– EASTERN EUROPE & THE HOLY LAND –
DEPARTURE DATE: To Be Advised
TOUR CODE: 4PV10
Meal Plan – B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner
DEPART FOR THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Afternoon arrival into the golden city of Prague famous for its Gothic and Baroque architecture and ranked as one of the most beautifully preserved cities in Europe. We will meet our guide and board our coach for a panoramic tour to catch our first glimpses of the city. Enjoy a stop at the Town Hall with the astronomical clock.
The first special Mass of our pilgrimage will be celebrated before dinner.
Prague overnight (D)
Our pilgrimage begins today with a walking tour of Prague. Visit St Vitus Cathedral, the city’s most distinctive landmark which houses the crown jewels and the tomb of ‘Good King’ Wenceslas. Continue on to the Hradcany area and the Prague Castle.
Nearby we come to Prague Loreto, a remarkable place of pilgrimage and artistic monument constructed in the 17th century at the request of Baroness Katharina von Lobkowitz as a tribute to the Holy House of Loreto (Santa Casa) that witnessed the solemn moment of the Incarnation. See the many chapels, the clock tower with its famous chime, the Treasury with its beautiful Diamond Monstrance, and the Santa Casa.
We celebrate Mass today at the Church of Our Lady Victorious where we come face to face with the Holy Infant of Prague. This wax figure has an impressive record of miracle cures and is one of the most revered images in the Catholic world.
Prague overnight (BD)
PRAGUE TO CZESTOCHOWA
Depart Prague this morning as we journey east into Poland through the lush green countryside.
We stop for lunch and some time to wander the picturesque village of Klodzko. See the Gothic St John’s Bridge with its striking statues and the fortress towering over the town.
We reboard our coach and continue on to Czestochowa where the fortress monastery of the Pauline monks of Jasna Gora (meaning Bright Hill) is located. We will travel direct to our centrally located hotel, and celebrate Mass at one of the beautiful local chapels or monasteries.
Czestochowa overnight (BD)
(FEAST OF OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA)
Czestochowa is home to the cherished miraculous icon of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, an object of veneration for centuries (also known as the Black Madonna). Attracting more than five million pilgrims every year, Our Lady of Czestochowa is recognized as one of the most visited places of Christian pilgrimage in the world.
Today we will join in the celebrations at the shrine for the Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa. We will also tour the Basilica, Treasury, Museum and Knights Hall.
An optional later visit to Jura Krakowsko, part of the Polish Jurassic Rock Upland will be enjoyed as the fit and able take a walk up the hill to the ruins of the Gothic Castle of Olsztyn.
Czestochowa overnight (BD)
VIA WADOWICE TO KRAKOW
Departing Czestochowa this morning we journey south to Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla (the late Pope John Paul II) where we enter his family house and even the grounds where he used to play Football! The central point of the town is the market square with its Parish Church, and the famous Baptismal basin where Karol was baptized. We will celebrate our group Mass here. Next to the church we find the Pope’s birthplace and the nearby Museum encompassing the former home of the Wojtyla family.
En route to Krakow we visit the celebrated Marian site of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which remains the favourite boyhood shrine of Bl. Pope John Paul II.
Krakow overnight (BD)
For a medieval city that also survived World War II, Krakow is remarkably well preserved, making it a great destination for those interested in history or architecture.
Here in Krakow we bask in the two-fold grace of Divine Mercy and Blessed John Paul II who served as the city’s Archbishop. Today we will enter the Wawel Cathedral where in the crypt below Fr Karol was ordained in 1946 and celebrated his first Mass. View St. Florians Church where we will celebrate Mass, and where the young Karol developed a flourishing underground youth ministry at great risk.
Travel on to St Mary’s Church, University and Market Square to experience one of the most beautiful medieval city centres in Europe.
Krakow overnight (BD)
Our morning will feature an enthralling tour of the famous Wieliczka Salt Mines, the oldest operational mines in Europe and dating back to the 13th century.
We spend the afternoon at the inspired Shrine of Divine Mercy where, between 1931 – 1938 Our Lord appeared to Sr Faustina Kowalska (a Polish Sister of Mercy) entrusting with her the mission of spreading His message of merciful love for humanity. During our visit we will celebrate Mass at the shrine, and witness the miraculous image of the Merciful Jesus before venerating the tomb of St Faustina.
Krakow overnight (BD)
KRAKOW TO KAZIMIERZ DOLNY
We farewell Krakow today, travelling north-east by coach through scenic countryside to the quaint village of Kazimierz Dolny. On arrival we will visit and celebrate Mass in the Church of Sts John the Baptist & Batholomew. We then proceed to our hotel for check-in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore at our own pace.
Kazimierz Dolny is a small picturesque village in Central Poland, on the right bank of the Vistula River. Historically it belongs to Lesser Poland, and in the past it used to be one of the most important cities of the Lublin Voivodeship (province).
Kazimierz Dolny overnight (BD)
FLY TO THE HOLY LAND
Today we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to the Holy Land of Israel known as the land of the “fifth Gospel”. On arrival at Tel Aviv airport we will be met and transferred to Bethlehem, the City of David – the perfect way to begin our pilgrimage through the life of Jesus.
Bethlehem overnight (BD)
BETHLEHEM & SURROUNDS
Theme: The Birth of Jesus
Our pilgrimage begins this morning in Ein Karem, the birthplace of St John the Baptist and site of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43). Pilgrims may choose to pray a mystery of the Rosary here as we walk up to this church dedicated to ‘The Magnificat’.
Continue on to the Israel Museum where we have an orientation viewing of the Second Temple scale model of Jerusalem as it was in the time of Jesus. Then proceed to the Shrine of the Book to view the Dead Sea Scrolls with our own eyes.
We travel on to Shepherd’s Field to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night (Lk 2:8-16). We celebrate our group Mass here in a local cave. Return to Bethlehem where we will visit the Church of the Nativity built over the stable where Jesus was born. Bending low, we enter the church through the Door of Humility and descend into the Grotto of the Holy Manger. A silver star in the floor marks the very spot where Christ was born. The star’s inscription reads in Latin: Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus Natus Est (Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born).
Bethlehem overnight (BD)
VIA NAZARETH TO GALILEE
Theme: The Formative Years of Jesus
We depart Bethlehem this morning and journey north to the crusader port city of Caesarea to see the maritime city built by Herod the Great and once the Roman capital of Israel. It was here the centurion Cornelius was baptized by Peter, becoming the first gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10), and where Festus tried Paul (Acts 25: 6-12). Visit the impressive excavations, the amphitheatre and the Herodian port.
Continue on towards Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ childhood. Firstly visit the nearby Nazareth Village, a recreation of the town and village life of Nazareth as in the days of Jesus. Here enjoy a traditional meal and take a parable walk back in time along the path which brings to life the environment and atmosphere which shaped Jesus’ early years and ministry.
Later in Nazareth township, we will enter inside the Basilica of the Annunciation where a traditional cave becomes the focal point of Mary’s response “Let it be done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Celebrate a touching Eucharist here. Also see the Church of St Joseph and a traditional Jewish synagogue (Synagogue Church) similar to that in which the Holy Family would have worshipped.
Travel east and onto Tiberias on the shores of Lake Galilee … “Go to Galilee and you will find him there” (Mt 28:7).
Sea of Galilee overnight (BLD)
SEA OF GALILEE
Theme: The Galilean Ministry of Jesus
Our memorable Galilee day begins in Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ teaching and healing and home to Peter the Apostle (Mt 4:12-20). After exploring this site, we travel through Sowers Bay and reflect on the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-9) before continuing through Magdala, the town of Mary Magdalene.
Visit the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz, within which is preserved the remains of a first century fishing boat as in the days of Christ. We then set off from the shore in a traditional sailing vessel to encounter one of our most memorable pilgrimage highlights – a Private Mass floating in the centre of Lake Galilee with engines switched off. Here we will recall the miracles of Jesus calming the storm and appearing to the apostles walking on this very water. After Mass, we will continue back to the shore for our special ‘St Peter’s fish’ lunch.
Travel this afternoon around the lake to Korazin to relive the parables of the House built on the rock and the persevering widow. Journey on to Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Mt 14:20), before an important stop at the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Jesus challenged Peter and each one of us ‘Do you really love me, feed my sheep’. Here we will spend some quiet time to reflect and pray by the shore of the lake.
MT. TABOR & CANA
Theme: The Transfiguration
We travel out this morning to the foot of Mt Tabor before ascending by taxis up the narrow winding road leading to the majestic summit. Here Our Lord’s divinity shone forth in the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-2). After a memorable Mass in this breathtaking setting we will better understand Peter’s words ‘Lord it is good for us to be here’.
Continue on to the village of Cana where Jesus, at the request of His Mother, performed his first miracle transforming the water into wine at the wedding feast (Jn 2:1-11). Here, married couples may take the opportunity to renew their wedding vows, and single and widowed pilgrims will receive a special blessing.
Enjoy a free afternoon at leisure.
Sea of Galilee overnight (BD)
VIA JACOB’S WELL & TAYBEH TO JERUSALEM
Theme: Living Water – Living Stones
Our day begins with Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes as we take time in this special place to ponder Jesus’ message of happiness – the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-12).
We farewell Lake Galilee and travel south to Nain where we relive the story of the dead son whom Jesus healed and gave back to his mother (Lk 7:15). Continue south through Samaria, a land rich in Old Testament history. We see the twin peaks of Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal, known in the Old Testament as Mt. Blessing and Mt Cursing. Mt Gerizim is today the home of the few remaining Samaritans. Pass by Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and through the beautiful Levonah Valley referred to in Judges as the Valley of the Dancers.
Soon we come to the actual site of Jacob’s Well, hewn manually out of solid rock and over 100 feet deep. The water at the bottom of the well is fed by flowing water which is why ancients gave it the name of “living water”. It is at this well that Jesus met the Samaritan woman and said to her: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:13-14)
Our afternoon brings us to Taybeh, a unique Christian village on the edge of the Judean wilderness. This living community is linked to Ephraim (Jn 11:54) where it is said Jesus and his disciples sought refuge after the Council of Priests asked for his execution. The village has been a Christian outpost ever since and here we will be able to see an ancient farmer’s house. In such a house farmers would have lived in and kept their animals in the manger below as in the time of Jesus’ birth. Visit the church here where local Catholics have practiced their faith for generations.
Finally we continue our journey up to Jerusalem – the City of our God.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: Holy Thursday & Palm Sunday
We will proceed to the Mt of Olives this morning where we will firstly visit the Church of the ‘Pater Noster’ commemorating the site where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:7-15). We then enjoy a panoramic view over the city and a spectacular photographic opportunity. As we commence our walk down the Palm Sunday Road, we wander past the tombs of the Prophets Haggai, Malachi and Zechariah before arriving at the Dominus Flevit for Mass. This church was built on the site where Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem (Lk 19:41-44).
We then visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where we will enter the Church of the Agony containing the bare rock upon which Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. The outside garden contains olive trees, the roots of which go back to the time of Jesus. From here we see the path Jesus was taken along as a prisoner while ascending Mt Zion to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. Here, at the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, Our Lord was interrogated and imprisoned, while Peter denied Jesus three times. Continue on to the Cenacle, room of the Last Supper and the Church of Dormition where Our Lady was assumed into heaven.
This evening, after dinner, we will journey back to the Garden of Gethsemane for a memorable Holy Hour to contemplate the Agony of Our Lord in the darkened Basilica.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
Theme: The Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus
After breakfast we travel to the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock, El Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing Wall. Then we come to the Church of St Anne, said to be built over the birthplace of the Virgin Mary, and visit the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2-9).
We then commence our Stations of the Cross, beginning from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned to death. See the Lithostrotos (pavement) in the Ecce Homo convent. Visit nearby the Flagellation and Condemnation Chapels as we pray and follow in Our Lord’s footsteps along the actual Via Dolorosa to the site of Calvary where we will celebrate Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Walk the stairway climbing to the actual site where the Cross of Jesus once stood. The glass panels reveal the natural rock below which we may come to touch with our pilgrim hands. Also enter the Edicule containing the tomb where Our Lord rose from the dead.
Free time this afternoon.
This evening, after dinner, we hope to take the opportunity to visit the Pontifical Institute – Notre Dame Jerusalem Centre to experience a unique presentation on the Shroud of Turin.
Jerusalem overnight (BD)
MASADA, JERICHO & MT TEMPTATION
Theme: Desert Encounters
Travel along the Jericho Road as we remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and journey through desert hills and dry rocky landscape. Soon our coach will pass by the site of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy.
We continue south along the Dead Sea to the historical Masada where, on arrival, we will embark on the cable car offering spectacular scenery to the summit. Here we will enjoy a guided tour of Herod’s fortress and the Zealot’s last stand.
Travel then back to Jericho the ‘City of Palms’ which is said to be the oldest inhabited city and most famous oasis. Across the valley we ascend by cable car to the Mt of Temptation, the site of Jesus’ fast of 40 days and there are enough stones to illustrate Satan’s words “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves”. Here on Mt Temptation we will enjoy a traditional Palestinian meal before an optional short walk to the nearby Greek Orthodox Monastery.
After our descent we continue back towards Jerusalem before reliving the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in Bethany. Here we will celebrate Mass at the Church of St Lazarus before continuing back to our hotel.
For our final night of pilgrimage, we will enjoy a special farewell dinner.
Jerusalem overnight (BLD)
JERUSALEM TO PETRA
We depart the Holy Land this morning, crossing the border into Jordan and journeying south along the Biblical ‘Kings Highway’ to the magnificent ancient trading city of Petra, known as the ‘Red Rose City’ and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Here we are positioned in the biblical land of Moab (Judges 11:17-18).
Petra overnight (BD)
Theme: Ancient Wonders
Enjoy an unforgettable guided walking tour this morning of the ruins from ancient Petra – the city that the Nabateans carved out of solid rock dating back to 300 BC! Our visit will follow a passage through the Siq, a chasm created in a prehistoric earthquake. It is one of the special moments to walk through this canyon which dramatically opens up to reveal the Treasury Building (Al Khasne) – a never to be forgotten experience. We will see also the Roman Theatre, Corinthian tomb along with churches, homes and many other buildings from this fascinating period.
The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure.
Petra overnight (BD)
PETRA TO THE DEAD SEA
Theme: Desert Mosaics
After a leisurely breakfast we travel north on the Biblical Kings Highway towards the Dead Sea, via Wadi Mujib, known as the ‘Jordanian Grand Canyon’. Here we will enjoy a wonderful photographic opportunity as we gaze at the amazing gorges below that make up part of the Jordan valley trekked by John the Baptist.
Continue north for a visit to St Georges Church in Madaba with its precious 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land comprised of more than two million pieces. After this some free time will be afforded to explore the fascinating township of Madaba, the ‘City of Mosaics’, taking the opportunity for lunch and to browse the local crafts.
This afternoon we arrive at the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea to check-in to our beautiful hotel located down on the shore. Here we will unwind and take the optional opportunity to float in the salty waters said to have healing qualities. The experience is quite uplifting!!
Dead Sea overnight (BD)
After a leisurely start we check-out of our hotel and travel the short distance to Bethany Beyond the Jordan, one of the most recent archaeological and religious discoveries. The five springs here form a tributary of the Jordan River and believed to be the Baptismal site of Jesus by John the Baptist. So authentic is this site that His Holiness Benedict XVI chose this as an essential place to visit on his last pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
From here we are transferred to Amman airport for our homebound flight connections.
For more information phone Marguerite on 0487 29448.