St Joseph’s Pilgrimage to the HOLY LAND with Istanbul: October 2020

POSTPONED! Fr Quinton Coetzee OSFS • 11-22 October 2020

Visit the Holy Land and Istanbul with St Joseph’s parish in Eersterus, Pretoria. All are welcome!

Sunday, October 11
We depart from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to leave on our night-flight for our special Holy Land pilgrimage.

Monday, October 12
In the morning we land in 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 afternoon we transfer to Istanbul’s new airport to take the short flight to Tel Aviv.

The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Tuesday, October 13
Today we explore Nazareth , 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, dedicated to our parish’s patron. We see Mary’s Well, where Our Lady drew water, and other sites associated with the Holy Family. We go up Mount Tabor, the site of the Lord’s Transfiguration, and visit Cana, site of Our Lord’s first miracle, where couples can renew their wedding vows.

Wednesday, October 14
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 grotto of the Apparition in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

Thursday, October 15
Today we cross Samaria, visiting Jacob’s Well, 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 in which Saints Philip, Peter and John preached. Time permitting, we visit Taybeh, the last 100% Christian village.

Friday, October 16
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.

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

Saturday, October 17
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. The Milk Grotto is the traditional place where the Holy Family hid from King Herod’s massacre before fleeing to Egypt. 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.

Sunday, October 18
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 get in touch with the Living Stones of the Holy Land, as the region’s Christians are called, when we visit the Hogar de Ninos in Bethlehem, an orphanage run by Catholics.

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

Monday, October 19
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!

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.

Tuesday, October 20
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.

Wednesday, October 21
After breakfast we go east 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, October 22
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: R35,911 (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, 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 R3,950 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 Contact Us