Saturday, January 30, 2010

PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND led by Fr. John-Francis Friendship

PILGRIMAGE ITINERARY – 9th to 18th November 2010

Tuesday 9th November JOURNEY TO THE HOLY LAND
We depart Heathrow at 1430 hours arriving in Tel Aviv at 2105. Transfer on arrival to our hotel in the Galilee. Three night stay at the Ron Beach Hotel by the Sea of Galilee with visits to places associated with Jesus' early life and ministry.

Wednesday NAZARETH
We ascend Mount Tabor in t axis to visit the Basilica of the Transfiguration and enjoy magnificent views over the plain of Armageddon. We continue to Nazareth where we visit the Nazareth village (including reconstructions of 1st Century Galilean life) and have lunch at St. Margaret’s Guest House. We visit St Gabriel’s Church (Mary’s Well), the Synagogue Church and the Basilica of the Annunciation. We celebrate Mass in the Anglican Christ Church. We return to Tiberias visiting Cana, scene of Jesus first miracle, en route. Here we have opportunity to renew marriage and partnership vows in the Wedding Church.

Today we visit the sites associated with Jesus' life around the Sea of Galilee. We drive to the north of the lake and visit the ruins of Capernaum, Jesus’ Galilean base. We continue to Mensa Christi (where Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection) and celebrate Mass on the shores of the lake at Tabgha beside the Church of the Loaves and Fishes. Lunch is at the Convent of the Beatitudes. We visit the church and garden which commemorate the Sermon on the Mount. After lunch, we walk down to the lake and sail back across the Sea of Galilee to the hotel, returning by mid-afternoon to allow time to relax and swim.

We leave Tiberias and drive down the Jordan Valley to Jericho. En route we also visit Herod ' s desert fortress of Masada, which we ascend by cable car. We have an opportunity to float in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea before lunch in the Kibbutz Ein Gedi. We then continue to Jerusalem. Six night stay at the Golden Walls Hotel close to the Old City and the Biblical sites we shall be visiting.

We drive to the Mount of Olives where we have a panoramic view of the walled city. As we look across the Kidron Valley we see the Golden Gate, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On the Mount of Olives we visit the Pater Noster Church, Dominus Flevit Chapel, and the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane. We enter the Old City and visit St Anne’s Church (Mass) and then have lunch in Ecce Homo. We spend the afternoon following the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa through the lanes of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Some may wish to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the early morning to experience and share in the variety of liturgy. We then have the opportunity to join with the local congregation, for example at St George’s Cathedral. We lunch at the Jerusalem Hotel. Afternoon choices include a visit to Bethany to see the Jeel al-Amal Boys Home and the Lazarus Girls Home in Bethany, both supported by the McCabe Educational Trust.

We cross into Palestinian territory to visit Bethlehem. We celebrate Mass in the Fields of the Shepherds and have time to shop in the olive wood co-operative. We have lunch at the Bethlehem Arab Rehabilitation Centre in Beit Jala. In the afternoon we see Manger Square and visit the Basilica and Grotto of the Nativity and St Jerome's Caves.

We have a relaxed walking tour around the Old City area in the morning and the afternoon is free for leisure time. Opportunity to reflect on the pilgrimage, to spend time wandering in the bazaars or to revisit sites of special interest.

We begin our day at the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu on Mount Zion. We then drive out to West Jerusalem and celebrate Mass at the Crusader church of Abu Guosh (a possible site of Emmaus). We continue to the picturesque village of Ein Karem where we lunch at the Sisters of Sion convent and spend time visiting the Church of John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation. We continue to the Israel Museum to visit the model of Ancient Jerusalem. We also see the Dead Sea scrolls (housed within the Shrine of the Book).

Thursday 18th November HOMEWARD BOUND
A relaxed start as we leave around lunch time for the airport. During the morning we celebrate a farewell Mass on the hotel roof terrace. Our return flight departs at 1715 hours arriving into London Heathrow Airport at 2045 hours.

The cost of this tour is£1,345 sharing a twin-bedded room with private facilities.It is being organised by McCabe Travel.

We stay in two family owned and managed hotels. In Jerusalem, the three star Golden Walls Hotel overlooks the Old City walls and is walking distance of the Holy Sepulchre. In Tiberias, we stay at the four star Ron Beach Hotel in a wonderful situation right on the lakeside. The tour is on a full-board basis with buffet breakfast, lunch and table d'hôte evening meal included daily. Touring is in air-conditioned coaches and we will be accompanied by a local guide who will share leadership responsibilities and look after the formalities of hotel check-ins etc. All entrance fees are included. Flights are with EL AL Israel Airlines between London Heathrow Airport and Tel Aviv. All airport and security charges are included and a complimentary visa is issued on arrival in Israel.

We have included most expenses in the tour cost but some items are listed separately. The travel insurance premium is £49. Everybody travelling should be insured but some may have annual or another suitable insurance. You should budget for an amount of £40 per person for a group gratuity fund which we will disburse

Please contact the tour leader, Fr. John-Francis Friendship, The Rectory, 119 London Road, Romford, RM7 9QD Tel: (01708) 741256 Email:

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