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|Day 1:||Depart the USA on our transatlantic flight.|
|Day 2:||Our continuation flight takes us to Israel. Meals will be served on the overnight flight.|
|Day 3:||We arrive Tel Aviv, Israel and are met by our Tour Director, who transfers us to our hotel in Galilee. Dinner and overnight in Galilee.|
|Day 4:||Today we tour the Tiberias area: the Jordan River, where we will renew our baptismal vows; Tabgha, with its Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of Peter, commemorating Jesus' reinstatement of Peter after a fish breakfast on the shore; Capernaum, where Jesus lived during His Galilean ministry and the site of a modern day church built over Peter's House; and the Mount of Beatitudes, the traditional site of Jesus' delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. Dinner and overnight in Galilee.|
|Day 5:||A day excursion to Cana and Nazareth awaits us. Cana is known as the place where, according to the Gospels, Jesus performed His first miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). In Roman Catholicism, the Wedding at Cana is one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. Why not renew your wedding vows at the Franciscan Wedding Church, built in 1879 over an even-older church? We will enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, too. Afterwards, we visit Nazareth; according to Luke, Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation. We will celebrate mass at the Church of the Annunciation, established at the site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary asking Her to be the mother of Our Savior, and She answered Her "FIAT" (located at the lower level and known as the grotto). Dinner and overnight in Galilee.|
|Day 6:||The road leads us up the mountain to Mt. Tabor, site of the Transfiguration, and Caesarea today. On the mountaintop there are two Christian monasteries. In 1924 the Church of the Transfiguration was built by the Franciscan order on the peak of Mount Tabor, upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century. The monastery's friars have lived near the church since the Ottoman control in 1873. Enroute to Jerusalem, we stop at Caesarea, named by Herod for the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus, located on Israel's Mediterranean coastline. We then travel to Jerusalem and onto our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.|
Our itinerary today includes visiting Bethlehem*, Mount of Olives, Gethsemane and Ein Karem. We begin our day travelling to Bethlehem,
the birthplace of Jesus, is home to the Church of the Nativity. Then we travel to the Mount of Olives, a mountain ridge in east Jerusalem,
is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 21:1;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus
stood as when He wept over Jerusalem. Jesus spent time on the mount, teaching and prophesying to His disciples (Matthew 24-25), returning
after each day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night of His betrayal (Matthew 26:39). At the foot of the Mount of Olives
lies the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus taught His disciples the "Our Father" and where Jesus and His disciples
prayed the night before His arrest leading to His Crucifixion. A mile away is Mount Zion where we view the tomb of King David. Then stand
in the Upper Room, the site of the Last Supper (Mark 14:12-26). Visit the House of the High Priest Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57) where Jesus
was imprisoned for a night. We then proceed to Ein Karem, the site where John the Baptist was born. According to the Bible, Mary went
"into the hill country, to a city of Judah" when she visited the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
*Visit to Bethlehem is contingent on the political situation.
|Day 8:||After breakfast, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem where everyday life and customs within narrow, crooked streets have remained much the same over the centuries. Visit Herodís Antonia Fortress (Matthew 27:11) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Then retrace the events of the final hours of Jesusí life as you walk the path of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), the route that Jesus took between His condemnation by Pilate and His Crucifixion and burial, for a powerful and compelling religious experience. The traditional route of the Via Dolorosa starts just inside the Lions' Gate, in the Muslim quarter, and makes its way westward through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter; 500 meters in length, the route also incorporates 14 Stations of the Cross along the way. Touch a piece of the remnant of Solomon's Temple, also known as the Wailing Wall, where Jews gather from all over the world to commemorate the destruction of the first and second temples. Touch its ancient stones and pray for the peace of Israel. Visit the Church of St. Anne, birthplace of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, then view the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-24) where Jesus performed the Sabbath miracle. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.|
|Day 9:||After breakfast, a day excursion to the Dead Sea, Qumran, and Masada awaits us. The Dead Sea is a salt lake with Israel and the West Bank to the west and Jordan to the east. It is 1,378 feet (420 metres) below sea level and its shores are the lowest point on the surface of the Earth on dry land. It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean and about 9 times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea; this allows you to float, even if you dont know how to swim. The area has been inhabitated since ancient times; Qumran, located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank, was constructed sometime around 134-104 BC. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered hidden in a series of eleven caves of the sheer desert cliffs here. The nearly 900 scrolls were in various states of completeness, mostly written on parchment. We will also visit Masada. King Herod the Great built/rebuilt several fortresses and palaces on the Western Bank of the Dead Sea. The most famous was Masada, where, in 70-73 AD, a small group of rebellious Jewish zealots held out against a siege by the Roman Legion, ultimately resulting in their choosing suicide to Roman enslavement. Today, Masada is a peaceful and fascinating testament to a turbulent historical period. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.|
We leave Israel and cross over to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where our travels take us to Madaba, Mt. Nebo and the Rose Red City of
Petra. Madaba, known as "the City of the Mosaics" for the many Byzantine mosaics which have been uncovered throughout the city.
A mosaic map of the Holy Land dating from the 6th century AD, the Madaba Map, is preserved in the floor of the Basilica of Saint George.
Continue on to Mount Nebo, where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the promised land that God was giving to the Jews. "And
Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho". (Deuteronomy 34:1). Our
journey continues with a visit to the archaeological wonder of Petra, lost to the Western world until 1812. Dinner
and overnight in Petra.
Today we tour Petra, by horseback and on foot. Most modern visitors enter the ancient site via the eastern entrance, which leads steeply down through a dark, narrow gorge called the Siq, "the shaft", a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, the Treasury, hewn into the sandstone cliff. There is also a massive theatre and tombs; the whole of it almost enclosed on three sides by rose-colored mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures. Later, we travel back for dinner and overnight in Amman.
|Day 12:||We bid farewell to the Jordan as we board our return flight to the United States.|
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