Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Intentions for Holy Land pilgrimage

One week from today, 19 of us GW Catholics will go to the Holy Land...!  Our itinerary is below.  Please email me intentions at chaplain@gwcatholic.com, especially for particular sites along the way.  For example, an alumnus asked me to pray for him at the Holy Sepulchre.  Pray for a safe and blessed pilgrimage! 
Day 1: Depart U.S.A.
Our pilgrimage begins today as we depart on our flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.

Day 2 - Arrive Tel Aviv / Jerusalem
After our arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv this morning we will be met by our local guide who will arrange the schedules of our visits and make the scripture come alive as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  Drive to the Mt. of Olives and see a wonderful panoramic view of Jerusalem before heading to the hotel.  The remainder of the day is free.

Day 3 - Jerusalem
This morning we will drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives for a spectacular view of Jerusalem. We will visit the Church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, Ascension Chapel the site where Jesus ascended into Heaven, and then walk the "Palm Sunday Road" to Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over Jerusalem. Then we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane to visit the Church of All Nations for Mass on the Rock of Agony.  In the afternoon, we will drive through the New City of Jerusalem to Ein Karem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist, to see the Visitation Church where Mary proclaimed her famous "Magnificat".  This evening return to Gethsemane for a Eucharistic Holy Hour.

Day 4 - Jerusalem 
This morning we will enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s Gate to visit the Church of St. Anne, where the Blessed Virgin Mary was born.  Next to this site is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. We will then walk the Via Dolorosa finishing prayerfully in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where we will have Holy Mass.  There we will climb Mt. Calvary and pray at the site of the crucifixion. We will venerate the site where Jesus’ body was anointed, the tomb where he was buried and rose from the dead, and the Chapel of St. Helena where the true cross was found. While in the Old City, we will also see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, the Arch of Ecce Homo, the “Wailing Wall”, and we will view the Temple Mount.  Afterwards, we exit the city to visit the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a man born blind. We then go to Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room, the site where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper.  Last, we pray our Rosary together in the Church of Dormition, where Mary was assumed into heaven.

Day 5 - Jerusalem
Drive to Bethlehem and have Mass at the Shepherd's Fields. Above the traditional Grotto of Jesus' birth, visit the Nativity Church, built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. Also tour the Manger, Grotto of St. Jerome, the Church of St. Catherine, and the Milk Grotto. Then visit the Franciscan Family Center followed by some free time for shopping. 

Day 6 - Jerusalem 
This morning we will celebrate an early morning Mass at the Tomb of our Lord. After Mass, we will spend some private time in prayer and reflection at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before returning to our hotel for breakfast. The remainder of the day is free for personal prayer and exploring the Old City.

Day 7 - Jerusalem / Tiberias
We will drive to Bethany to visit the site of the House of Mary, Martha & Lazarus and the Tomb of Lazarus. Then drive to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western world.  In 1250 B.C., Joshua encircled the city and at the blast of the priests’ trumpets, the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6). Many times Jesus passed through this city on his way to Jerusalem.  The sycamore fig, the tree which Zacchaeus climbed in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus, still grows in this area. From the ruins of ancient Jericho, we will ascend the Mount of Temptation where Jesus fasted and prayed forty days to resist the devil. Then proceed north through the Jordan River Valley to our hotel located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Day 8 - Tiberias 
This morning, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and proceed to the Church of Peter’s Primacy (John 21:16). Here on the shore of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection and confirmed Peter in the role as Vicar of Christ with the words, “Feed My sheep.” The rock emerging from the center of the church is the actual table at which they ate breakfast.  We will proceed onto Capernaum which for three years was the center of Jesus’ public ministry. Here our Lord met his first disciples – Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew – and worked many miracles. He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever, brought a child back to life, cured a leper, healed the centurion’s servant, cast out a demon from a young boy and healed all that were sick (Matt 8:16).  We will have a Holy Hour at the Church above the home of St. Peter.  We will celebrate Mass, visit the synagogue where Jesus taught, and then drive to Tabgha – the site where Jesus multiplied the Loaves and Fishes and fed over 5000 people (Luke 9:13). Next, we will drive to the Mount of Beatitudes the site of the Sermon on the Mount. 

Day 9 - Tiberias
Following breakfast, we will drive to Cana of Galilee where Jesus, at the request of Mary, performed His first miracle…changing water into wine. It was here also that He blessed marriage and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. If you wish, you may renew your wedding vows as a lasting remembrance of this holy site. From there, we go a short distance to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. In the Church of the Annunciation we will celebrate Mass.  Just behind the altar, at the Cave of the Annunciation, we will see the actual room in which Mary said “yes” to the angel Gabriel. From there we will visit St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop and Mary’s well.  In the afternoon, we will take an excursion to the summit of Mt. Tabor where Jesus transfigured himself and revealed his Divine Glory to the apostles (Matt 17:2). 

Day 10 - Tiberias / Tel Aviv
This morning travel to the River Jordan to renew our baptismal vows. The Bible tells us that the Children of Israel crossed the River Jordan opposite Jericho when they came into the Promised Land.  The prophet Elijah divided its waters and crossed with Elisha on dry land. Naaman the Syrian dipped in the waters seven times and was cured of his leprosy. And Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan (Mark 1:9).  Each year, pilgrims from far and wide come to the Place of Baptism to immerse themselves in these holy waters.  Depart Tiberias and drive to Caesarea, the capital of the ancient Roman Procurators of Judea, where St. Peter preached and St. Paul was imprisoned for two years before being taken to Rome for trial. Visit the Roman Theater, Crusader’s Moat, and the Byzantine Churches. Then proceed south along the Mediterranean to Old Jaffa where we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Peter.  Later we will have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant before proceeding to the airport in Tel Aviv to catch our late evening return flight home. 

Day 11 - Tel Aviv / U.S.A.
Today our Holy Land pilgrimage comes to an end as we arrive back home following our overnight flight from Tel Aviv.


Ashton Mallon said...

Fr. Greg, I am bringing a group from Marymount from May 25-June 3! I will pray that our guardian angels run us into one another! Have a blessed trip!

Fr Greg said...

Oh my gosh, Ashton! Hope to see you...have a safe flight today.