Lent in the Holy Land 2018

Fr Brian Mhlanga OP17 – 26 March 2018

• Only R29,610 •

Join FR BRIAN MHLANGA OP of RADIO VERITAS on this unforgettable Lenten pilgrimage dedicated to the Holy Land and sites of Our Lord’s life, ministry and passion.

Saturday, March 17
We meet at Johannesburg International Airport to depart on our night-flight four our special Lenten Holy Land Pilgrimage, leaving on the feast day of St Alexander of Jerusalem.

Sunday, March 18
We land in Tel Aviv where we are met by our tour guide. Jaffa was the harbour town where pilgrims arrived. We begin our pilgrimage there, visiting St Peter’s Church and the nearby house of Simon the Tanner, where St Peter had his famous dream.We then drive to the city of Haifa, where we can see the hanging gardens of the Baha’i Temple, and visit Mount Carmel, where the Catholic Carmelite Order was founded and Elijah battled the gods of Baal. We then proceed to Nazareth, hometown of Our Lord. There we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation with the grotto where the Archangel greeted Mary with the words “Hail Mary, full of grace” (a few days later we will observe the feast of the Annunciation). 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 couples can renew their wedding vows.

Monday, March 19
After breakfast in our hotel, we go to the Sea of Galilee, around which most of Jesus’ public ministry took place. 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 probably preached (the foundations of which we can still see). At Tabgha a church recalls the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and the nearby chapel of Peter’s Primacy marks the place where Christ entrusted the Church to St Peter. We drive up Mount of Beatitudes, on the slopes of which Jesus delivered his famous sermon. 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. We invite you for lunch today, with an opportunity to eat the St Peter’s fish from the Sea of Galilee.

Sea of Galilee panorama

Panorama of the Sea of Galilee from the Mount of Beatitudes.

Tuesday, March 20
We visit Mount Tabor, site of the Transfiguration, from where we can survey the Jezreel Valley. We then leave Galilee, where Our Lord lived, and drive to Bethlehem, where He was born. In Bethlehem we visit the ancient Basilica of the Nativity, where a silver star marks the place of Jesus’ birth. Shepherds’ Field, where the angels announced the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds, is one of the Holy Land’s loveliest sites. In Bethlehem we have the opportunity to do some souvenir and Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, March 21
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 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 site of the baptism. There we renew our baptismal vows. We pass through Jericho, with a view on the Mount of Temptation, the place where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. On the Dead Sea, where we can float on the mineral-rich water. Today we invite you to lunch at the lowest point on earth.

Thursday, March 22
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. 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.

Friday, March 23
On Mount Zion we visit the impressive Dormition Abbey, where Our Lady fell asleep, the Cenacle (Upper Room) which commemorates the Last Supper, and the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, where Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, kept in a dungeon, and where Peter denounced Our Lord three times. Next to the church we can see the steps on which we know Jesus actually walked! At Ein Kerem, today a part of West Jerusalem, we remember in two beautiful churches the birth of John the Baptist and Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth during which Our Lady recited the Magnificat.

On the Via Dolorosa (way of the Cross) in Jerusalem, with a view of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

On the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, with a view of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Saturday, March 24
This is the day we follow the Stations of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. The Way of the Cross culminates in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, our faith’s most sacred site. Here you can touch the rock where the cross stood and pray in the tomb from which Our Lord rose from the dead. On today’s feast day of St Dismas, we also remember the Good Thief who was crucified with Our Lord and attained salvation.
On the feast of the Annunciation 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. We see the Western (or Wailing) Wall, the remnant of the Jewish Temple which was razed by the Romans in 70 AD. In the afternoon we have some free time to explore the Old City’s market or maybe return to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for prayer and further exploration.

Sunday, March 25
On our last day we go West, as the two followers of Jesus did after the crucifixion, unaware that the Lord had risen. We visit one of the sites associated with the ancient Emmaus. In old times,  We then drive to Tel Aviv to catch our flight home.

Monday, March 26
After an unforgettable Lenten journey we land in the morning in Johannesburg, 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).

See photos of Fr Brian’s pilgrimage with Fowler Tours and Fr Emil Blaser OP in September 2014.

Below a beautiful video of the sites you will visit:

Est. price:  R29,610 (incl. airport taxes ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations, minimum 21 travelling. Calculated at R15,35 to the dollar)

Includes All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in 4-star hotels or better (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, lunches in restaurant every day, transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking tour guide, entrance fees, preparation material.
Excludes tips, travel insurance, and personal expenses.


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