May 2-13, 2022
Led by the Rev. Thomas Jones – Diocese of Nebraska
As a pilgrim, journeying to the places our Lord once walked, taught, and healed, helps us to connect Scripture with the places and events they describe, offering us a chance to feel the words and stories come to life in a very real way. This was definitely true for me on my first visit to the Holy Land, and I know it can be true for you. I am excited about returning and privileged to be leading this trip to explore Galilee, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and more.
This is not simply a sightseeing excursion. A pilgrimage offers a special, and spiritual, opportunity to experience a strengthening of our awareness of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and our relationship with the Lord, as we visit and worship in the places where the ministry of Jesus took place. Such an experience can be life changing. The connections we make to the places we visit, and the people we meet, will give us a fresh insight into the faith we profess and help us to see more clearly our calling as disciples in the modern world.
While we will travel between sites in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus, our guide will lead us along a few long and occasionally demanding pathways; a good set of walking shoes is a must. I invite you to join us as we step out in faith on this amazing journey seeking the grace and love of God revealed along the way connecting in faith to the places we visit and those we journey alongside.
- All airport departure & passenger taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- All gratuities, entrance fees and 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: MONDAY, MAY 2
We meet this morning at Eppley Field Airport in Omaha to begin our journey to the Holy Land, flying to Newark via Chicago, where we board our late afternoon flight to Israel. Dinner will be served on board.
Day 2: TUESDAY, MAY 3
We land in Tel Aviv late 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 by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3: WEDNESDAY, MAY 4
After breakfast we drive to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s Well and the Synagogue Church. We then continue to the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign according to St John before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit another recently excavated site, 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 4: THURSDAY, MAY 5
Our day will be spent by the Sea of Galilee visiting the sites associated with Jesus’ ministry of miracles and teaching set around the lake. We will have a guided tour of the excavated first century synagogue at Magdala. We will also visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the ruins of Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Church of Peter’s Primacy. We will also have the chance to experience our own boat ride on the lake, as well as seeing the First Century fishing boat discovered towards the end of the last century.
Day 5: FRIDAY, MAY 6
After an early breakfast we bid farewell to the Sea of Galilee and journey south. We will drive through the heart of the West Bank to the city of Nablus. Here we will visit the ancient holy site of Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel records Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman. We hope to meet the Rector of St Phillip’s Episcopal Church and visit the Episcopal hospital in the city. After lunch with members of the parish we leave Nablus and drive down to the Jordan River, near to the place where it is believed Jesus was baptized by John. After reaffirming our Baptismal Covenant we drive up through the hills of the Judean Wilderness towards Jerusalem, and on south towards Bethlehem passing through the separation wall where we will spend two nights staying at a Pilgrim Hotel close to Manger Square. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 6: SATURDAY, MAY 7
During the morning we will see the work of two remarkable Christian institutions endeavoring to bring something of the abundant life promised in the gospel to those living under the restrictions of the Occupation. We hope to visit the St Vincent Creche/Orphanage - the only facility of its kind in the West Bank, offering Christian love and compassion to over forty abandoned babies and small children and Bethlehem University which is partially funded by the Vatican and other donors. We will break for lunch here after our visit. In the afternoon we will visit the Church of the Nativity, the oldest church in Christendom, and the nearby Shepherds Fields at Beit Sahour. Return to our hotel behind Manger Square in good time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 7: SUNDAY, MAY 8
This morning we leave Bethlehem after breakfast and drive over to East Jerusalem to attend the principal Sunday Eucharist at St George’s Episcopal Cathedral. After coffee with members of the congregation we will visit the Western Wall, before driving over to West Jerusalem to visit the synagogue at the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem. The synagogue is famous for its windows by Marc Chagall depicting the twelve sons of Jacob with vivid colors and images. Ein Karem is also 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. We will bring our day to a close by visiting the church which commemorates this famous meeting, and having the chance to sing Magnificat ourselves on this Sunday evening. Finally we come to our hotel, located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which will be our home for the final nights of our pilgrimage.
Day 8: MONDAY, MAY 9
Our day starts with a visit to The Princess Basma Centre for Children with Disabilities, a charitable institution entrusted under the Anglican Episcopal church. After this we walk down the slopes of the Mount of Olives that will take us from Bethphage (the start of the traditional Palm Sunday route) to the churches of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit, and finally to the Church of All Nations, in the Garden of Gethsemane. 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.
Day 9: TUESDAY, MAY 10
We will spend today in the Jordan Valley, starting with a visit to Masada, the site of one of Herod’s great fortified palaces, and the place of the mass suicide of the Sicari rebels in 74AD at the end of a siege by the Roman army. After lunch we will visit Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947, before having the opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral laden waters of the Dead Sea. Coming back to Jerusalem, we will visit the Israel Museum to see a model of First Century Jerusalem, and the Shrine of the Book exhibition that features the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Day 10: WEDNESDAY, MAY 11
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 there will be an optional visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in west Jerusalem.
Day 11: THURSDAY, MAY 12
On this, our final day in the Holy Land, we will visit one of the sites associated with biblical Emmaus, the village of Abu Ghosh, where we will pray together as pilgrims one last time. From here, like the two disciples who encountered the risen Christ, we will return to Jerusalem, to enjoy the rest of the day as free time to revisit favorite sites, pray, shop or just rest. Lunch will not be provided today. In the late afternoon we leave Jerusalem to visit Jaffa, set on the shores of the Mediterranean. Here we will have a final dinner before heading to the airport for our late night flight back to the United States.
Day 12: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25
We land in Newark in the early morning, and after clearing immigration and Customs formalities catch our connecting flight back to Omaha, where we land mid-morning, ready to share with our family and friends all we have seen and learned in the Land of the Holy One.