Jordan & The Holy Land
Day 1: Arrive Amman
Upon arrival in Amman, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival’s hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. . Transfer to the hotel in Amman for check-in. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Day 2: Petra
This morning, you will transfer to the “lost” city of Petra ! This city is located amongst rugged desert canyons and mountains. Enjoy a walking tour of the former capital and trading center. Your first stop will be a visit to the Siq, a mile-long gorge that contains a number of magnificent structures that are carved into the mountains. The walk will culminate with a visit to the Petra Museum. The Museum holds numerous artifacts from the Neolithic period of the Nabataen history. The museum also contains architecture from the Romans as well as, a Byzantine chapel. Spend this afternoon at your own leisure. Feel free to shop, relax or rest before dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Petra – Kerak – Madaba – Mt. Nebo – Amman
Today, after breakfast travel to the Castle of Kerak; the largest castle among mountain-top crusaders. Following this visit, transfer to the “City of Mosaics,” Madaba. While in this city, you will visit St. George’s Church that is home to a true treasure of Christianity. This Church houses the oldest map of the Holy Land which includes Israel, Palestine, and Southern Egypt. Later, visit Mt. Nebo, the most revered holy sites of Jordan. This mountain was mentioned in Deuteronomy 34, “Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah…” While here, you will tour the Holy site of where Moses died and was buried. Following your visit to this Sacred place, return to Amman before dinner and an overnight.
Day 4: Amman – Jerash – Tel Aviv *Crossing the Jordanian Border into Israel*
Following breakfast, you will depart for Jerash, nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside of Italy. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition. Later today we will be crossing the Jordanian border into the Holy Land and continue toward the Mediterranean Coast to Tel Aviv for dinner and an overnight.
Day 5: Caesarea – Stella Maris – Nazareth – Tiberias
Theme: The Annunciation
Following breakfast, we will drive 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 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. Continue 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, 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, you will visit the Byzantine Church of St. Joseph to which tradition identifies as the workshop and home of the Holy Family. Then make a stop at the Church of the Annunciation which stands over the cave that tradition holds to be the home of the Virgin Mary. The cupola, which dominates modern-day Nazareth, is surmounted by a lantern which symbolizes “the Light of the World.” Also, we 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). The next stop will be to Cana where you will visit the Franciscan Wedding Church. Couples will have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony to renew their wedding vows. Your first day culminates with a transfer to Tiberias. Upon arrival in Tiberias, you will check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today begin this day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking the boat, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, we continue 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). Continue to 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, see the Synagogue where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29) and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Mt. Tabor – Jericho – Jordan River – Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, we 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. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Continue south to the Jordan Valley to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, of where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Following the view of mountain, continue to Jesus’ baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, we will transfer to Jerusalem to check-in to your hotel and enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Jerusalem: Temple Model – Ein Karem – Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
This morning, enjoy breakfast before we start our day in Jerusalem, which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, we 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. You will have a chance to 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, 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, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Bethany – Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness
Following breakfast at your hotel, we 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, you will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. 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). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 10: 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. 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). Continue 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. 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. You will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Continue with a visit to 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, 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, return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa – Holy Sepulchre
Theme: The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection
This morning you will have a very early wake-up to 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. 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). Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we 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, enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 12: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for return flights home.