Walsingham Pilgrimage 2023
THE HOLY LAND
Under the Leadership of
Fr Kevin Smith
Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
Fr Grant Naylor and Fr John Eldridge
13th – 20th November 2023
Following the great success of previous Walsingham Holy Land Pilgrimages I have been asked by pilgrims to make a return visit.
As before we will follow in the footsteps of Jesus in Galilee and in Jerusalem. In Galilee we will visit Nazareth, Walsingham’s spiritual origins and the town in which Jesus grew up. We will also visit Capernaum, the fishing village which became the centre of His ministry, as well as other places associated with the events of the gospel. In Jerusalem, we will retrace Jesus’ steps from Bethany to Gethsemane and along the Way of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will visit Bethlehem as well as the Dead Sea and Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
I hope many will want to join me on this unique spiritual journey following in the steps of our Lord, and support our Christian brothers and sisters in this troubled region. We will celebrate the Sacraments, pray together, and open up the Scriptures in the place where it happened.
Fr Smith — Fr Naylor — Fr Eldridge
- Flights on Easyjet from London Luton or Manchester
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 7 nights accommodation
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £2545
- Scheduled flights on British Airways London Heathrow £120 extra
- Gratuities and Church donations £75
- Any items of a personal nature
- Travel insurance
Day 1, Monday 13 November
Journeying to the Holy Land
We gather at either Luton/Heathrow/Manchester Airports for our flight to Tel Aviv arriving in the early evening, where we will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.
Day 2, Tuesday 14 November
Revelation and Annunciation
We begin our pilgrimage by driving to the village of Cana in Galilee, the site of Jesus' first sign according to the Fourth Gospel. Where we will celebrate Mass. We will then drive to Nazareth, where the Gospel story begins. We will visit the Church of the Annunciation, the Synagogue Church, Mary’s Well and ‘Nazareth Village’ where you will see something of what it was like to live in Nazareth at the time of Christ. After a break for lunch we will drive across the Jezreel Valley (the Biblical plains of Armageddon) to the foot of Mount Tabor and travel to the summit by taxi to visit the church associated with the Transfiguration. We will return to our hotel in time to freshen up and relax before our evening meal. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Wednesday 15 November
Calling and Discipleship
Today we visit the principal sites of Jesus' ministry around the home he made for himself by the Sea of Galilee. After celebrating Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes (08:00) overlooking the sites where Jesus lived and worked. We then return to the shores of the lake where we shall remember the call of the first disciples, we will visit the excavated ruins of Capernaum, as well as sites associated with the Feeding of the 5000 and the re-commissioning of Peter. In addition we will have a chance to sail on the Sea itself in a modern replica of a first century fishing boat and visit the Museum and see a first century fishing boat rescued from the shore of Galilee (the ‘Jesus boat’). Return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 4, Thursday 16 November
An ancient pilgrimage route
This morning we bid farewell to the Galilee and begin our journey south, entering the northern part of the occupied West Bank. We drive south along the Jordan Valley to visit the beautifully excavated city of Beit Shean, a city of the Decapolis. It was on the walls of this city that the Philistines cut off Saul’s head and hung his body, and that of his sons. From here we continue to Qasr al Yehud on the River Jordan, near to the site where John baptised Jesus and where we too will have an opportunity to renew our baptismal vows. We then drive the short distance to the oasis city of Jericho, the City of Palms where we will celebrate Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd and break for lunch. After an opportunity to view the Mount of Temptation we leave the Jordan Valley and drive west up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Jerusalem and stop briefly on the summit of Mount Scopus for a breathtaking view of Jerusalem and the Old City with it’s magnificent medieval walls before proceeding to our hotel situated within the Old City’s walls by the Jaffa Gate and check-in. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Friday 17 November
Incarnation & Preparing for Passion
This morning after breakfast we will drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives to recall the Palm Sunday route and visit places associated with particular events in the gospels as we slowly make our way downhill. We start at Bethphage, the traditional starting point of the procession of palms and in the course of our journey will visit the Churches of Pater Noster, where Jesus taught the disciples the Lord’s Prayer and Dominus Flevit, where he wept over the fate of the city. Finally, we reach the Garden of Gethsemane and the dark and brooding Church of All Nations, where we recall Jesus' agonized prayers prior to his arrest and reflect on the failure of his closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. Late morning we will leave Jerusalem and drive to Bethlehem entering through a checkpoint in the 9-metre high separation Wall where we will break for lunch. We will spend the afternoon exploring the places associated with the birth of Jesus and get a sense of the lives of modern-day Christians in Bethlehem. During the course of the afternoon we will visit the Shepherds' Fields where we will celebrate Mass and the Church of the Nativity. Early evening return to Jerusalem and our hotel for dinner and overnight stay. After dinner we will have the option of visiting the Wailing Wall at the beginning of the Sabbath.
Day 6, Saturday 18 November
"I do not know the man"
In the morning we drive to Mount Zion where we will spend the morning exploring the holy sites located on Mount Zion where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. We begin by visiting the Room of the Last Supper and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (the Church of the Cock Crowing), built over the House of Caiphias where we can see the prison cells where Jesus was probably held and outside we can see the recently unearthed pathway and steps that lead down to the Old City. We will celebrate Mass here before visiting the striking Abbey in honour of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. After a break for lunch we drive down to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth’s surface, to visit Qumran the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947. Excavations uncovered the nearby Essene Monastery where the Scrolls may have originated. We will have an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral laden waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem in good time for dinner and overnight.
Day 7, Sunday 19 November
"Taking up the Cross"
After an early start we drive around to the Dung Gate and enter the Old City to visit the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of the 2nd temple built by Herod the Great, which is the holiest site in Judaism. If permitted we will ascend Mount Moriah to visit the Temple Mount where we can see close up (but not enter) the glorious Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. This will lead us to the remarkable Church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda where we will celebrate the Mass and then wind our way through the narrow alleys of the Old City following the traditional Way of the Cross, culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for lunch we will end our day at the Israel Museum visiting the beautiful scaled model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus. Late afternoon we will return to our hotel to relax before our farewell dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Monday 20 November
Emmaus - Journey home
This morning after a leisurely breakfast we drive to the village of Abu Ghosh, one of the sites associated with the village of Emmaus in the gospels where we will celebrate our final Mass in the Holy Land. After a break for lunch we will make our way to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and check-in for our return flight to London/Manchester. On landing we go our separate ways, ready to speak of all that we have seen and discovered in the Land of the Holy One.