Pilgrimage to the Holy Land April, 2016

Here is a record of the places we visited in Israel. Added are internet links to some of the photos taken, to a Google Map location and to links of additional reading information for each of the sites we visited. The sites are listed in the order in which the group traveled and they have been grouped by the days we traveled on. Hopefully we can better understand the path's Jesus walked and the areas he visited.

Table of Contents

Monday, April 4
1. Tel Aviv    
Tuesday, April 5
2. Nazareth Drive 5. Tabgha Loaves & Fishs 8. Lunch
3. Galilee Drive 6. Peter's Primacy 9. Boat Ride
4. Church of the Beatitudes * 7. Capharnaum  
Wednesday, April 6
10. Cana * 12. Annunciation Church 13b. Synagog Church
11. Mt. Carmel 13. St. Joseph's Church 14. Mary's Well
Thursday, April 7
15. Mt. Tabor * 18. Nablus 21. Samaritan Museum
16.Drive South 19. Jacob's Well 22. Jerusalem Drive
17. Sebastia 20. Samaritan Drive 23. Jerusalem Hotel
Friday, April 8
24. Desert Mass * 26. Jericho 28. Dead Sea
25. Jordan River 27. Qumran 29. Jerusalem Drive Back
Saturday, April 9
30. Mount of Olives 35. Mary Magdalene 40. Dormition Abby
31. Ascention Chapel 36. Gethsemane 41. Upper Room
32. Pater Noster 37. Mary's Tomb 42. David's Tomb
33. Jerusalem Views 38. Mount Zion 43. Bethlehem Hotel
34. Dominus Flevit * 39. St. Peter in Gallicantu  
Sunday, April 10
44. Jerusalem Drive In 49. Via Dolorosa walk 54. Via Dolorosa 5 - 7
45. Temple Mount 50. Via Dolorosa 3 & 4 55. Holy Sepulcher
46. St. Ann Monastery 51. Lunch Jerusalem 56. Jaffa Gate
47. Pools of Bethesda 52. Western Wall 57. Bethlehem Hotel
48. Via Dolorosa 1 & 2 * 53. Via Dolorosa walk  
Monday, April 11
58. St. Jerome's Cave * 62. Lunch & Shopping 66. John the Baptist
59. Milk Grotto 63. Ein Kraim Drive 67. Bus Wait
60. Church of the Nativity 64. Visitation walk 68. Dinner & Party
61. Shepard's Field 65. Church of the Visitation 69. Awards & Prayer

Sunday, April 3:

Flight from PDX to Tel Aviv

We departed from Portland (PDX) airport on Sunday, April 4 at 6:00am. We flew to New York City and had a 10 hour layover and then change planes and fly to Tel Aviv, Israel. We landed around 5:30 pm on April 4. We experienced Jewish prayer on the plane.

  • Photos
  • Ben Gurion Airport: Google Maps
  • Monday, April 4:

    Arrival & Drive to Nazareth

    Arrive at the Tel Aviv airport in the Holy Land. Met and assisted by our Tour Guide (Abraham). Drove to the Hotel in Nazareth. We aided a priest from Virginia who was making a personal pilgrimage to Nazareth. He caught a ride with our group from the airport to Nazareth and talked of walking from Nazareth to Galilee.

    Tuesday, April 5:

    Drive to Galilee:

    Drove to Galilee from Nazareth and saw orchards of olive trees, mango trees, banana plants, etc. Noticed towns build on the hills and flat land reserved mostly for farming.

    Church of the Beatitudes: (MASS)

    First stop was the Roman Catholic Church of the Beatitudes on the Sea of Galilee located near Tabgha and Capernaum. This is the traditional site of Jesus's delivery of the Sermon on the Mount. We celebrated mass here.

    Tabgha (Loaves and Fishes)

    Drove a short distance from the Church of the Beatitudes to the small chapel in Tabgha where it is traditionally accepted as the place of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

    Peter's Primacy

    The next stop was the the Franciscan Church, also located in Tabgha, of the Primacy of Peter. It commemorates the spot of Jesus's reinstatement of Peter as chief among the Apostles and the church. The church incorporates part of a 4th-century church with steps that the pilgrim Egeria documented on her pilgrimage to the holy land in the early 380's CE. The translated document is titled "The Pilgrimage of Etheria".


    We left the Church of Peter's Primacy and drove to Capernaum, near the hometown of the apostles Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John & Matthew.

    Lunch at Peter's Restaurant

    We all ate a fish lunch at a restaurant on the Sea of Galilee named Peter's Restaurant Our choice of food was whole fish or fish fillet or I think chicken.

    Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee

    Drove closer to Tiberius and had a really nice ride in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

    Wednesday, April 6:

    Cana (MASS)

    Woke up, had breakfast and drove to Cana. Cana commemorates the first miracle of Jesus at the wedding. We celebrated mass in Cana at the Franciscan Church at Cana.

    Mt. Carmel

    Next, we drove north quite a ways to Haifa, Israel and up the mountain to Mt. Carmel. Mt. Carmel is where the prophet Elijah challenged the those who worshiped the pagan deity with Yahweh, the God of the Israelites with lightning. We visited the Stella Maris Monastery (Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) and took photos of the Bahia Gardens.

    Basilica of the Annunciation - Nazareth

    Now we had lunch and then returned to Nazareth. In Nazareth we first visited the Basilica of the Annunciation. Roman Catholic tradition established this site as to where the Annunciation took place and where believed to be the original childhood home of Mary.

    St. Joseph's Church

    Right next to the Basilica of the Annunciation is the St. Joseph Church traditionally held as built over the workshop of the St. Joseph.

    Synagog Church

    Clost to St. Joseph's church is the Synagog Church. I neglected to add this site earlier because I forgot to take photos when we were there.

    Mary's Well

    Finally, we ended the day by walking from The Basilica of the Annunciation church to the Greek Orthodox church built over Mary's Well.

    Thursday, April 7:

    Mount Tabor (MASS)

    We woke up, had breakfast in Nazareth and then started our drive south to Jerusalem. Passed the town on Nain where Jesus raised a man from the dead. We first went to visit Mt. Tabor, Transfiguration of Jesus. We had mass on Mt. Tabor. We had an interesting drive where the bus driver had to manipulate the bus down a very steep hill with difficulty making a turn. He made it with no problem.

    Drive South

    We drove south from Mount Tabor to Sebastia through the West Bank. Sebastia is just northwest of Nablus. Here are some photos captured from the bus along the way.


    Visited ruins of King Herod in Sebastia. An early Christian tradition (from the 1st half of the 4th century) says John the Baptist's disciples buried his body here after he was beheaded by Herod Antipas. The photos I have here include the lunch and walking around the ruins. The waiter at the restaurant was very friendly and spoke of making a trip to Portland in May.


    We continued our drive south from Sebastia to Nablus and Jacob's Well. I captured some photos along the side of the road from the bus.

    Jacob's Well

    This is the site where Jesus met the Samaritan women at the well. It is written that it's the most authentic site in the Holy Land. We all got to taste the water from the well if we wanted to. Fr. Sean turned up the bucket of the water from the well.

    Drive to Samaritan Town

    Next we drove to a Samaritan museum on Mount Gerizim. These photos show a road block with a small detour.

    Samaritan Museum

    Less than 1,000 Samaritan's live today and they say they are descendants from one of Mose's original 12 tribes. We visited a museum and heard from the brother of the leader of the Samaritan's who described who they were and what they believed.

    Drive to Jerusalem

    We left the Samaritan Museum and drove on to Jerusalem.

    Jerusalem Hotel

    Friday, April 8:

    Mass in the Desert (MASS)

    Next day we woke up and drive towards the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. We had mass in the desert in the middle of nowhere. Really neat.

    Jordan River

    We visited the river closer to the mouth of the Dead Sea. Jordan was across the river. This was near the Al-Maghtas site. We didn't cross the river to the east side.


    We visited Jericho ruins said to be 10,000 years old. This was at the base of the Mount of Temptation.


    Next stop was just a little south of Jericho to where the Dead Sea scrolls were found in the caves of Qumran.

    Dead Sea Swim

    We visited a site after leaving Qumran that was on the dead sea to take a dip in the salty water.

    Drive back to Jerusalem

    These are photos of our drive from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and our lunch in Jerusalem.

    Saturday, April 9:

    Drive to Mount of Olives

    We left the hotel and drove up to the Mount of Olives and had mass at Dominos Flevit.

    Ascension Chapel

    This chapel is on the site the faithful traditionally believe to be the earthly spot where Jesus ascended into Heaven forty days after his resurrection. It's actual an Islamic mosque. It houses a slab of stone believed to contain one of his footprints.

    Church of the Pater Noster

    Views of Jerusalem

    These photos were taken from the Mount of Olives looking across the Kidron Valley at the old city of Jerusalem. As we walked from the Pater Noster Church to Gethsemane.

    Dominus Flevit Church (MASS)

    We had Mass at the Dominus Flevit Church. Sorry but I I didn't take any photos here.

    Church of Mary Magdalene

    Next we continued walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane and visited the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene.

    Garden of Gethsemane

    Church of the Assumption (Mary's Tomb)

    Drive to Mount Zion

    Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu

    This church was located on Mount Zion and commemorates St. Peter's triple rejection of Jesus. Gallicantu means cock's-crow in Latin. It's also possibly be the site of High Priest Caiaphas's palace and a prison that might have held Jesus with steps that lead to Jerusalem of which Jesus may have walked.

    Dormition Abby

    The Upper Room

    Traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper

    King David's Tomb

    Bethlehem Hotel

    Now we drove from Mount Zion to Bethlehem to our last hotel in Israel.

    Sunday, April 10:

    Drive into Jerusalem

    Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock)

    Monastery of St. Ann

    Pools of Bethesda

    Via Dolorosa Stations 1 & 2 (MASS)

    Via Dolorosa - Continued

    Via Dolorosa Stations 3 & 4

    Lunch in Jerusalem

    Western Wall

    Via Dolorosa - Continued

    Via Dolorosa Stations 5 & 6 & 7

    Church of the Holy Sepulchre

    Jaffa Gate

    Bethlehem Hotel

    Monday, April 11:

    St. Jerome's Cave & Church of the Nativity (MASS)

    Next to the The Church of the Nativity is the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria which provides access to an adjacent cave where we had mass and where Saint Jerome spent 30 years in around 386 translating Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He produced the first vernacular version of the Bible known as the Vulgate.

    Milk Grotto

    Church of the Nativity

    The Church of the Nativity is a basilica above a cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. Next to it is a St. Jerome's

    Shepard's Fields

    Lunch & Shopping near Shepard's Fields

    Drive to Ein Kraim

    Walk to Church of the Visitation

    Church of the Visitation

    Church of St. John the Baptist

    Wait for the Bus

    Dinner & Going Away Party

    Awards & Prayer

    We had a very nice time with the going away party and awards. After this event we headed for the airport in Tel Aviv. Our plane took off just a little past midnight.

    Tuesday, April 12:

    Arrived home in the afternoon on Tuesday. What a wonderful trip.