Redemptorist International Pastoral Centre England

the holy land pilgrimage

When the political situation changes, we will be in a position to offer a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as we have done in the past

For many people, the land of Jesus is the fifth Gospel, a book of biblical landscape that lights up the pages of the written Gospels. For eight days, members of the staff lead this optional pilgrimage to the land of Jesus. This is an extra, not included in the course fees.

Day 1 Thursday
Manchester - Tel Aviv

We leave Hawkstone by private coach and board our flight in Manchester for Tel Aviv. During the flight dinner will be served. On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport the group will be met and taken by coach to a hotel in Netanya, a town situated on the Mediterranean coast.

Day 2 Friday
Netanya - Caesarea - Tiberias

We leave Netanya and drive north along the coastal plain of Sharon to Caesarea, the ancient capital of Palestine, built by Herod the Great. We shall sit in the ancient theatre facing out across the Mediterranean. It was at Caesarea that Peter baptised the centurion, Cornelius, and where Paul was imprisoned for two years. From Caesarea we travel northeast to Megiddo, the fortress that guarded the essential pass for all traffic between Damascus and Egypt. After continuing east, along the fertile Valley of Jezreel, we will stop for lunch. Following lunch we will visit Mount Tabor, the traditional site of the Transfiguration, where we will celebrate our first Mass. We end the day by driving to Tiberias, first built in Jesus' lifetime by Herod Antipas. There we relax in the hotel where we will stay for two nights.

Day 3 Saturday
Nazareth - Cana - Sea of Galilee

We begin our first day in Galilee with a drive to Nazareth where we celebrate Mass in the Convent of the French Sisters of Nazareth. Here we can also see, if it is open, the first-century Tomb of the Just One. After visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation, we will journey to Cana, and then return to Tiberias for lunch. In the afternoon, we will travel by boat from Tiberias to Capernaum to visit the town that served as the centre for Jesus' Galilean ministry. We continue along the shore of the lake to visit other sites connected with the ministry of Jesus, including the Mount of the Beatitudes. At the end of the day we return to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 4 Sunday
Tiberias - Jericho - Jerusalem

Today we leave Galilee and head south to Jerusalem. We begin the day by walking down to the Sea of Galilee to spend some time in quiet meditation before celebrating Mass in the Crusader Church of St Peter. After Mass, we drive to the southern shore of the Sea, stopping at the pilgrims' baptismal site on the River Jordan. We drive south along the Jordan Valley, passing Bet Shean, to Jericho, on our way to Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Here we will have lunch and visit the site. We continue our journey by driving along the ancient Roman road through the hills of the Judean wilderness, climbing steadily up to the City of Jerusalem. Pausing briefly on Mount Scopus or the Mount of Olives we enjoy a panoramic view of Jerusalem, and then drive to our hotel, where we will stay for four nights.

Day 5 Monday
Mount of Olives - Via Dolorosa

When we leave the hotel we drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives. We walk the Pilgrim Way, down to the Church of Dominus Flevit, where we will celebrate Mass. After Mass we continue our descent to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we visit the Basilica of the Agony (the Basilica of All Nations). After pausing for prayer, we cross the Kidron Valley to St Stephen's Gate, the entrance to the Old City, where we begin walking the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross). Having paused to visit the Pool of Bethesda and St Anne's Church, we will enter the Ecce Homo Convent, built over part of the Antonia Fortress constructed by Herod to overlook the Temple. Here we will see the ancient Roman pavement - the Lithostratos. Continuing along the Via Dolorosa, we will reach Golgotha, now inside the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. In the afternoon our walk takes us through the Old City to Mount Zion to visit the Cenacle (the room of the Last Supper), the Tomb of David and the Abbey of the Dormition. We return to our hotel from Mount Zion by bus.

Day 6 Tuesday
Bethlehem - Mount Zion - Emmaus

We begin the day by travelling south to Bethlehem and celebrating Mass in St Jerome's Cave. In the Basilica of the Nativity we venerate the traditional birthplace of Jesus. Returning to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, we visit the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu (Cockcrow), which is the traditional site of the house of Caiaphas. In the afternoon we drive out of Jerusalem to see Church of the Visitation and the Church of St John the Baptist. Afterwards we close the day by driving to Abu Gosh, where we remember Jesus' appearance to the two disciples at Emmaus. We return by bus to our hotel.

Day 7 Wednesday
Jerusalem - Temple Mount

After breakfast we will drive the short distance to the Old City and enter by the Dung Gate. We walk to the Western Wall, where we can see and join the Jewish people at prayer. From there we climb to the Temple Mount where we will visit two Muslim holy places - the El Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. We conclude the morning of the last full day with the celebration of Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The rest of the day is free, to revisit places of interest or do some shopping. People make their own way back to the hotel.

Day 8 Thursday
Tel Aviv - Manchester

Very early in the morning we have a light breakfast and leave Jerusalem for Tel Aviv, where we board the return flight to Manchester. At Manchester, the coach driver will meet us and return us to Hawkstone. Pilgrims are welcome to return to Hawkstone, even though the break has not ended, or to arrange their own time until Sunday evening, when all return.

Passports & Visas

  • To take part in this pilgrimage you must possess a passport that is valid for six months after your return from Israel to England. If you require a VISA for the UK, and you wish to join the pilgrimage, you must obtain a multi-entry visa for the UK before you leave your country of residence. Regarding the need of a visa to enter Israel, the following is part of a letter from the Israeli Embassy in London to Hawkstone Hall on 20th September 1999: "...In order to assist your students, please advise them to apply for the visa in their place of residence prior to their arrival in the UK...In cases where there is no Israeli Embassy in the applicant's country of residence, it is to the applicant's benefit that the application be made at the nearest country in which there is an Embassy..."
  • In brief, for those who require a visa for Israel, there are two necessary requirements:
    • they must have a multi-entry visa for the UK and
    • they must have a visa for Israel.
    Both these requirements must be fulfilled before arriving in the UK.

If, for any reason, you wish to contact the Israeli Embassy in London, the address is: Embassy of Israel, Consulate General, 2 Palace Green, LONDON W8 4QB.

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Pilgrims Theatre at Caesarea Mt of Beatitudes Sea of Galilee Church of all Nations Boy praying at Western Wall Bethleham Western Wall