MAY 19-30, 2022
Led by Fr. Jason Prati
”The word “pilgrim,” derived from the Latin peregrinum, conveys the idea of wandering over a distance, but it is not just aimless wandering. It is a journey with a purpose, and that purpose is to honor God.
A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a special time of spiritual journey for Christians. It is a time when we recommit ourselves to living a Christian life as a life of pilgrimage. For us, going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land is an especially appropriate way to come to know the land where Jesus was born, where he preached and healed, suffered, died and rose again. Just as the Gospels are continued in the Book of Acts, so too pilgrimages are made complete by encounters with the living Church in the Holy Land. The Church of Jerusalem was the Mother Church for us all. It was from Jerusalem that the apostles went forth to spread the Gospel. It was to the Church in Jerusalem that other early communities of faith looked for guidance. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land are also occasions to build solidarity between American pilgrims and the Church in the Holy Land whose center today is Jerusalem.
This Holy Land pilgrimage is a unique religious undertaking. Pilgrims are changed by the experience. Hearts and minds transformed for ever, pilgrims have returned home with a new sense of their Christian calling to take up a new way of life. I too was transformed on my trip to the Holy Land walking in the footsteps of the Messiah. I encourage you to join us in this visit to the Holy Land in the spirit of true pilgrims, to walk prayerfully and devoutly in the steps of our Lord and with openness to the movement of the Spirit of Jesus in your life. Come and pilgrimage with us in this awesome time of grace!
- All airport departure & passenger taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Entrance fees & local government taxes
- English speaking guides throughout tour
- Modern air-conditioned tour buses
- Single room supplement
- Travel insurance
- Any item of a personal nature
Day 1: THURSDAY, MAY 19
We meet in the morning at Columbus Airport for our short flight to Toronto, where we will have time to purchase lunch as we change planes. Our flight to Tel Aviv takes off at 4.30 pm and dinner will be served on board as we cross the Atlantic.
Day 2: friday, may 20
We land in Israel mid morning, where we will be met on arrival and driven north to the Galilee breaking for lunch en route. After lunch we drive to the summit of Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration. Finally we continue to our lakeside guest house and check in. This will be our home for the next three nights. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3: saturday, may 21
Today we will devote ourselves to the events of Jesus’ ministry of healing and teaching around the home he chose in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. We will visit Capernaum itself, as well as sites associated with the Beatitudes, the commissioning of Peter, and the feeding of the Five Thousand. We will go out in a boat on the lake, and we will visit the newly-excavated First Century synagogue in Magdala, the home town of ‘the apostle to the apostles’, Mary Magdalene.
Day 4: Sunday, may 22
This morning we will make the short journey to Nazareth to join with the local Episcopal community in its celebration of the Eucharist in the town that saw the first announcement of the Good News. After lunch we will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over what is believed to be the house in which the Holy Family lived, as well as nearby Cana, where Jesus performed his first sign. We close the day with a visit to Sepphoris, biblical Zippori, believed to be the birthplace of Mary and it is quite possible that Joseph met Mary whilst working here. Sepphoris was a major Roman and Byzantine city with paved colonnaded streets, grand villas, synagogues and churches. We will return to our guest house in time to relax before dinner.
Day 5: MONDAY, MAY 23
Leaving the beauty and tranquility of the Galilee, we will journey through the heart of the West Bank to the major Palestinian city of Nablus. We will see the work of St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, providing significant medical care in the heart of the city, and visit Jacob’s Well, which was already a place of pilgrimage in the time of Jesus. After lunch we come to the Jordan River to renew our Baptismal Covenant. From here we make our way to Bethlehem, stopping in the town of Bethany, where Jesus would stay in the home of his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Finally, we will arrive in the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, situated behind the 27 foot high Separation Wall, where we will sleep for the next two nights.
Day 6: Tuesday, May 24
Today will be devoted to discovering how the gift of abundant life promised in the Incarnation is lived out in Bethlehem. We will visit the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds’ Fields, as well as two heart-warming examples of Christian mission in action. At the St Vincent Crèche we will see love in action at the only Christian orphanage in the West Bank, and at Bethlehem University we will see hope in action in the nurture and training of many capable and committed local students.
Day 7: Wednesday, may 25
Leaving Bethlehem after breakfast, we journey south to the major Palestinian city of Hebron, where we will visit the tombs of Abraham and the other matriarchs and patriarchs. We will also see very clearly the hideous complexity of the Occupation and its impact on the people of this city. After this we head towards Jerusalem, first to the Israel Museum, to see a vast model of the city as it was at the time of Christ. Our day will finish with a walk down the Mount of Olives from Bethphage to the Garden of Gethsemane. Tonight and our remaining nights in the Holy Land will be spent at our hotel in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Day 8: Thursday, May 26
Our day starts with a visit to The Princess Basma Centre for Children with Disabilities, a charitable institution entrusted under the Anglican Episcopal church. The center was established in 1966 and has assisted children with disabilities with physical rehabilitation, education and helps create opportunities for their future employment. After a break for lunch we ascend Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, before finishing our day at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu built at the top of an ancient set of steps which leads up from the City of David to what is believed to have been the residence of the High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to His trial by the authorities after His arrest. Here we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life, but also Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. Our final visit today will be to the Israel Museum to see a vast model of Jerusalem as it was in Jesus’ day, and the Shrine of the Book exhibit about the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Day 9: Friday, May 27
We make an early start this morning in the hope of being allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, to get a close look at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. From here we come to St Anne’s church and the pools of Bethesda, after which we make our way to the Ecce Homo Convent, and after celebrating the Eucharist, we will make our way prayerfully along the Via Dolorosa, until we come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and remember Christ’s death and burial. After a break for lunch we will visit a village a short drive from Jerusalem, believed to be the possible site of Emmaus, where we can commemorate the resurrection.
Day 10: Saturday, May 28
Today will be spent in the Dead Sea basin, starting with a visit to the breathtaking hill-top fortress of Masada. Built by Herod the Great some thirty years before the birth of Jesus, it was the site of a long siege by the Roman army that ended in 74CE after the mass suicide of almost 1000 Jewish rebels. After a break for lunch, we will visit the site at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, before finishing the day with an opportunity to float in the unique, mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea.
Day 11: Sunday, May 29
This morning we will join the local Episcopal community at worship in St George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem. After the service we hope to have the chance to greet the Archbishop or one of his staff. After coffee with members of the congregation we drive to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park. After lunch we will visit the Israel Museum, to see a remarkable model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, and the Shrine of the Book exhibit about the Dead Sea Scrolls, before finishing our day at the village of Ein Karem, believed to have been the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth and thus the site of the birth of John the Baptist and of the encounter between Elizabeth and Mary, when Magnificat was first sung.
Day 12: Monday, May 30
After breakfast we depart Jerusalem and head back to Tel Aviv airport for our flight back to Toronto, and our short flight onwards to Columbus, ready to tell all those we meet what we have learned in the land of the Holy One.