Day 1 – Oct 27
Evening departure from Toronto to Rome.
Day 2 – Oct 28
Late morning arrival. Transfer to Assisi, the city of St. Francis, some free time, time for rest, dinner and overnight.
Day 3 – Oct 29
This morning we visit the upper and lower basilica dedicated to St. Francis where we celebrate Mass. Continue to the church of St. Maria degli Angeli with a chapel built by St. Francis (Porziuncola). Afternoon we travel to Rome for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 – Oct 30
Full day in Rome. In the morning we attend the Audience with the Holy Father. Afternoon our tour takes us to the church Santa Maria della Scala, a burial site of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân and basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Mass, dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Oct 31
Another full day in Rome. In the morning we visit the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s basilica. Afternoon sightseeing tour takes us to views of the Coliseum, Forum Romanum and visit to basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, St. John of Lateran and the Basilica of The Holy Cross in Jerusalem. Mass before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Nov 1
After breakfast we are transferred to the airport in Rome for a morning flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival we travel to our hotel in Galilee. En route we visit Haifa and Mt. Carmel, the “burning place” where Elijah called fire down to confound the prophets of Baal. Here we celebrate Mass. Continue to Galilee for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Nov 2
This morning we depart for Tiberias. We travel by boat on the Sea of Galilee, visit Capernaum, home of St. Peter and the site of Jesus’ preaching, on to Tabgha to see the Church of the Multiplication with its beautiful 5th century fish mosaic. We also visit the Church of the Primacy and celebrate Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes. On our way back to the hotel we stop at the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 – Nov 3
Today we start our tour in Cana – the site of Jesus’ first miracle. Here we celebrate a marriage renewal ceremony. We move on to Nazareth where we celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation and we visit Mary’s Well and St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop. In the afternoon we ascend Mount Tabor – the Mount of the Transfiguration. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 9 – Nov 4
This morning we depart Galilee for Judea and the area of Jerusalem. En route we stop at Cesarea by the Sea, a site of Jesus’ preaching. Continue to Jaffa for a short tour of this ancient port and Ein Karem, St. John the Baptist town. Dinner and overnight.
Day 10 – Nov 5
Today’s journey takes us to the ancient city of Jerusalem: St. Ann’s Church, Pool of Bethesda, Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of the Flagellation and the Arch of Ecce Homo, the convent of the sisters of Zion. We continue with the Stations of the Cross – Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulchre church where we celebrate Mass (based on availability). In the afternoon we visit the Western Wall, also called the “Wailing Wall”. We see the place of the Mosque of Omar and El Aksar and move on to the Church of Pater Noster and the Garden of Gethsemane. Dinner and overnight.
Day 11 – Nov 6
In the morning we visit Bethlehem – where Jesus was born, celebrating Christmas Mass in one of the grottos. We visit the Manger, the Crusaders’ Cloister and the Grotto of St. Jerome – Shepherd’s field. In the afternoon we continue to the village of Bethany with the tomb of Lazarus and to Jerusalem’s Mount Zion with the Upper Room (Room of the Last Supper) and the Church of St. Peter’s in Gallicantu. Dinner and overnight.
Day 12 – Nov 7
After breakfast we leave for a full day excursion to Masada, the Dead Sea, Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Time for swimming before moving to Jericho to visit Mt. Temptation accessible by cable car. Mass, dinner and overnight.
Day 13 – Nov 8
In the morning we depart to Tel Aviv airport for a flight to Toronto. Afternoon arrival in Toronto.