St Patrick’s 12-days Holy Land in April/May 2020

• Fr David Evans •  23 April to 6 May 2020

Journey through the Fifth Gospel in the Holy Land.
A special pilgrimage presented by St Patrick’s parish in Benoni.

Fall in love with the Lord again on this special Journey through the Fifth Gospel: The places of Our Lord’s incarnation, ministry, crucifixion and Resurrection in the Holy Land. This 12-day/11-night pilgrimage to the Holy Land was designed especially for and by St Patrick’s parish to provide the spiritual treasures of the Holy Land in an unhurried itinerary, and giving us some time to explore the many great offerings of this land at leisure.

The pilgrimage will be led by Fr David Evans with a knowledgeable Christian guide who will bring alive the sites through his erudite explanations.

Thursday, April 23
We depart from Johannesburg to leave on our direct night-flight to Tel Aviv for our special Holy Land pilgrimage.

Friday, April 24
We land in Tel Aviv where we are met by our tour guide. We then go to Ein Kerem, the place in the Judean hill country which Mary rushed to after the Annunciation to visit her cousin Elizabeth. In the courtyard of the Church of the Visitation the Magnificat is reproduced in many languages. At the foot of the hill, a grotto in the Church of St John the Baptist marks the spot of John’s birth. After lunch we proceed to our hotel in Bethlehem, where we have the afternoon at leisure. Overnight: Bethlehem

Bethlehem: The silver star that marks the place of Jesus birth in the Basilica of the Nativity.

Saturday, April 25
Today we tour Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The spot of Our Lord’s birth is marked with a silver star in the grotto of the ancient Basilica of the Nativity. Among the caves beneath the church we see Jerome’s Cave, where the 4th-century saint translated the Bible into Latin. Adjacent is the Roman Catholic St Catherine’s Church and the Franciscan convent’s grounds. The Milk Grotto marks the cave where the Holy Family hid during the Massacre of the Innocents. Many infertile couples have come to pray here and reported falling pregnant afterwards. Shepherds’ Field, at Beit-Sahour just outside Bethlehem, recalls the angels announcing the birth of the Messiah to the lowly shepherds. In Bethlehem we have the opportunity to do some quality souvenir shopping, especially of the locally-produced olive wood carvings. Overnight: Bethlehem

Sunday, April 26
After breakfast we drive north to Galilee, to Nazareth, the hometown of the Holy Family. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation with the grotto where the Archangel greeted Mary with the words “Hail Mary, full of grace”, and the nearby church of St Joseph, or Carpenter’s Workshop. We see Mary’s Well, where Our Lady drew water, and other sites associated with the Holy Family. We stop at the Synagogue Church, which recalls the townspeople’s anger at Jesus’ teachings. We then visit Cana, site of Our Lord’s first miracle, where our couples may renew their wedding vows. We then proceed to the city of Haifa, which is located at the Mediterranean Sea. Overnight: Haifa

The Crusader Citalel of Acre, in Akko.

Monday, April 27
In Haifa we admire stunning Hanging Gardens of the Baha’i Temple. On Mount Carmel, where the Carmelite Order was founded, we visit Stella Maris monastery and church which holds Elijah’s Cave. We then proceed to the Crusader city of Akko, where we see the remains of the Crusader harbour and tour the magnificent Citadel of Acre which gives us an idea of the life of those medieval knights. We then drive across the Galilee to our hotel at the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Tiberias

Tuesday, April 28
Today is the first of two days during which we explore the area around the Sea of Galilee, where most of Jesus’ public ministry took place. At Tabgha a church recalls the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, with mosaics from the fifth century. The nearby chapel of Peter’s Primacy marks the place where the risen Christ entrusted the Church to St Peter. Here we can take off our shoes and put our feet in the waters of the lake on which Our Lord walked! At Capernaum we can see the remains of Peter’s house and of a fourth-century synagogue built on top of the one in which Jesus preached (the foundations of which we can still see). We visit Migdal (or Magdala), where we see the recently excavated synagogue from Jesus’ time, and visit the new church, whose altar takes the shape of a fishing boat. For lunch we have the opportunity to eat the St Peter’s fish, or Tilapia, from the Sea of Galilee (of course, alternatives are available). Overnight: Tiberias

Garden on the Mount of Beatitudes.

Wednesday, April 29
Today we do something very unusual: we have Mass on a replica of an old fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee! We visit the Mount of Beatitudes with its octagonal church (in which the altar is in the middle). In the beautiful gardens, which overlook the Sea of Galilee, we have time for some reflection. We drive to the Horns of Hattin, a steep double-hill where in 1187 Saladin’s army defeated the Crusaders. We have the afternoon at leisure to explore the many activities on offer in Tiberias, a city at the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Tiberias

Thursday, April 30
After breakfast, we drive to Mount Tabor, site of the Transfiguration, from where we can survey the fertile Jezreel Valley. At the foot of the mount uis the village of Nain, where a church commemorates Jesus’ miracle of raising the widow’s son from the dead. We then drive south. When we emerge from a tunnel, look left to see the Holy City of Jerusalem. We go to the Israel Museum to see a large model of Jerusalem as it was in the first century, in the time of Jesus and to view the Dead Sea Scrolls. Overnight: Jerusalem

The Rock of the Agony in the Church of All Nations in the garden of Gethsemane.

Friday, May 1
Jerusalem! We begin our pilgrimage to the Holy City on top of the Mount of Olives at the small chapel, now a mosque, which marks the spot from which Catholics believe Christ ascended into Heaven (see His reputed footprint in a stone there). As we walk down the mount we visit Paternoster Church, where the Lord’s Prayer is displayed in hundreds of languages, including several South African versions, and Dominus Flevit Church, which is on the spot where Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept for its impending destruction (here we can take photos of the famous panorama of Jerusalem). At the foot of the mount we arrive at the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive trees, and the magnificent Church of All Nations with the Rock of Agony, on which Jesus is believed to have prayed before His arrest. Across the street we visit Mary’s Tomb, from which Our Lady was assumed into heaven. Overnight: Jerusalem

Saturday, May 2
After breakfast, we visit Bethany, the town where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary and Martha, and where he raised Lazarus from the dead. We then drive to visit the Qasr El-Yahud baptismal site on the River Jordan, which the Vatican recognises as the authentic location of the baptism. Here we renew our baptismal vows. We have lunch in Jericho, the world’s lowest-lying and oldest continuously occupied city. In the city centre we see the sycamore tree which tradition says descends from the one that Zacchaeus the Tax Collector was sitting in when Jesus came to town. From an observation point outside Jericho we have a great view of the Mount of Temptation, the place where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. We then proceed to the Dead Sea, where we can float on the water — and also enjoy a drink at the world’s lowest-lying bar, at 418 metres below sea level! Overnight: Jerusalem

Mount Zion: The steps next to the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu on which Our Lord walked.

Sunday, May 3
On Jerusalem’s Mount Zion we visit the impressive Dormition Abbey, where Our Lady fell into her sleep. The Cenacle (or Upper Room) commemorates the Last Supper, the Risen Lord’s first appearance to the disciples, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. In the same complex is the Tomb of David. At the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin and kept in a dungeon, where today we pray. A sculpture in the courtyard recalls Peter’s triple denial of Our Lord. Next to the church we can see the steps from the 1st-century BC on which we know Jesus actually walked! After lunch, we have the afternoon at leisure, perhaps to explore the Old City and visit the Western Wall or do other activities. The parish has a list of exciting things to do in Jerusalem. Overnight: Jerusalem

Monday, May 4
This is the day we prayerfully follow the Stations of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s Old City. The Way of the Cross culminates in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, our faith’s holiest site. Here, in the Chapel of Calvary, we touch the rock at the actual place where the cross stood and pray in the Tomb of the Resurrection from which Our Lord rose from the dead.
We also visit the birthplace of Our Lady, the lovely St Anne’s Church, a Crusader church on the site of the home of Saints Anne & Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin. At the Pools of Bethesda Our Lord cured the lame man. In the afternoon we have some time at leisure in the Old City. Overnight: Jerusalem

Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Beneath the altar pilgrims touch the spot where the Cross stood.

Tuesday, May 5
After a leisurely breakfast we check out of our hotel and drive west to Emmaus, following the direction of the two disciples on Easter morning. We stop at the Latroun site of Emmaus and then proceed to Jaffa, now a suburb of Tel Aviv, where Jonah had that encounter with the whale and where St Peter had the dream to allow Gentiles into the new Jesus Movement. We then transfer to the airport for our direct flight home.

Wednesday, May 6
After an unforgettable journey we come home, physically tired but spiritually refreshed, remembering the words of the Psalmist: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but abides forever” (125:1).

(All text & photos © Fowler Tours 2019)

• Masses will be reserved at holy shrines throughout the pilgrimage.
• There will be plenty of time for prayer and refection.
• Daily delicious lunches in specially selected restaurants are included!

Projected price: R 43,410 (incl. airport taxes ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations, minimum 32 travelling. Calculated at R14,21 to the dollar)

Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 4* hotels or better (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, daily lunches in restaurants, transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses with free WiFi, English-speaking Christian tour guide in Holy Land, entrance fees for sites indicated on the itinerary, preparation material.

Excludes: Tips (these are set and mandatory), insurance, personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

No visas necessary for SA citizens

A deposit of R5,000 secures your place on this unique pilgrimage.

Download the illustrated itinerary with booking form and details.

Click Here to Book or for Further Information