Pilgrimage to the Holy Land March 5/15/2017

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Join Father Neil Bakker on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, March 5-15 2017.  The pilgrimage to Lourdes France has been postponed and replaced with a guaranteed trip to Israel.  This trip has already sold enough spots to guarantee fulfillment, but there are still spots available!

Father Neil spent over 3 weeks in the Holy Land just about 2 years ago, and knows the land very well.  Enter into a once-in-a-lifetime Biblical Journey, following in the footsteps of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  


Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:
† Round-trip airfare from Minneapolis
† All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
† 8 nights at centrally located first class hotels: (or similar)
             1 night: March 6-7 Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
             2 nights: March 7-9 Leonardo Plaza, Tiberias
             5 nights: March 9-14 Notre Dame, Jerusalem
† Transfers as per itinerary
† Breakfast, LUNCH and Dinner daily
† Wine with dinners
† Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
† Free Wi-Fi on motor coach
† Wireless headsets where needed
† Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide (s)
† Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
† Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction
† Mass daily & Spiritual activities
† Luggage handling (1 piece per person) 
† Tips to hotel staff, restaurants, luggage handlers
† Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Trip Details:

Day 1: March 5, 2017: Depart USA
Board your flight for the start of your journey to Tel Aviv, with complimentary meals and beverages served on board.

Day 2: March 6, 2017: Arrive Tel Aviv
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival’s hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. Your group will transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv for dinner and overnight. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.

Day 3: March 7, 2017: Caesarea - Stella Maris - Nazareth - Tiberias
Theme: The Annunciation
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will head to Caesarea, the former capital of Judea. You will have the opportunity to visit the archaeological remains of this ancient port, which aided as base for the Herodian navy. Shortly after the time of Jesus Christ, it was revealed to Peter, in Caesarea, that the Good News (to repent) is not only intended for Jewish people but also, the entire world. This is also the place which officially ended the tradition of adhering to the Jewish ceremonial laws. As a result, Peter baptized a group of gentiles, the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, and his family. Your tour continues as you travel North to Haifa. In Haifa, you will find Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery. The monastery is located above the cave where Elijah, the prophet, once lived. A colorful painting of this “wonder-worker” can be found on the ceiling of the Church. Following this visit, your group will depart Stella Maris and enjoy the scenic drive (with view of the bay of Acco) to Nazareth. In Nazareth, you will experience the town where Mary once lived and where Jesus lived as a child (Matthew 2:23). During the visit to Nazareth, your group will visit the Byzantine Church of St. Joseph, to which tradition identifies as the workshop and home of the Holy Family. Also, your group will visit Mary’s Well where the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Son of God (Luke 1:30-34). Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
 

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Day 4: March 8, 2017: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Your group will begin this day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic, Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). During this ride, your group will also view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, your group will continue on to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed his great Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49). Near the mount is Tabgha, one of Jesus’ miracle sites. At Tabgha, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people from five loaves of bread, and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). Also, in Tabgha is St. Peter’s Primacy where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter (John 21:9).Your tour continues as you visit the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, in Magdala. During the time of Jesus, this village was a prosperous fishing village that exported fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction; popular in Roman cooking). Your day concludes at Capernaum, the launching place of Jesus’ ministry. In Capernaum, your group will have the opportunity to see the Synagogue of where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29), and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Your group will enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 5: March 9, 2017: Mt. Tabor – Jericho – Jordan River - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
Following breakfast, your group will drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). At this site, you will have some time to reflect on Christ’s Humanity and Divinity. Your group will also have the opportunity to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. The tour continues as your group heads South on the Jordan Valley, to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you will have the opportunity to view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, of where the Devil tempted Jesus during his fortyday fast (Luke 4:1). Following the visit to this mountain, your group will continue to Jesus’ baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, your group will end their day with a transfer to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, your group will check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: March 10, 2017: Jerusalem: Temple Model - Ein Karem - Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity

This morning, you will have breakfast and then depart for a day in Jerusalem, which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Your group will visit a model of the Second Temple, as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, your group will take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It is known that there are two churches in Ein Karem, both representing the two homes of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The first is in a valley where the birth of St. John the Baptist is commemorated (Luke 1:39-80) in the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The second is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24) at the Church of the Visitation. Your group will visit both of these churches and have the opportunity to pray the Mystery of the Rosary as you walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation. In the afternoon, your group will transfer to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will have the opportunity to view the Shepherd’s Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves of these fields, you are still able to see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at the Manger Square, which stands in front of the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity, which marks the spot of Our Savior’s birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the Altar, there is a silver star and a Latin inscription that states: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). Following Mass in this Sacred space, your group will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: March 11, 2017: Bethany - Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran is made up of 2,000 year old ruins from the days of the Second Temple, and also the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered (Ezekial 47:8-10). These writings have helped further the understanding of Jewish background in Christianity. Time and weather permitting, your group will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Your tour will continue as you travel through the Judean Wilderness, the site where Jesus spent his 40 days of fasting. The day of touring culminates with a transfer to Bethany. Bethany is the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, which foreshadows His own Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Your group will celebrate Mass and return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 8: March 12, 2017: Jerusalem: Mt. Of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion - Western Wall
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
After breakfast, we will make our way to the Mount of Olives, where you will be able to take in the beautiful, panoramic view of Jerusalem. Historically, the Mount of Olives was a mandatory transit point for Jesus during many iconic moments. Your group will visit the Pater Noster Shrine, where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster) (Luke 11:1-4). You will have the opportunity to stop at Dominus Flevit, which is a Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). The tour continues on to Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus brought His disciples here to pray the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:29-53). The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. Beside the Garden is your next stop, the Church of All Nations, built over the “Rock of Agony”. This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of His arrest. Throughout this time, you are invited to remain in prayer and to reflect on Christ’s agony that he experienced. Your group will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 C.E. The tour continues as you will visit the house of the High Priest Caiaphas (Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu). This Church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the Council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter’s Denial of Christ (John 18:15-18), Peters’ repentance, and Jesus’ forgiveness of Peter. You will also visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and, where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection (Mark 16:14). In addition, your group will visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, “fell asleep.” At the end of this prayerful day, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 9, March 13, 2017: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre
Theme: The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection
Your group will have a very early morning wake-up, which will begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress. This is the spot where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16). Following His condemnation, He was taken (on the Road to Calvary) to His place of Crucifixion. Your group will reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This Sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus’ crucifixion place) and, His tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). Your group will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, your group will return to the Hotel to enjoy breakfast. We will continue our day with a visit to the Church of St. Anne’s, the home of Jesus’ maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim); and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon, your group will enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit, your group will enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
 

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Day 10: March 14, 2017 : Tel Aviv – USA
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for return flights home.

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Photo Credit: Father Neil Bakker

Fr Neil Bakker

Our Lady of Grace, 5071 Eden Avenue, Edina, MN, 55436