Holy Land, Rome, and Sicily Pilgrimage
Moderate – High
Join us on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land where we can follow in Jesus’ Footsteps from his birth and ministry to his ultimate sacrifice.
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 May be withdrawn at any time.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.
Depart for your flights to Rome. Dinner on-board, relax, and anticipate your arrival the next day.
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. Overnight: Rome (Dinner)
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. Overnight: Rome (Breakfast, Dinner)
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)
Palermo – Monreale
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 (Breakfast, Dinner)
Syracuse / 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 (Breakfast, Dinner)
Transfer to the Holy Land
This morning following breakfast we board out flights from Catania Airport to the Holy Land with our connecting flight in Rome. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we will be greeted by our Holy Land Travel Center Representative and tour guide who will be accompanying us during the pilgrimage. We will immediately transfer to our hotel in Bethlehem to rest after this day of traveling. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
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. Here we will celebrate Mass before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Bethlehem (Breakfast, Dinner)
After breakfast, we head 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 then head to the top of Mount Precipice for a breathtaking view over the Sea of Galilee. We continue to Tiberias where we check into our hotel before dinner and overnight. Overnight: Tiberias (Breakfast, Dinner)
The Ministry Of Christ In The Galilee
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.” 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. Celebrate Mass before proceeding back to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Tiberias (Breakfast, Dinner)
This morning we head to Mount Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration where we celebrate Mass. Continue to the river Jordan where we remember Christ’s Baptism. Afterwards, we proceed to 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. Take a cable car up to the Mount of Temptation for a closer view of the Mount and spectacular views over Jericho. On the way back there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. Continue to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Jerusalem (Breakfast, Dinner)
Jerusalem, The Passion of Jesus' Last Hours
We begin our day with a visit to the Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed. 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 where we will celebrate Mass. Visit the room of the Last Supper before we make our way to visit the Dome of the Rock. We then enjoy a guided tour of the Western Wall Tunnels. We end our day with a visit to the Church of St. Peter Gallicantu, where Peter denied Jesus three times. Enjoy dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Jerusalem (Breakfast, Dinner)
The Way of the Cross
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. Free time to visit the Old City Market Souk in Jerusalem with your guide. Dinner and overnight at our hotel. Overnight: Jerusalem (Breakfast, Dinner)
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
We recommend that all travelers purchase a travel protection plan to help protect themselves and their trip investment. Travel protection plans can provide coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical expenses and emergency evacuation/repatriation, trip delay, baggage delay, and more. Please go to the link below to learn more Click here for Travel Insurance Details.
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