Fr. Greg Bierbaum is Pastor of St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch, CO and is a priest of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Having grown up in South Dakota, the oldest of four sons to Bill and Dorothy Bierbaum, Fr. Bierbaum has a life-long love of travel, combined with a fervent love of visiting holy sites which are important to our Catholic Faith. This trip will be a wonderful opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Our Lord.
Day 1. Thursday, May 10: USA – Tel Aviv
Depart today towards the Holy Land.
Day 2. Friday, May 11: Tel Aviv – Sea of Galilee
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, meet your guide and driver. Transfer to a German Benedictine Guest House overlooking the Sea of Galilee for a welcome dinner with your travel companions. (WD)
Day 3. Saturday, May 12: Sea of Galilee: Excursion to Caesarea Maritima – Mount Carmel – Nazareth – Cana
This morning visit the magnificent remains of Herod’s Palace at Caesarea Maritima; it is here that St. Paul was imprisoned before being sent to Rome. Continue to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery in Mount Carmel. Built in an area that for centuries was frequented by hermits, this was a place of worship where the Carmelite order was founded. Below the monastery is Elias’ Cave, where the prophet Elias lived and meditated before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal. Then, travel to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, erected over the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then, continue to St. Joseph’s Church, a small church built on the site of St. Joseph’s home and workshop. Next, visit Cana, where Our Lord performed His first miracle by turning water into wine; and you may take this opportunity to renew your marriage vows. Return to your Guest House for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 4. Sunday, May 13: Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is rich in memories of the three years of Our Lord’s Ministry. The day opens with a visit to the Church of the Loaves and Fishes to commemorate the miracle; nearby, visit the Chapel of the Primacy situated at the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Our Lord appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Afterwards, explore the ruins of Capernaum, including the ancient Jewish synagogue and St. Peter’s house. Then enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee followed by lunch at a local restaurant featuring the famous St. Peter’s Fish. Next stop is at the Valley of the Doves, where Our Lord used to walk from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. The last visit of the day is to the Mount of Beatitudes, the scene of the Sermon on the Mount. (BB, L, D)
Day 5. Monday, May 14: Sea of Galilee – Mount Tabor – Jordan Baptismal Site – Jericho – Dead Sea – Jerusalem
Drive to Mt. Tabor and enjoy beautiful views of the Jezreel Valley and the Plain of Esdraelon. Visit the Church of the Transfiguration, built on the site of Our Lord’s Transfiguration. Afterwards, stop at the site on the Jordan River where it is claimed that St. John baptized Our Lord. Travel to Jericho, the oldest city in the world, where Our Lord healed Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and dined with Zacchaeus, the rich tax collector. Continue to the Dead Sea where you may take the opportunity to wade and bathe. On your return to Jerusalem stop for views of the Judean Desert and St. George Monastery to remind us of the story of the Good Samaritan. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 6. Tuesday, May 15: Jerusalem, Bethany, the Jerusalem Model
Start your day with a visit to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary Magdalene. Afterwards, return to Jerusalem to visit the Jerusalem Model, inside the Israeli Museum, that recreates the city at its maximum splendor in the year 66 AD. Then, continue to the Church of St. Anne, erected over the traditional site of the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Continue to the Pool of Bethsaida excavations, identified as the scene of the healing of the paralytic. Then, visit the Flagellation Church, which enshrines the spot where Our Lord was flogged. Next is the Ecce Homo Church, erected where Pontius Pilate presented Our Lord to the hostile Jewish crowd. (BB, D)
Day 7. Wednesday, May 16: Temple Mount and excursion to Ein Karem, Shepherds’ Field & Bethlehem
This morning visit Judaism’s holiest site, the Wailing Wall, and the Temple Mount, where Our Lord used to preach, traditionally the site of Solomon’s Temple, and since 691 AD an Islamic site. Afterwards, travel into the “hill country of Judea” to the city of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist. Visit the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of the Visitation, built over the home of Zacharias. Continue to Shepherds’ Field, also the site of Boaz’s field, to visit the cave of the shepherds where the angels appeared and announced the birth of Christ. Later, embark on a sightseeing tour of Bethlehem, the royal city of David, to pray at the Cave of the Nativity, the birthplace of our Savior. Overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 8. Thursday, May 17: Jerusalem
Today visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster, where Our Lord taught His disciples how to pray. Continue down on the Palm Sunday road on Mount Olivet visiting the Church of Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over the city of Jerusalem. Arrive into the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations, where Our Lord began the way of His Passion. Then, to Mt. Zion to visit the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place, the Church of the Dormition where Our Lady was assumed into heaven, the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, and the Palace of Caiaphas, where Our Lord was imprisoned. (BB, D)
Day 9. Friday, May 18: Jerusalem – Tel Aviv
Very early, walk the path of Our Lord’s Passion to Calvary and end at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Then, enjoy an in-depth tour of this church, including a visit to the tomb of our forefather Adam and the tombs of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner. Afterwards, transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your overnight flight back to the USA. (BB, FD)
Day 10. Saturday, May 19: Arrival into the USA
Early arrival into Newark airport for your final connecting flight.
Buffet Breakfast (BB); Lunch (L); Dinner (D); Welcome Dinner (WD); Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For more information or to register, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.