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Sample Itinerary for a Catholic Pilgrimage
to the Holy Land

Above is a representation of a symbol you will see quite often in the Holy Land;
It is the Jerusalem or Crusaders' Cross, the official symbol of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The Custody has been entrusted with the care and maintenance of all Catholic sites in the Holy Land since 1220, when St. Francis first received permission from the Turkish Sultan to establish safe routes of passage to the major pilgrimage sites.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart your country and proceed to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Day 2 - Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, where our representative will greet you and provide instructions about the remainder of your trip in the Holy Land. Proceed to the Tel Aviv area for an overnight stay.

Aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima, June 1998. Copyright 1998 by Michael J. Spires. All rights reserved.

Day 3 - Drive along the coast to Caesarea where Paul was imprisoned and Cornelius was baptized. Visit the Roman amphitheatre, the aqueduct, and the Crusader ruins. Drive via Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon) to Nazareth. Visit the magnificent Basilica of the Annunciation built on top of the Virgin Mary's house. Overnight stay in Galilee.

Fourth-century mosaic in front of the altar at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves, Tabgha. Copyright 1998 by Michael J. Spires. All rights reserved.

Day 4 - Tour the Sea of Galilee. Visit Capernaum and Simon Peter's house, the Mount of the Beatitudes, and Tabgha the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and enjoy a lunch of St. Peter's fish in Tiberias. Later, walk along the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized and renew your baptismal promises.Overnight stay in Galilee.

Day 5 - Drive south through the beautiful Jordan Valley and visit the newly excavated Beth Shean, the Roman capital of Palestine. Visit Jericho and view the tel holding the ruins of the most ancient city on earth. Visit Zacchaeus' tree, Elisha's spring, and the Mount of the Temptation. Ascend to Jerusalem for an overnight stay.

The Star of Bethlehem ("Hic Verbum caro factum est"), in the crypt of the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem.

Day 6 - In Jerusalem we visit the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, the room of the Last Supper, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu ("the cock-crowing"), built over the palace of the high priest Caiaphas. Drive to Bethlehem to visit the ancient Church of the Nativity, Manger Square, and view the beautiful Shepherds' Field. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 7 - Optional excursion to Masada, site of the Zealots' last stand against the Romans following the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Later, drive to En Gedi to experience the salty waters of the Dead Sea. Continue our journey to the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Back to Jerusalem for an overnight stay.

Palm Sunday procession proceeds down the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) in Jerusalem.

Day 8 - Walk into the Old City of Jerusalem. Visit the various quarters and the underground excavations. See the Temple ruins and the new Citadel Museum amidst the buildings of old Jerusalem. Later, continue along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On to Mount Zion to see David's Tomb, the Room of the Last Supper, and Dormition Abbey. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 9 - A free day. Your guide will direct you to places you may visit at your own pace, or do your last shopping. An afternoon drive to Jaffa, to visit St. Peter's Church and the house of Simon the Tanner. Enjoy a farewell dinner and transfer to the airport for our late flight back to the United States.

Day 10 - Arrival back in your home.

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