Thursday, September 22, 2005

We’re Off to Israel

by Steve Ray on September 22, 2005

We are leading a pilgrimage for 50 people following the Footprints of Mary and Jesus. Janet I leave today and arrive early to make sure things are ready for the group. We are VERY excited to our favorite holy sites with all these excited Catholics. If you are interested in joining us for future pilgrimages, visit our Pilgrimage webpage. I will try to keep the blog updated with our daily adventures and pictures.

Friday, September 23: Depart USA via overnight flight on scheduled airline to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Saturday, September 24: Arrive Tel Aviv Airport where we will be greeted by Steve and Janet Ray and Zvi Harpaz, our local Israeli tour escort.  Our motor coach will transport us to the Nof Ginosar Hotel, on the shores of Galilee near Tiberias. Check in for a three night stay and attend a welcome dinner hosted by Steve & Janet Ray. Overnight Nof Ginosar Hotel in Tiberias.
Sunday, September 25: Drive to  Mount Tabor where Jesus met Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration. Then travel to Cana of Galilee where married couples will have the chance to renew their wedding vows. On to Nazareth and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation; visit the grotto where the Incarnation began. Overnight at Nof Ginosar Hotel in Tiberias.
Monday, September 26: Early departure north to Banias (Caesarea Philippi). Then back down to Tabgha where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, Church of the Primacy of Peter and then to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Dinner at Steve & Janet’s favorite restaurant in Israel: Aberge Shulamit. Overnight at Nof Ginosar Hotel in Tiberias.
Tuesday, September 27: Walk the banks of the Sea of Galilee and take a boat ride to Capernaum to see St. Peter's house and and see the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught about eating his Flesh and Blood.  Next visit Bethsaida and Kursi  where the demons were cast from the Gadarene. We will then renew our baptismal vows in the Jordan River either in Yardenit or at the authentic site. Travel through the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem and along the way we will see many biblical places and look across to Moses’ Mount Nebo as we pass Jericho through the Judean Wilderness and up to Jerusalem. Check-in at Notre Dame Hotel in Jerusalem for the next four nights. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Wednesday, September 28:  Optional 5 AM Mass at Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Back for breakfast before a drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity and visit the cave where Jesus was born. After lunch travel to Ein Kerem, the birthplace of  John the Baptist. Visit the Church of the Visitation and the Church of St. John the Baptist. Overnight Jerusalem.
Thursday, September 29: Start with a walking tour of the Old City on our way to the Western Wall and a tour under the wall.   Go back in time to “see” the Temple as it was seen by Mary and Jesus. Enter St. Stephen’s Gate and visit the Church of St. Anne where Mary was born. See the Pools of Bethesda where Jesus healed a lame man. After lunch visit Mount Zion, the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (“where the cock crowed”) and walk the Roman steps. Visit the Upper Room (Cenacle), Dormition Abbey where Mary “fell asleep” and the Tomb of David.  The rest of the day is for walking and shopping in the Old City of Jerusalem.  Overnight in Jerusalem.
Friday, September 30: Drive to the Mount of Olives. Visit the Chapel of the Ascension where Jesus rose into heaven. Visit the Garden and Church of Gethsemane and the Grotto of the Arrest. Walk the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) and pray the Stations of the Cross ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Farewell dinner tonight. Overnight in Jerusalem. 
Saturday, October 1: Return home from Tel Aviv after a memorable spiritual journey to the Holy Land.

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