Holy Land, Greece and Southern Italy

Under The Spiritual Direction Of Fr. Jim Keiter
17 DAYS
FROM $4,999

Date

October 9 - 25, 2023

Activity Level

Moderate – High

Book By

7 / 1 / 2023

Group Limit

40

Pilgrimage Overview

Join Fr. Jim Keiter on this unforgettable experience to tour the Holy Land and the Greek Isle! Includes a 3 Night Cruise!



Book With Confidence

Book With Confidence

All new travel bookings automatically come with our Book with Confidence Travel Plan*—free of charge. This plan gives pilgrims the ability to move their booking to another destination or simply a different available departure date in our vast travel portfolio, no questions asked. They just need to let us know 120 days* before departure and we’ll waive all penalties and get them booked on a new pilgrimage.

*The Book with Confidence Travel Plan allows for any new booking made with Holy Land Travel Center to be changed to a different destination or to another available departure date. Notice of change in travel plans must be given 120 days before departure; standard cancellation penalties will apply for full cancellation without rebooking or changes made within 120 days to departure. Applicable price and eligible promotions for the new tour will apply; if new trip is less expensive, a future travel credit will be issued for the difference in price. Cannot be applied to Passion Play Pilgrimages. No cash value. Credit is fully transferable. Offer reliant on space availability. Effective 10.7.2020. May be withdrawn at any time. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details.

Itinerary

Itinerary

DAY 1
Departure

Depart for your flights to Rome. Dinner on-board, relax, and anticipate your arrival the next day. 

DAY 2
Arrive to Italy

We are greeted upon arrival by our Holy Land Travel Center Representative who will accompany us throughout the pilgrimage.  After visa formalities, we immediately continue our pilgrimage by visiting the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, which houses the remains of St. Paul under its main altar. Continue on to our hotel for overnight. 

DAY 3
Rome

After an early breakfast we depart for Vatican City, the spiritual capital for all Catholics around the world. Vatican City is its own city-state nestled within Rome, and it even has its own currency and postage! We make our way to St. Peter’s Basilica where we will attend the Papal Audience given by His Holiness Pope Francis. We then continue to visit the remaining major Basilicas of Rome. We start by visiting to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the most important and the oldest church dedicated to Our Lady, which contains relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. Continue to the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the Pope’s Cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. See the Holy Staircase which is believed to be from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Time permitting, climb the steps on your knees in memory of Christ’s Passion.   (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 4
Palermo

This morning we head to the magnificent Basilica of St. peter, where we will celebrate Mass before we head to the airport for our short flights to Palermo . Upon arrival, if possible, we check in and the drive a short distance to Montepellegrino to visit the Shrine of St Rosalia, the saint Patron of Sicily. Perched 445 meters (1460 feet) above the Tyrrhenian Sea and the city of Palermo in northwestern Italy, the cave sanctuary of Santa Rosalia Monte Pellegrino is one of Sicily’s two primary Catholic shrines. Archaeological evidence indicates the cave had pre-Christian religious uses, including an ancient temple to the Anatolian (and later Greek) Earth goddess Cybele, the Carthaginian god Kronos, and Tanit, the Phoenician Punicgoddess of fertility. Rosalia is also called La Santuzza, or the Little Saint, by the people of Palermo and each year her shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. 

Overnight: Palermo (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 5
Palermo

After breakfast, we visit Palermo with the local guide. Palermo holds a unique place amid cities of the world due to its rich cultural and historical heritage, and also its gastronomy. Due to the historical political conflicts in Sicily, the architecture in Palermo is a mix of Arab, Byzantine, Roman, Norman and modern. The centre of the city is a fascinating mix of grand palaces, churches and other fine buildings interspersed with narrow streets of crumbling yet beautiful ancient houses.  Palermo’s Cathedral holds the central position.  Other important landmarks include Chiesa della Martorana, San Cataldo’s Church, the baroque church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini the Capella Palatina inside the Palazzo dei Normanni, and San Giovanni degli Eremiti, which is a blend of Gothic and Arab architecture  Break for lunch. Then we drive towards Monreale, situated a few kilometers south of Palermo, in north-western Sicily. The town is in a pretty setting of orchards of olives and oranges.  Monreale Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals to be found in Sicily and is a very fine 12th century Norman monument founded by King William II. Celebrate Mass     Although it is mostly the Cathedral that will detain you, be sure to spend a little time exploring Monreale itself. It is a pleasant workaday Italian town with a selection of interesting artisan – gift type shops. Return to our hotel in Palermo – Some free time for shopping before dinner and overnight   

Overnight: Palermo (B, D) 

DAY 6
Catania

Today enjoy a full day in Syracuse. In the morning, visit the catacombs of St John, the largest underground graveyard in Syracuse, used from the 3rd to 4th century A.D. We will celebrate Mass at the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Tears, also known as the Weeping Madonna of Syracuse. For four days in 1953, in the home of a young couple, a plaster plaque of the Immaculate Heart of Mary cried tears. It was declared miraculous in the 1960’s. In the afternoon we will visit Ortigia. This was a center of Greek, Byzantine and Judaic civilization. Physical evidence of these three cultures can still be seen today, making Ortygia a fascinating place to visit for the historic patrimony we have inherited from classical mythology, early Christianity and medieval Judaism. Visit the Cathedral, Aretuza Fountain, and Archimedes Square. In the afternoon we return to Catania , to enjoy free time for shopping and an evening at leisure.  

Overnight: Catania (B, D) 

DAY 7
Athens

This morning we transfer to the airport for our short flights to Athens. Enjoy a city tour of Athens. Check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.  

Overnight: Athens (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 8
Cruise

Early this morning we depart Athens for Piraeus and at 11:00 a.m. sail into the Aegean Sea. Our first island is one of the islands belonging to the Cyclades group of islands. This mountainous island of Mykonos has about 400 churches. City of a picturesque white houses and island’s trademark the charming windmills. Place has a unique architecture of Byzantine and Western characteristics. To visit are Church of the Virgin Paraportiani, on the main square Cathedral and an old Catholic Church and many boutiques and taverns along tiny paved streets. Return on board of the ship.     

Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner)    

DAY 9
Cruise

This morning you will arrive at the Turkish port city of Kusadasi. From here you will travel to Ephesus, where the Blessed Virgin Mary lived with St. John in a small house on the hill behind the city. Here you will have Mass before traveling down to the ancient city where you can walk the marble roads rutted by wheels of countless chariots and pass the ruins of architectural masterpieces. It is here that St. Paul preached to the Ephesians, and where he was arrested and cast out of the city. In the afternoon you will visit the island of Patmos, where St. John wrote the apocalyptic Book of Revelations. On our excursion we will visit the cave where he lived, now the site of a monastery housing priceless icons and manuscripts.    

Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10
Cruise

Today on the last day of the cruise group will enjoy on their own visiting Heraklion on the island of Crete and visit to Fira town on the island of Santorini – optional excursion on Crete to Knossos Palace is offered for those interested on more activities on the last cruise day.      

Overnight: Cruise Ship (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 11
Tiberias

Disembark our cruise ship and transfer to the airport for our flights to the Holy Land. After we arrive we immediately continue out pilgrimage by heading to Caesarea by the Sea to visit the Roman Crusader remains before we continue to Haifa. Upon arrival in Haifa, we will visit Stella Maris, a Carmelite Monastery with the Madonna of Mt Carmel. Next, we stop at the Baha’i Gardens, which includes a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. We continue to Nazareth and the Basilica of Annunciation where we will celebrate Mass. We enjoy a visit to Joseph’s carpentry shop before we continue Cana, where couples will have the opportunity to renew wedding vows. We continue to Tiberias where we check into our hotel before dinner and overnight. Overnight: Tiberias (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 12
Tiberias

Some of today’s highlights are a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum to see the synagogue and St Peter’s house, a visit to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter’s Primacy where Peter was told ” Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” There will be an unforgettable Mass near the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the Primacy or Mt Beatitudes. Next, we head the Magdala Center, the village of Mary Magdalene, where we visit the newly built church on site and the newly excavated ruins.  

Overnight: Tiberias (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 13
Bethlehem

This morning we head to Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration where we celebrate Mass before we continue to Jordan River, Dead Sea, Jericho. At the oasis town of Jericho, visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world and view Mt.  Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. We are then led to the river Jordan where we remember Christ’s Baptism. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. We then have a visit to Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead before returning to Bethlehem for dinner and overnight.  Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 14
Bathlehem

On our first day in the Holy Land, we present an overview for a better understanding of its geography and some of the key sites surrounding the area and what makes it such a unique area to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We then head to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and to the Church of Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the ‘Magnificat’. In the afternoon we drive to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that stands upon the site where Jesus was born. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 15
Bethlehem

We begin our day with a visit to the Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed, continue to the Chapel of Ascension where Jesus ascended into heaven. Next, we visit the church of Pater Noster where Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Next, we walk the Palm Sunday road, stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then to Gethsemane, the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed His last prayer before his arrest. Next, we head to Mount Zion, visiting the cave of Assumption (Dormition Abbey) of Mary to heaven. We visit the room of the Last Supper, King David’s Tomb, and the Church of St. Peter Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus three times. We end our day visiting the Palace of Caiaphas, home of the corrupt Jewish high priest. We enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner) 

DAY 16
Bethlehem
After breakfast we head to Jerusalem and start our visit with St Anne Church (the traditional birthplace of the Virgin Mary). Continue to view the Sisters of Zion, Ecco Homo where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man.” Next, we retrace the last steps of Jesus as we walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross at each station shrine, we reflect on the greatness of His sacrifice. Finally, we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Mass. We visit the Notre Dame Center in Vatican property, where we visit the Museum of the Shroud of the Man (three-dimension replica of the Shroud of Jesus). Dinner and overnight at our hotel. 
Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner) 
Day 17
Return Home

Today we board our flights home to the United States taking with us memories that will last a lifetime. 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 4-5 Star Hotels
  • Roundtrip Flights
  • Air-conditioned Motor Coach
  • Professional Licensed Tour Guide
  • Accommodations (based on double occupancy)
  • Entrance Fees as per itinerary
  • All Meals per Itinerary
  • Gratuities

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Passport and Visas (Refer to the section below for Passports or Visas help)

TRAVEL INSURANCE

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