Sacred Heart Pilgrimage to the Holy Land – September 2024

Join the Sacred Heart Cathedral pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Led by Fr Thabiso Ledwaba



Led by Fr Tabiso Ledwaba • 9-18 September 2024

Visit the Holy Land with Sacred Heart Cathedral and Catholic Connexions. All are welcome!

Join the Sacred Heart Cathedral pilgrimage to the Holy Land, organised by Fowler Tours in association with Catholic Connexions. Led by Rev Fr Thabiso Ledwaba, this expertly-designed and guided pilgrimage will take us to all the holy places of Our Lord and Our Lady in the Holy Land, including the place of His Crucifixion and the tomb of His Resurrection.

The Gospel will come alive for you as you see the holy places we know from Scripture, pray there and learn as our expert guide tells us about them. See where Our Lord, Our Lady and the Disciples walked and worked. Mass will be celebrated every day in sacred shrines. In Cana, married couples may renew their wedding vows, and at the River Jordan we renew our baptismal vows.
We are staying in 4* hotels in the Holy Land, all offering breakfast and dinner buffets. Daily lunches in specially-selected restaurants are included in the price!

Monday, September 9, 2024
We depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to leave on our flight for our special Holy Land pilgrimage.

Tuesday, September 10
We land in Tel Aviv where we are met by our tour guide. We proceed to Nazareth 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 when he turned the water into wine. Here our couples can renew their wedding vows.

The grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Wednesday, September 11
After breakfast we drive 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. At Migdal, or Magdala, we see a recently discovered 1st-century synagogue in which we can be quite sure Jesus taught. For lunch today, we have an opportunity to eat the St Peter’s fish from the Sea of Galilee.

The Sea of Galilee, seen from the Mount of Beatitudes.

Thursday, September 12
After breakfast drive go up Mount Tabor, the site of the Lord’s Transfiguration. We then travel south to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. In this Palestinian city we visit the ancient Basilica of the Nativity, where a silver star marks the place of Jesus’ birth. The adjacent St Catherine’s Church is the Catholic church below which we see caves such as that occupied by St Jerome when he translated the Bible. We visit the Milk Grotto, where the Holy Family took refuge during Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents. 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 shopping.

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

Friday, September 13
Today we renew our baptismal vows at the River Jordan. The Qasr El-Yahud baptismal site is recognised by the as the authentic site of Our Lord’s baptism by John the Baptiser. This is where the Jews are said to have crossed over into the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt. 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 we can float on the mineral-rich water. We also visit Bethany, the town where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary and Martha, and where he raised Lazarus from the dead.

Saturday, September 14
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 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.

In the afternoon we visit Ein Kerem, today a part of West Jerusalem, where 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. The Church of the Visitation marks the place of the third and fourth line of the Hail Mary originated.

Pilgrims pray at the Rock of the Agony in Gethsemane, where Our Lord prayed before his arrest.

Sunday, September 15
We return to Jerusalem. 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! We then see the Western Wall, and enjoy some free time in Jerusalem’s Old City, with its wonderful market where one can buy anything, from spices to religious icons.

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

Monday, September 16
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.
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.


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

Tuesday, September 17
After a leisurely breakfast we go to west to Emmaus, where the Risen Lord accompanied to the two grieving disciples. We stop at the Latroun site. We then proceed to Jaffa, the place from where Jonas made his encounter with the whale, and where St Peter stayed with Simon the Tanner when he had his dream to accept the Gentiles to the new faith of Jesus Christ. We then go to Tel Aviv’s airport to make our journey home.

Thursday, September 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).

• Private Masses will be celebrated in the Holy Land at sacred sites every day.
• Daily lunch in selected restaurants included.
• Pilgrims will receive a copy of The Holy Land Trek by Günther Simmermacher

Est. Price: R49,370 (sharing, ex-Jhb; subject to currency, airport tax fluctuations. Calculated on 31+ passengers, at R17,02 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 specially selected restaurants (Holy Land), transfers, travelling on air-conditioned luxury buses, English-speaking tour guide, entrance fees, The Holy Land Trek book.

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

How To Book: A deposit of R4,950 secures your place on this unforgettable pilgrimage. Send your deposit slip, booking form (included in the illustrated itinerary) and copy of your passport to Fowler Tours, and we’ll do the rest!

Download Itinerary with booking form