Led by Fr Russell Pollitt SJ with Günther Simmermacher 5 - 17 May 2019 Join The Southern Cross on this beautiful pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rome Fr Russell...
– FULLY BOOKED –
• Fr Keith Gordon-Davis • 5 – 16 May 2018
Journey through the Fifth Gospel to the Holy Land and Cairo: Fall in love with the Lord all over again. A Pilgrimage presented by the parish of the Resurrection in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
Fall in love with the Lord again on this special Journey through the Fifth Gospel. The Fifth Gospel does not really exist as a document and yet it is older than the four Gospels of the New Testament: it is the places of Our Lord’s ministry, crucifixion and Resurrection in the Holy Land which tell the story of the Incarnation in and through the places where these events took place. By experiencing the Fifth Gospel, we come to understand the four Gospels more vividly. We will have Mass every day at holy places, and in the Galilee, Fr Keith Gordon-Davis will lead us in an inspiring retreat, right there in the theatre of Jesus’ ministry. Even our accommodation has been carefully selected to give us the greatest spiritual benefit.
Monday, May 7
We depart from Johannesburg to leave on our night-flight for our special Holy Land pilgrimage through the Fifth Gospel, ready to fall in love with the Lord all over again.
Tuesday, May 8
We land in Tel Aviv where we are met by our tour guide. We drive up the Mediterranean coast to visit Caesarea Maritima, the capital of Palestine during the Roman occupation where an inscription was found that proved the existence of Pontius Pilate. It was here where St Paul was held before he was taken to Rome. We then proceed to the port city of Haifa, with its stunning Hanging Gardens of the Baha’i Temple, and drive up Mount Carmel and its Stella Maris monastery and church which holds Elijah’s Cave. Overnight: Mount Carmel
Wednesday, May 9
After breakfast we drive along the Jezreel Valley 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 then visit Cana, site of Our Lord’s first miracle, where our couples may renew their wedding vows. We visit Mount Tabor, site of the Transfiguration, from where we can survey the Jezreel Valley. At the end of our programme we check into the comfortable guesthouse run by Italian Franciscan Sisters on the Mount of Beatitudes which overlooks the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Mount of Beatitudes
Thursday, May 10
Today we explore the area of Jesus’ public ministry around the Sea of Galilee, around which most of Jesus’ public ministry took place. We begin with the striking Church of the Beatitudes, which is adjacent to our hotel. Note that the altar of this octagonal church is in the middle of the church!
At Tabgha the Church of the Multiplication recalls the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and 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). A highlight of the pilgrimage is the boat-ride on the Sea of Galilee on a recreation of a first-century fishing vessel, a time for both fun and for prayerful reflection. For lunch at Magdala today, we have the opportunity to eat the St Peter’s fish, or Tilapia, from the Sea of Galilee (of course, alternatives are available). Overnight: Mount of Beatitudes
Friday, May 11
Today we drive up north along the Golan Heights to Caesarea Philippi, at the base of Mount Hermon, where Our Lord revealed his divinity (“Who do people say I am?”). The choice of the place was significant: this was Banias, a centre of pagan worship to the god Pan, remnants of whose temple we can see still today. In the afternoon we will make use of the beautiful and pastoral setting of the Mount of Beatitudes for a half-day Spiritual Retreat conducted by Fr Keith. The gardens of the sanctuary, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, will inspire prayerful and peaceful reflection (the photo on top of the page shows part of the garden). Overnight: Mount of Beatitudes
Saturday, May 12
Today we cross Samaria, the land of the Samaritans. We visit Jacob’s Well, in the crypt of an attractive Orthodox church, where Our Lord had that memorable encounter with the Samarian woman. At Sebastia, where the head of St John the Baptist was kept, we see the remains of the Roman city where the apostles Peter and John joined Philip (Acts 8:4-40), and those of Jezebel and Ahab’s palace. In Burqin we go through the narrow streets to see the St George’s Church, or the Church of the Ten Lepers, which is considered to be the fifth-oldest Christian holy place and the third-oldest church in the world. It marks the cave where Jesus healed the ten lepers held in isolation (Lk 17:11-19). We end our day in Taybeh, the last 100% Christian village, where the Parable House shows us how people lived in ancient times. In the evening we have the opportunity to visit the brewery of Taybeh, founded by a Christian family, whose beers are internationally acclaimed. We will stay in the village’s elegant Golden Hotel. Overnight: Taybeh
Sunday, May 13
After breakfast we make our way to 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 will 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. 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. Our accommodation in Bethlehem is the lovely St Vincent de Paul Guesthouse on John Paul II Street, which supports an orphanage run by the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul. Overnight: Bethlehem
Monday, May 14
We visit Bethany, the town where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary and Martha, and where he raised Lazarus from the dead in the tomb which still exists today. 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. On the Dead Sea we can float on the mineral-rich water. Overnight: Bethlehem
Tuesday, May 15
Jerusalem! We begin our pilgrimage to the Holy City on top of the Mount of Olives at the small Chapel of the Ascension, 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. At the foot of the mount we arrive at the 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: Bethlehem
Wednesday, May 16
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. 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 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 visit the village of Abu Ghosh, with its Crusader-era Benedictine church, and Emmaus, recalling the risen Lord’s encounter with the two followers on the road. 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. Here we can complete the Hail Mary we started at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. 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.
Thursday, May 17
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 will have Mass in this most sacred of Christian shrines. 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 free time to shop in the Old City. Overnight: Bethlehem
Friday, May 18
We leave the Holy Land today and take the short flight to Cairo. There we visit the 4,500-year-old Pyramids of Giza and see the Sphinx. We have an opportunity to visit a papyrus factory or perfume shop, have lunch and a enjoy small cruise on the Nile before we transfer back to Cairo International Airport where we make our way home.
Saturday, May 19
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).
• 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 34,606 (incl. airport taxes ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations, minimum 31 travelling. Calculated at R13,37 to the dollar)
Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in hotels as specified or better (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, daily lunches in restaurants, transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking Christian tour guide in Holy Land, entrance fees, 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 R4,500 secures your place on this unique pilgrimage. Booking form and details in the illustrated itinerary (download).