Fr. Michael Hall is a lifelong resident of the Diocese of Trenton ordained the priesthood in 2010. Prior to entering seminary, Fr. Hall spent a number of years in the hospitality business as a manager in restaurants and hotels.
A graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore with a BA, MA, and STB in Theology, he additionally studied Liturgy/Sacramental Theology for two years at the Catholic University of America. After tenures as Parochial Vicar at St. Barnabas Church, Bayville, NJ and St. Gregory the Great, Hamilton Square, NJ, he was named the Administrator of Our Lady of Good Counsel, West Trenton, NJ in July of 2016: becoming pastor of the parish that December. He serves as the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Trenton (since 2015) and is the organizing Master of Ceremonies for the major episcopal liturgies of the Diocese. After being a pilgrim to the Holy Land for the first time a few years ago, he now finds great joy in helping others to experience these sacred places as they walk in the footsteps of our Lord.
Fr. Chris Dayton prepared for the priesthood in St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, MD, and received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Masters of Divinity degrees. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 2018. In addition to his current assignment as the parochial vicar of Saint Rose of Lima parish in Belmar, NJ, Fr. Chris is also the chaplain for Saint Rose High School, Belmar. Although this will be his first trip to the Holy Land, Fr. Chris has traveled internationally on other pilgrimages.
Day 1. Monday, January 6: Transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv
Day 2. Tuesday, January 7: Tel-Aviv – Tiberias
Welcome to the Holy Land! Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, transfer to Tiberias overlooking the Sea of Galilee for dinner with your travel companions. (D)
Day 3. Wednesday, January 8: Tiberias: Mt. Tabor – Nazareth – Cana
This morning, drive to Mount 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, travel to Nazareth and stroll through its colorful bazaar as you walk Mary’s road to her home and the site of the Annunciation. Lunch will be your opportunity to savor typical food at a local restaurant. Then, visit the Church of St. Joseph, built where the carpentry workshop of St. Joseph used to be. Just south of Nazareth is Mount Precipice, the traditional site of the cliff that an angry mob attempted to throw Our Lord off of after His bold proclamation in the Nazareth synagogue. Finally, visit Cana, where Our Lord performed His first miracle by turning water into wine; you may take this opportunity to renew your marriage vows. Return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 4. Thursday, January 9: Tiberias: 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 Mount of Beatitudes, the scene of the Sermon on the Mount. Nearby, visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, where the miracle of the Feeding of Five Thousand took place. Continue to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter situated at the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Our Lord appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Afterwards, explore the ruins of Capharnaum, including the ancient Jewish synagogue and St. Peter’s house, followed by a flavorful lunch sampling the traditional “St. Peter’s Fish”. Next, stroll through the Valley of the Doves, a route used by Jesus as He traveled back and forth to Cana and Nazareth, and enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Our Lord performed many miracles. Return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 5. Friday, January 10: Tiberias – Baptismal Site – Qumran – Masada – Dead Sea – Jerusalem
The day starts with a visit to Qasr Al Yehound, the western part of the traditional site of the baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. Afterwards, visit the Caves of Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Dead Sea. Continue to visit Masada, the isolated mountain-top fortress, the last Jewish stronghold held by less than 1,000 defenders, before the walls were breached in 73 AD by the Roman army. On your way to the holy city of Jerusalem, have an opportunity to wade and bathe in the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 6. Saturday, January 11: Jerusalem: Excursion to Bethlehem & Bethany
Today 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. Continue to Shepherds’ Field, also the site of Boaz’s field, to see the cave of the shepherds where the angels appeared and announced the birth of Christ. Nearby, visit the Milk Grotto, where tradition says St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin stopped so she could nurse the Baby Jesus, and a drop of her milk fell upon the stone, turning it white. Stop for lunch and afterwards, enjoy the opportunity to do some shopping at a Christian Coop Store. Your last stop is Bethany, the town where Our Lord rose Lazarus from the dead. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, L, D)
Day 7. Sunday, January 12: Jerusalem
Today’s sightseeing will start with a visit to Judaism’s holiest site, the Wailing Wall, and the Temple Mount, where Our Lord used to preach, traditionally the site of Salomon’s Temple, and since 691 AD an Islamic site. Afterwards, visit the Church of St. Anne, erected over the traditional site of the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Continue to the Pool of Bethesda excavations, identified as the scene of the healing of the paralytic. Then, visit the Flagellation Church that 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. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 8. Monday, January 13: Jerusalem
This morning, visit Mount of Olives for a beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem. 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 Mount Zion to visit the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place (it is located directly above the Tomb of David), the Church of the Dormition erected where Our Lady was assumed into heaven, and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where St. Peter denied Our Lord. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 9. Tuesday, January 14: Jerusalem
Early this morning, carry the cross and follow the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, ending with 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, as well as a tour of the Holy Sepulcher chapels. The rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 10. Wednesday, January 15: Jerusalem: Excursion to Ein Karem & Emmaus – Transatlantic flight
Your first visit will be to the Israeli Museum to see the model of Jerusalem on a scale of 1:50, which shows the city in the first century AD. 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. The last visit will be to the village of Emmaus, the setting for one of the most touching of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances. The Crusader Church, now restored, remains one of the finest examples of crusader architecture. Finally, enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the success of a beautiful spiritual journey before transferring to the airport for a night flight home. (BB, FD)
Day 11. Thursday, January 16: USA Arrival
Buffet Breakfast (BB), Lunch (L); Dinner (D), Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For questions or more trip information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.