Rev. Philip Gillespie, chaplain for Family Honor, is the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Anderson, SC. A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Pennsylvania State University and studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH, for four years before being reassigned to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Fr. Gillespie, who was ordained on June 11, 2010, previously led a Family Honor pilgrimage to the shrines of France in 2018.
For more information on Family Honor, please visit www.familyhonor.org
Day 1. Monday, January 13: Transatlantic flight to Amman
Day 2. Tuesday, January 14: Amman
Welcome to Jordan! Upon arrival in Amman, transfer to your hotel for a welcome dinner and overnight. (WD)
Day 3. Wednesday, January 15: Amman – Petra
Start you sightseeing with a panoramic view of the city of Amman, the capital of Jordan and home of numerous ancient ruins, including the pillars of the Roman Temple of Hercules, the 8th-century Umayyad Palace complex, and the 2nd-century Roman Theater. Then, see Mount Nebo, where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. While here, tour the holy site where Moses died and was buried. Finally, visit the Monastery of St. George in Madaba to see a 6th-century mosaic floor map of the Holy Land, which includes Israel, Palestine, and Southern Egypt. Arrive in Petra for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 4. Thursday, January 16: Petra
Enjoy a full day of guided sightseeing in Petra. Walk through the “Siq,” an immense crack in the Nubian sandstone, which some say could be the very “rock” that Moses split in two and from which water poured forth. Two-thousand years ago, the Nabateans carved a city out of the rose red rock. Admire the Treasury, known as Al Khazneh, one of the most elegant remains of antiquity. In the Old City of Petra, one can see the ruins of an ancient pagan temple and many tombs carved into the rose red rock face. Next, visit the Monastery, for those able and willing to climb the 800 steps leading up to it. Overnight in Petra. (BB, L, D)
Day 5. Friday, January 17: Petra – Qumran – Jericho – Tiberias
Leave Petra and drive north to cross the border into Israel and drive to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Dead Sea. Continue to Jericho, one of the world’s oldest cities, for a distant view of the Mount of Temptation. In Jericho, Our Lord healed Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and dined with Zaccheus, the tax collector. Next, visit the traditional site of the baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. Finally, enjoy an opportunity to wade in the Dead Sea. Arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight. (BB, L, D)
Day 6. Saturday, January 18: Sea of Galilee
This morning, visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the scene of Our Lord’s great Sermon on the Mount. Then, visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes to commemorate the miracle. Continue to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, where Our Lord appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection. Continue to Capharnaum to visit the church built over the ruins of St. Peter’s house and the synagogue where Our Lord used to preach. For lunch, sample the famous St. Peter’s Fish at a local restaurant. See the Valley of Doves; this valley is the route Jesus Christ would have taken from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Continue for a short visit to the fishing village of Magdala, where St. Mary Magdalene lived. Here in 2009, a chance discovery revealed a 1st-century synagogue. Finish the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Our Lord did much of His preaching and where many of His Apostles were fishermen. Overnight in Tiberias. (BB, L, D)
Day 7. Sunday, January 19: Excursion to Mount Carmel, Mount Tabor, Nazareth & Cana
Begin the day with a visit to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery in Mount Carmel. Below the monastery is Elias’ Cave, where the prophet lived and meditated before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal. Continue to visit Mount Tabor, the site of Our Lord’s Transfiguration. Then, travel to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, erected over the house of the Virgin Mary. Continue to St. Joseph’s Church, a small church built on the site of St. Joseph’s home and workshop. Finally, visit Cana to see the church built where Our Lord performed His first miracle at the wedding feast by turning water into wine; you may take this opportunity to renew your marriage vows. Overnight in Tiberias. (BB, D)
Day 8. Monday, January 20: Tiberias – Jerusalem
This morning visit Megiddo & Armageddon Valley, where according to Revelation, the final battle will take place between the forces of good and evil. Continue to Ein Karem to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, built over the Grotto of the Nativity of St. John, and the Church of the Visitation that commemorates the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visit to St. Elizabeth. Then, stop at Shepherds’ Field, where the angels appeared to the shepherds on the first Christmas night. Before reaching Jerusalem, travel to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Our Lord was born. Connected to the Church of the Nativity, visit St. Catherine’s Church; descend to the grottoes of the Holy Innocents, St. Joseph and St. Jerome. Inside, visit St. Jerome’s Chapel, where the saint wrote the Vulgate. Arrive in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 9. Tuesday, January 21: Jerusalem: Temple Mount, Mount of Olives & Mount Sion
Start this morning with a visit to the Temple Mount, traditionally the Temple of Solomon, since 691 AD an Islamic site. Proceed to the 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. On to the Church of Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over the city of Jerusalem, and the Church of All Nations, officially named the Basilica of the Agony, built over the rock on which Our Lord prayed the night before He was crucified. In Mount Zion, see the Last Supper Room, where Our Lord shared the Last Supper with His Apostles. Afterwards, visit the Church of the Dormition, where tradition reveals that the Mother of God was laid in a tomb before her body was assumed into heaven. Your final visit is to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicanctu, where St. Peter denied Our Lord, and to the Palace of Caiaphas, where Our Lord was imprisoned. (BB, D)
Day 10. Wednesday, January 22: Jerusalem: Holy Sepulcher
Early this morning, carry the cross and follow the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, 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, as well as a tour of the Holy Sepulcher chapels. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Then, 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. Afterwards, visit the Flagellation Church that enshrines the spot where Our Lord was flogged. Next is the Ecce Homo Church that commemorates the place where Pontius Pilate presented Our Lord to the hostile Jewish crowd. Rest of the day at leisure. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, FD)
Day 11. Thursday, January 23: Homebound flight
Early departure to Tel Aviv airport for your return flight to the USA.
Buffet Breakfast (B), Lunch (L); Dinner (D), Welcome Dinner (WD), Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For more trip information, please contact Catholic Heritage Tours.