Chaplain: Fr. Leo Fisher, CFR
Fr. Leo Joseph Fisher, CFR – A member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal since 1995, with final profession in 2000. The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR, franciscanfriars.org) is a Catholic religious community who serve the poor in the areas where they live.
Father’s seminarian training was at St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie, New York, and he was ordained to the priesthood in 2005. With the encouragement and support from Cardinal Dolan for the CFRs, Fr. Leo has been involved with the COURAGE Apostolate since 2016 and currently serves as chaplain to a New York City COURAGE group. This will be his second pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Day 1. Monday, October 5: Transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv
Day 2. Tuesday, October 6: Tel Aviv
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, meet your tour escort and transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (D)
Day 3. Wednesday, October 7: Tel Aviv – Caesarea Maritima – Mt. Carmel – Cana – Tiberias
Begin your pilgrimage with a visit to Caesarea Maritima, where St. Peter converted the Centurion Cornelius, the first pagan to become a Christian, and where St. Paul was imprisoned before his trial in Rome. Visit the magnificent remains of Herod’s Palace, the Roman Theater and the Crusader’s Citadel. Continue to Mount Carmel and visit the Carmelite Monastery, where the Carmelite Order was founded, and the Cave of Elias, where this holy prophet used to live and meditated before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal. Afterwards, travel to Cana and visit the Wedding Church where Our Lord performed His first miracle by turning water into wine. Couples may take the opportunity to renew their marriage vows. Continue to Tiberias for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Day 4. Thursday, October 8: Tiberias: Excursion to Mt. Tabor, Nazareth & Mount Precipice
Today 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. Continue to Nazareth and stroll through its colorful bazaar as you walk Mary’s road to her home and the Basilica of the Annunciation, as well as the Church of St. Joseph, built where the carpentry workshop of St. Joseph used to be. Continue to Mount Precipice, the traditional site where those of the synagogue of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messias, tried to push Him from the mountain, but “He passing through the midst of them, went His way.” Return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 5. Friday, October 9: Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is rich in memories of the three years of Our Lord’s Ministry. Your day starts with a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, the scene of the Sermon on the Mount. Visit the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter situated on 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 featuring the traditional “St. Peter’s Fish”. Afterwards visit Magdala, the town of St. Mary Magdalene and where ruins of a synagogue from the time of Our Lord were discovered. Finally, enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, and visit the remains of a fishing boat dated from the 1st century AD. Today dinner is at a local restaurant. Overnight in Tiberias. (BB, L, D)
Day 6. Saturday, October 10: Tiberias – Desert – Jerusalem
The day starts with a visit to Qasr Al Yahud, the western part of the traditional site of the baptism of Our Lord by St. John the Baptist. Afterwards, visit the Caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Then, have an opportunity to wade and bathe in the Dead Sea. Continue to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 7. Sunday, October 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. After lunch, 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 8. Monday, October 12: Jerusalem
Visit Mount of Olives for a beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem. Visit the Church of Pater Noster, where Our Lord taught His disciples how to pray. Continue down on the Palm Sunday road 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, the Church of the Dormition erected on the spot 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, October 13: 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, October 14: Jerusalem – Ein Karem – Emmaus – Flight home
Today’s first visit is the Wailing Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. Next visit 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 that enshrines de spot where Our Lord was flogged. Next is the Ecce Homo Church commemorating the place where Pontius Pilate presented Our Lord to the hostile Jewish crowd. Afterwards, travel to 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 Crusader Church in the village of Emmaus, the setting for one of the most touching of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances. Finally, celebrate the end of a beautiful pilgrimage with a farewell dinner before transferring to Tel Aviv airport for a night flight home. (BB, FD)
Day 11. Thursday, October 15: Arrival in the USA
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 questions or more trip information, contact Carolyn Norbut, Group Coordinator, at (732) 216-8073 or CarolynNorbut@disciples.com, or contact Regina Marino, Assistant Group Coordinator, at (917) 922-0412. Or contact Catholic Heritage Tours.