Holy Land & Istanbul: September 2021

Fr Jean-Lambert Kalala OMI • 6-15 September 2021

Visit the Holy Land and Istanbul with Sacred Heart Parish in Katlehong, Johannesburg archdiocese. All are welcome!

Monday, September 6, 2021
We depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to leave on our night-flight for our special Holy Land pilgrimage.

Tuesday, September 7
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, where couples can renew their wedding vows.

The grotto of the Apparition in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Wednesday, September 8
After breakfast we go to Mount Tabor, the site of the Lord’s Transfiguration. We then proceed 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.

Thursday, September 9
Today we cross Samaria, visiting Jacob’s Well, where Our Lord had that memorable encounter with the Samarian woman. At Sebaste, where the head of St John the Baptist was kept, we see the remains of the Roman city in which Saints Philip, Peter and John preached. We visit Taybeh, the last 100% Christian village, where an old house shows us how people lived in ancient times.

Bethany: Pilgrims pray in the Church of Lazarus in Bethany, where Our Lord brought his friend back to life.

Friday, September 10
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. 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. We then we visit Bethany, the town where Jesus often stayed with his friends Mary and Martha, and where he raised Lazarus from the dead.

Saturday, September 11
We then explore 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 shopping. 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.

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

Sunday, September 12
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.

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!

Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Beneath the altar, you touch the rock on which the Cross stood!

Monday, September 13
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.

Monday, September 14
After a breakfast we go to Tel Aviv to take the short flight to Istanbul, the ancient Constantinople, in Turkey. There we enjoy a guided tour of such famous sites as the Hagia Sophia, which once was the largest and most glorious church in Christendom; the Blue Mosque, the Roman Hippodrome and others. In the evening we transfer to Istanbul’s new airport to make our way home.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Tuesday, September 15
After an unforgettable journey  we come home, 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: R35,800 (ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations. Calculated at R14,98 to the dollar and 32 travelling)

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, walking training plan, 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 R3,850 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 Contact Us