The Holy Land: Ancient and New

A Pilgrimage with Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL – February 14 to 23, 2014

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Temple Mount, Jerusalem


Friday, February 14 – Day 1

This afternoon we depart from Newark airport on our overnight flight to Tel Aviv.

Saturday, February 15 – Day 2

TIBERIAS – We arrive in Tel Aviv and visit Caesarea Maritima, the city built by Herod the Great, and see the Roman Amphitheatre, the Hippodrome, Hes Palace, and the Crusaders’ Walls. St. Paul was imprisoned here for 2 years and here Peter baptized Cornelius the gentile and all his household (Acts 10). After dinner in Tiberias, we gather briefly for prayer and introductions of old and new friends.

Sunday, February 16 – Day 3

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Mount of Beatitudes /Sea of Galilee

GALILEE – By boat, we cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum and see the remains of the village synagogue where Jesus taught. We drive to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, stop at Tabgha, the traditional site of the calling of the apostles and the feeding of the 5,000, and then visit the Church of the Loaves and Fishes (Luke 9:10-17). We see Chorazin, where Jesus performed “mighty works” which were rejected (Matt. 11:21). We have dinner and overnight in Tiberias.

Monday, February 17 – Day 4

IBILLIN – MT. CARMEL – NAZARETH – In Ibillin, we meet Elias Chacour (if available), the Archbishop of all Galilee, noted for his efforts to promote reconciliation between Arabs and Israelis. We travel to Haifa and ascend Mt. Carmel to visit the Monastery and Church of Stella Maris built over the cave where the prophet Elijah confronted the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:25). At Nazareth, we visit the Church of the Annunciation built over the house where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and walk through the town bazaar. We gather after dinner in Jerusalem for reflection on the pilgrimage.

Tuesday, February 18 – Day 5

BETHLEHEM – We cross the border into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, the oldest continuously functioning church in the world. We meet a representative of the Christian Peacemaker Team or teachers and students at Bethlehem University to hear about their lives. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, February 19 – Day 6

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Dead Sea

JERICHO – DEAD SEA – We visit Neve Shalom kibbutz, a village established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs engaged in educational work for peace. In the Jordan Valley, we see the ruins of ancient Jericho conquered by Joshua (Josh. 6:1,2,20). We drive through the Judean wilderness to the excavations at Qumran, the home of the Essenes, connected with John the Baptist and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Weather permitting, we take a quick dip in the salt and mineral waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. We return to Jerusalem for dinner and reflection on the pilgrimage.

Thursday, February 20 – Day 7

BETHANY – JERUSALEM – We visit Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus (John 11:1) where Jesus often stayed. In Jerusalem we enjoy a remarkable view of the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives. We view the Kidron Valley as we walk the Palm Sunday Road; pray in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-44); stand in the Upper Room of the Last Supper (Mark 14:12-26); and stop at St. Peter in Gallicantu (the Cock Crows) where Jesus was held in the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Friday, February 21 – Day 8

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Ein Karem, Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Today we visit the Southern Wall Excavations, Teaching Steps, the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-31), the Church of St. Anne, and Herod’s Antonia Fortress (Lithostratos) where Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:1-11). We walk the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We conclude at Sabeel, a Christian Liberation Theology Center. After dinner, we meet for reflection on the pilgrimage.

Saturday, February 22 – Day 9

JERUSALEM – We visit Ein Karim where John the Baptist was born and the Visitation Church where Mary visited Elizabeth and spoke the Magnificat. We go to Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. After dinner, we meet for our final gathering.

Sunday, February 23 – Day 10

USA – We leave the Holy Land and arrive in the U.S., knowing that the Scriptures and our celebrations of the Eucharist will have new meaning.