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Holy Land tour minus the Egypt leg, here it is

If you have ever gone to Holy Land, you may have found that one third of your trip was a waste. If your intention is to see Pyramids, then you will be in for a shock as Father Warner Dsouza of Bombay Archdiocese describes it as a “half an hour which includes security, a group photo (the guides must get their cut and so you must have a picture) and finally you get to touch the pyramid and come back.”

Holy Land tour minus the Egypt leg, here it is

If you have ever gone to Holy Land, you may have found that one third of your trip was a waste. If your intention is to see Pyramids, then you will be in for a shock as Father Warner Dsouza of Bombay Archdiocese describes it as a “half an hour which includes security, a group photo (the guides must get their cut and so you must have a picture) and finally you get to touch the pyramid and come back.”

Though Egypt forms part of the Biblical journey, it doesn’t deserve one third part of your time especially when you travel by bus over 900 kilometers spread over four days. Here is the link to Fr Warner’s experience when he went for a trip and it is worth reading.

And this must be the reason he has designed his own itinerary which doesn’t include Egypt at all. He has instead focused on the Life and Ministry of Jesus in Israel. Reserved for 45 people at a cost of Rs 1.1 lakh each, his first voyage starts from Sept 3 to 11th 2019. He has added daily Eucharist and reflections at the monumental sites itself. Here is the schedule.

DAY 01- Tuesday (03/09/2019) MUMBAI - TEL AVIV – NAZARETH
Assemble at Mumbai International Airport. Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel at 16:50. Meet our airport representative who will assist the group to the coach. Check-in at the hotel in Nazareth. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 02- Wednesday (04/09/2019) NAZARETH – CANA
After breakfast we visit Nazareth, the boyhood town of Jesus and home of Mary and Joseph. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation built over the grotto where Archangel Gabriel appeared to announce that she would bear a son, Jesus. Holy Mass will be celebrated in this Basilica. We also stop by St. Joseph's workshop. Lunch at the restaurant. Thereafter we visit Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle - changing water into wine at the wedding feast. Shopping of Cana Wine and other religious articles. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 03- Thursday (05/09/2019) MT TABOR – MT OF BEATITUDES – CAPERNAUM – JORDAN RIVER
After breakfast, visit Mount Tabor (site of Transfiguration of Jesus). Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church. We visit the Church of the Beatitudes, where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. We also stop at Tabgha - the Church of the Multiplication of the Five Loaves and Two Fishes. We visit the Church of Primacy of Peter (the place where Jesus bestowed on St. Peter the authority of the church). This place is also believed to be the place where Jesus dined with his disciples, the flat rock known as Mensa Christy (Christ's Table). Lunch at the restaurant. Then we visit Yardenit on the Jordan River (the traditional Baptismal site). Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 04- Friday (06/09/2019) CAPERNAUM - SEA OF GALILEE
After breakfast, we visit Capernaum - the center of Jesus' ministry after He left the town of Nazareth. We visit St Peter’s house. Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church. We also visit the ruins of a synagogue where Jesus would often visit on Sabbath Day. Lunch at the restaurant. Thereafter we drive through the landscapes of Galilee and later for a ride in a replica of a Galilean fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee (where Jesus calmed the storm and walked on the water). Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 05- Saturday (07/09/2019) HAIFA - MT. CARMEL – EIN KAREM – BETHLEHEM
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and continue via the city of Caesarea to Haifa, Israel's largest port city, built on the slopes of Mt. Carmel. We visit Church of Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) and Prophet Elijah’s Cave. Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church. We also visit the Hanging Gardens of Haifa for a view of the Bahai Shrine with Mediterranean Sea in the background. Lunch at the restaurant. Thereafter we visit Ein Karem, located in the hills next to a little spring. This is the city of Judah and Birthplace of John the Baptist, son of Elizabeth & Zechariah. We visit the Church of Visitation (Mary’s visit to Elizabeth). Proceed to Bethlehem. Check in the hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 06 – Sunday (08/09/2019) VIA DOLOROSA – GOLGOTHA – WAILING WALL – MOUNT ZION
After breakfast we proceed to Church of St Anne (childhood home of Virgin Mary) near the Pools of Bethesda (where Jesus cured the paralytic man). Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church. And from there we take the Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief), traditionally accepted as the last route trodden by Jesus. Follow the 14 Stations of the Cross to Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified. The last 5 Stations of the Cross are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (visible from the distance with two silver domes).

Then we go to the Jewish Quarter to visit the Wailing Wall, which is the holiest place for the Jewish religion. Lunch at the restaurant. Next we visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, which symbolizes Peter's Denial of Jesus as He has prophesied at the Last Supper and then visit the traditional house of high priest - Caiaphas (where Jesus was imprisoned). We then visit the Last Supper Room (Cenacle) and the tomb of King David on Mount Zion. We also visit the Dormition Abbey. It is identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary “fell asleep”. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 07 – Monday (09/09/2019) MOUNT OF OLIVES - JERICHO- DEAD SEA
After breakfast, we check-out of the hotel and proceed to Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. We visit the Chapel of the Ascension and Church of the Pater Noster (teaching of the Lord’s Prayer). Walk along the Palm Sunday Road down to Dominus Flevit Church (where Jesus wept over eminent destruction of Jerusalem) and Church of All Nations or Basilica of the Agony next to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here Jesus prayed while Judah betrayed him to the Romans. Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church.

We also visit the Empty Tomb of Mary. Lunch at the restaurant. Thereafter we proceed to Jericho. We visit Mt. of Temptation with Cable Car to see the Monastery of the Temptation. We also visit the Sycamore Tree (the place where Jesus stopped on His way to Jerusalem, on the Eve of the Passover and were Jesus cured the blind man during His stay at Zachaeus house). We then visit the Tomb of Lazarus. Thereafter, we proceed to Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth (1305 ft. below sea level), make a brief stop at a private beach and take the opportunity to float in the salty buoyant water, rich in minerals. Return to Jerusalem through the Judean desert via the Good Samaritan Inn. We check in the hotel at Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 08- Tuesday (10/09/2019) BETHLEHEM – NATIVITY CHURCH – YAD VASHEM

After breakfast, we proceed to Bethlehem to visit the Shepherd’s Field, which is located in the Judah province. It was here that the Angels announced the “Birth of Jesus” to the shepherds of Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod. Also, here David tended his flocks until he was anointed King of Israel. Holy Mass will be celebrated in this church. Thereafter we visit the Church of Nativity (The Birth-place of Jesus). We also visit the Milk Grotto Church. According to tradition, while Mary and Joseph were fleeing Herod’s soldiers on their way to Egypt, they stopped in this cave while Mary nursed “Baby Jesus”.

A drop of Mary’s milk fell upon the stone and it turned white. This church is especially frequented by new mothers and women who are trying to conceive. Lunch at the restaurant. We visit Yad Vashem. It is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead; honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors and Gentiles who selflessly aided Jews in need; and researching the phenomenon of the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, with the aim of avoiding such events in the future. If time permits, we will visit Israel Museum. Here in, the Shrine of the Book, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and artifacts discovered at Masada. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 09- Wednesday (11/09/2019) TEL AVIV - MUMBAI

After breakfast we check-out of the hotel and proceed to Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv for our onward flight to Mumbai.

So if you are not keen on Egypt leg, latch on to this.

Note : Living in Faith has no financial or any other arrangements to this tour.

Image Courtesy:www.pottypadre.com (Used with permission)

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