Holy Land & Egypt

February 15-25, 2001

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Thursday, February 15 – Day 1

This evening, we depart from JFK Airport on board our overnight flight to Tel Aviv. We will be served complimentary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner and breakfast aloft.

Friday, February 16 – Day 2

We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport Tel Aviv and transfer to our hotel in Nazareth for dinner and overnight. We will gather for introductions of old and new friends.

Saturday, February 17 – Day 3

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By boat, we will cross the Sea of Galilee and view the surrounding mountains and sites of Jesus’ bountiful ministry. On the opposite side, we will first visit Capernaum, where we will see the remains of the village synagogue and the new church built atop St. Peter’s house. Next we will drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, where we will have time for personal meditation in the beautiful gardens followed by Mass. The hardy can make the short walk down to the sea. (Others can take the motor-coach.) Here we will visit Tabgha and the Franciscan Church of St. Peter’s Primacy, where Jesus made His appearance after the resurrection. Next we will see the Benedictine Basilica of the Loaves and Fishes. This afternoon, we will visit the Jordan, where we will renew our Baptismal promises. Return to our hotel in Nazareth for dinner and overnight.

Sunday, February 18 – Day 4

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This morning we visit Mary’s well and walk through the local bazaars. Here we will have personal prayer time at the Church of the Annunciation, where the Word became Flesh. We will drive to the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle, where we will celebrate Mass and renew our vocational and relationship commitments. We will continue south through the Jordan Valley, visiting Jericho and viewing the Mount of Temptation. We will travel along the exciting Wadi Qelt. We will drive to Bethany and visit Lazarus’ tomb. Next we will make our thrilling entry into Jerusalem before arriving at our hotel for dinner and overnight. We will gather this evening for sharing about the pilgrimage.

Monday, February 19 – Day 5

This morning after visiting the place of the Ascension and the Church of the Pater Noster, we view the beautiful City of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then walk down the hill to Dominus Flevit Chapel, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem and on to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we will have time for personal prayer and celebrate Mass at the Church of All Nations. This afternoon, we continue to the New City passing by the Knesset and Hebrew University. We will visit the Chagall Windows at the Hadassah Hospital. Next, we visit the Shrine of the Book to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and Yad Vashem. We then go to Ein Karem, where John the Baptist was born and Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth to utter the words of the Magnificat. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Tuesday, February 20 – Day 6

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Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem

Today we drive to Bethlehem, The House of Bread, to visit the Church of the Nativity that commemorates the birth of Christ. We will visit the Manger, Crusader’s Cloister, and the Grotto of St. Jerome, where we will celebrate the Christmas Mass. We enter the Old City through Zion Gate. Making our way to the Western (Wailing) Wall, we see the Cardo and the remains of Nehemiah’s wall. We visit the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Next we will visit the Church of St. Ann, Mary’s mother, and the Pool of Bethesda. We will visit Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, Arch of Ecce Homo, and the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. We will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. We will gather this evening for prayer and reflection.

Wednesday, February 21 – Day 7

Today we have an early departure from Jerusalem to Mt. Sinai by coach. We arrive at St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Here we will spend our night at the austere yet comfortable hotel including dinner.

Thursday, February 22 – Day 8

Very early this morning, the hardy will make the exciting hike up Mt. Sinai where the children of Israel received the Ten Commandments. Following sunrise, we will return to our hotel for Mass. Afterwards, we visit the famous art-filled Byzantine Monastery of St. Catherine, built in the sixth century on the pot where the Burning Bush, in which God first revealed himself Moses, was believed to have existed. The monastery is named after the Egyptian martyr whose body was found nearby. We depart from Mt. Sinai by coach and travel the Sahara crossing the Suez. We arrive in Cairo for dinner and overnight.

Friday, February 23 – Day 9

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This morning following mass at the Church of St. Joseph, we will drive to Giza, where at the end of the Pyramids Road the greatest of the wonders of the world dominates the horizon. We will drive around the three Pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mydkerinus, and then enter inside the Pyramid of Cheops, the largest of all three, climbing all the way up to the burial chamber. We continue to the Sphinx, the largest single block structure of all time, where we will visit the funerary Valley Temple to which the Sphinx stands guardian. Tonight we will have dinner and overnight at our hotel. We gather this evening for sharing about the pilgrimage.

Saturday, February 24 – Day 10

We begin our day with Mass at the Holy Family Church believed to be the home of the Holy Family during their Egyptian exile. We continue with our full day sightseeing tour of Cairo, including a comprehensive visit to the famous Cairo museum with its treasures of unearthed riches from Pharaonic days. The King Tut collection is possibly the most complete display of an Egyptian Tomb ever assembled. In the afternoon, we will visit the Citadel, the Mosque, and the El Kalili Bazaar, worth hours of walking, perusing and shopping. We have farewell dinner and overnight at our hotel in Cairo.

Sunday, February 25 – Day 11

This morning we leave Cairo to connect with our flight in Tel Aviv. We arrive at JFK this afternoon with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians will bring new meaning to our Scripture reading and celebration of Mass.