Follow the footsteps of Jesus in a tour of the Holy Land: walk the Via Dolorosa, visit Nazareth and wet your feet in the Sea of Galilee. A spiritual experience to remember.
From Jaffa to the Sea of Galilee.
Jaffa – where St. Peter had his vision on the rooftop of the House of Simon the tanner (Acts 10:32), raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36); Jonah set sail to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3) and King Solomon built his port (2 Chron. 2:16) on the Mediterranean.
Caesarea – the magnificent ruins of Herod’s showcase port city continue the story of St. Peter, with his conversion of Cornelius’ household (Acts 10:24). Caesarea is also the scene of St. Paul’s imprisonment (Acts 23:35), his appearance before King Agrippa and his departure for Rome (Acts 25:13-26:32). It figures centrally in the history of early Christianity as home to the Church father Eusebius.
The Carmelite Monastery of Mukhraka – where Elijah called down fire from Heaven (1 Kings 18:19-39). After this miracle, a great drought ended with the appearance of a small cloud over the sea (1 Kings 18:44), a pre-figuring of St. Mary.
Acre – called Ptolemais when St. Paul visited it (Acts 21:7), a gem of the medieval world, with its Knights Halls, fishermen’s port, Turkish Bath Museum, bazaar and ramparts overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Possible venues for Mass: Church of St. Peter in Jaffa, Carmelite Monastery of Mukhraka; Franciscan Church in Acre.
Around the Sea of Galilee.
A boat-ride across the Sea of Galilee in a wooden vessel reminiscent of Jesus’ day.
The Ancient Galilee Boat – a wooden vessel dating back to the days of Jesus in a fascinating display.
Mount of Beatitudes – where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5), and one of many sites where Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II prayed.
The Tabha Benedictine Monastery Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes – the site of the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt. 14:13-21).
Church of the Primacy of Peter – site of the miraculous catch of fish (John 21:6), where Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection (John 21:7), and of St. Peter’s reconciliation to Jesus (John 21:15-19).
Capernaum – scene of many miracles and teachings, and known as Jesus’ “own town” (Matt. 9:1), including:
The House of St. Peter – (Mark 1:29) and the Memorial of St. Peter. The Ancient Synagogue – built over the site where Jesus preached (Mark 1:21).
Tiberias – built by Herod Antipas (Luke 13:31) during Jesus’ ministry, Tiberias is the contemporary capital of the Sea of Galilee, with many reminders of Bible days.
Possible venues for Mass: Mount of Beatitudes; Peter’s Primacy; Memorial of St. Peter in Capernaum, St. Peter’s Church in Tiberias.
From Armageddon to Nazareth
Megiddo – with ramparts, temples, dwellings and a water system that made it one of the greatest cities of the ancient Near East, Megiddo became a regional capital of King Solomon (1 Kings 9:15), and is the New Testament’s Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).
Mount Tabor – crowned by the magnificent Church of the Transfiguration with its brilliant mosaics, this mountain is also the scene of gathering of the forces of Barak and Deborah (Judges 4:6).
Nain – a charming church graces this picturesque village where Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-15).
Cana – on the outskirts of Nazareth, here Jesus performed the first miracle, changing water into wine (John 2:1-11), with the Wedding Church and the Church of Nathanael (John 21:2).
Nazareth – beautiful churches now grace Jesus’ boyhood home, including Mensa Christi in an old residential quarter, the Synagogue Church in the market, St. Gabriel’s Church over the ancient spring, the Church of St. Joseph, and the jewel in the crown, the Basilica of the Annunciation, with its magnificent representations of Mary from around the world.
Possible venues for Mass: the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of St. Joseph, Cana, Mount Tabor, Nain.
Upper Galilee: From Bethsaida to Dan.
Bethsaida – home of Sts. Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44), where Jesus healed a blind man (Mark 8:22), with remains of a fisherman’s house, a grape-grower’s house and a street from Jesus’ day, and the huge gateway of the biblical city of Geshur, home of David’s wife Maacah (2 Sam 3:3). A place for prayer and Mass overlooking the Sea of Galilee has been set up here for pilgrims by the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska.
Caesarea Philippi (Banias) – at the headwaters of the Jordan, where Jesus asked his disciples “Who do men say that I am” (Mark 8:27) and gave St. Peter the keys to Heaven (Matt. 16:19). Banias also features the ruins of temples built by Herod and his son Philip (Luke 3:1), and a thundering waterfall.
Dan – a treasure-trove of Old Testament history dating back to Abraham (Gen. 14:14) in a magnificent natural setting that brings alive the biblical verse “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs” (Deut. 8:7).
Domus Galilaeae – some pilgrims may want to visit this center of the Neo-Catechumenal Way.
Possible venues for Mass: Bethsaida, outdoors at Caesarea Philippi, Domus Galilaeae.
Jerusalem The Mount of Olives and Mount Zion
Mount of Olives –a magnificent vantage point of the Holy City, with many important churches marking biblical sites, including:
Paternoster – where Jesus taught the Our Father prayer (Luke 11:1-4).
The Dome of the Ascension – the site where Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:11).
Bethphage – where Jesus began the triumphal entrance to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:29).
Dominus Flevit – where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).
The Garden of Gethsemane – with its ancient olive trees where Jesus was arrested (John 18:1-12), next to the Church of All Nations, named for the contributions made by Catholics from around the world. The church overlooks the Kidron Valley (John 18:1), and is also known as the Basilica of the Agony, as here Jesus sweated blood in fervent prayer (Luke 22:44).
Mount Zion, including:
St. Peter in Gallicantu – with its beautiful mosaics and bronze statuary, built over the ruins of the house of Caiphas (Matt. 26:57), the stone pit where tradition says Jesus was held, and the Sacred Staircase, which for centuries has led here from the Kidron Valley.
The Coenaculum – or Room of the Last Supper, built over the site of where Jesus and the disciples celebrated the first Eucharist (Mark 14:24).
Dormition Abbey – marking the site of the Dormition of Mary, where Mary was taken up to Heaven.
Possible venues for Mass: Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, Church of All Nations, or the Dormition Abbey; St. Peter in Gallicantu, Bethphage.
Jerusalem – the Via Dolorosa and Ein Karem.
Via Dolorosa – following the Stations of the Cross from the Chapel of the Flagellation, and the Sisters of Zion Convent, through the streets of Old Jerusalem to the Judgment Gate and the Tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Pools of Bethesda – where Jesus healed a paralytic (John 5:2).
Church of St. Anne – built over the home of Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary.
Ein Karem – the “city of Judah” (Luke 1:39), which was birthplace of John the Baptist, including:
Church of the Visitation – where Mary met Elizabeth and uttered the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).
Church of St. John – where John the Baptist was born.
Possible venues for Mass: The Franciscan Chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the Church of the Visitation; the Church of St. John.
Jerusalem – From the Old City to the New.
The Maronite Catholic Church – near the Jaffa Gate, with a wonderful view of Jerusalem from the roof.
The Convent of Akeldama– where Judas died, in the Valley of Hinnom (Acts 1:18-19).
The City of David – the most ancient part of the Holy City (2 Sam. 5:7).
The Pool of Siloam – where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:7).
Shrine of the Book – in the Israel Museum, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Model of Jerusalem – the famed 1:50 model of the way the Holy City looked in Jesus’ day.
Possible venues for Mass: The Maronite Catholic Church.
Through the Judean Wilderness to Eilat.
The Judean wilderness – where John the Baptist preached (Matt. 3:1) and where Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights (Matt. 4:2).
Inn of the Good Samaritan – traditional site of Jesus’ parable (Luke 10:30-37).
Qumran – where the Dead Sea Scrolls where discovered.
Massada – the dramatic mountain fortress built by Herod the Great where the Jews made their last stand against the Romans in the Great Revolt.
The Dead Sea – The lowest, saltiest body of water on earth; the Salt Sea, or Eastern Sea of the Bible (Josh. 15:5; Ezek. 47:18).
Possible venue for Mass: Open-air at Qumran.
The Southern Negev around Eilat.
The Underwater Observatory Marine Park – showcasing the natural beauty of the Red Sea.
Timna Park – with its ancient copper mines, model of the Tabernacle, and impressive rock formations, including “Solomon’s Pillars.”
Possible venue for Mass: Open-air Mass at Solomon’s Pillars.
Through the Negev and northward.
The Wilderness of Zin – where the Israelites wandered Miriam died (Numbers 20:1).
The Joe Alon Bedouin Museum – hands-on learning about how the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs lived.
Be'er Sheba – the city Abraham founded (Gen. 21:31) and southern border of biblical Israel (1 Sam. 3:20).
Possible venue for Mass: Open-air Mass at Be'er Sheba.