu, built over the Caiaphas’ house where Jesus was held in the dungeon the night of his arrest and where St. Peter denied Our Lord three times. (B, D)
Day 10 – Qumran | Masada | Dead Sea
Today we take an excursion to Qumran and the site of the ancient Jewish sect of the Essenes where we will hear about the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and see some of the caves in which the scrolls were discovered. From here we travel south to visit the fortress of Masada, situated on top of a high plateau, the site of one of Herod’s palaces and of the final tragic episode in the first-century Jewish-Roman War. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada in A.D. 73-74 ended with the mass suicide of the 960 Jews hiding out there. On our way back to Jerusalem we stop at the Dead Sea, where those who wish can take a few moments to float in the saltiest sea on earth. Free time, dinner, and overnight in Jerusalem. (B, D)
Day 11 – Via Dolorosa | Holy Sepulchre | Temple Mount
We begin the last full day of our pilgrimage with a visit to St. Stephen’s Gate and the Church of St. Anne, where we will celebrate Mass. After visiting the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralytic, we will walk the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, which ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and raised from the dead. After lunch in the Old City, we will explore the Jewish Quarter, visit the Wailing Wall, and if possible the Temple Mount, the site of the ancient Jewish Temple, now occupied by two of the most important Muslim shrines, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Enjoy the remaining portion of the day to relax, shop or walk in the Old City. (B, D)
Day 12 – Depart for USA
NOTE: While no changes to this itinerary are anticipated, alterations may become necessary due to pending schedule confirmations, and/or, due to changes beyond our control.
Cost including airfare from EWR:
$ 5,289 per person, discounted for Cash/Check payment, based on 40 participants, & double occupancy. We gladly accept credit cards for the full price of $5,501 per person, based on 40 participants, & double occupancy.
For those pilgrims who wish to arrange their own international airfare, we have a LAND ONLY price of $4,399 per person Cash/Check; $4,575 per person with Credit Card. Please discuss this option with Maggie McDaniel before booking your international air! firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-290-8782
- Round trip air from Newark, NJ (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV)
- 10 Nights’ accommodations
- Breakfast / Dinner daily + 2 Lunches
- English-speaking tour escort/guides throughout
- Private motorcoach throughout
- Transfers to and from all international airports for those on group air
- Entrance fees as noted in itinerary
- All tips to tour escorts, guides and drivers
- Private Mass arrangements daily (All locations noted pending confirmation)
- Entrance fees as noted in itinerary
- Taxes and fuel surcharge (subject to increase 30 days prior to departure)
- Optional travel insurance (strongly recommended) NOTE: At the present, Israel is requiring insurance to cover COVID-19. We do not know if this will still be the case when this group travels.
- Transportation to Newark Airport
- Lunches, except where noted & beverages w/meals
- Items of personal nature
- Baggage fees imposed by airlines
- Any items not specifically mentioned
- Limited single rooms: $1,450 Cash/Ck | Credit Card: $1,508 (please call for availability )
- Any/all COVID test(s) that may be required by airlines, departing/arriving country. This may or may not be applicable when our group travels.
For additional information about the content of the tour, you may contact Ken Hensley at email@example.com. For additional information about flights, schedules, payment, amenities/accessibility, and other logistical issues, you may contact Maggie McDaniel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-290-8782.