A Christ Centered Pilgrimage & Spiritual Exercises in the Holy Land


    • March 10-21, 2018 (English)

Walk where He walked, pray where He prayed, Come and Experience the person of Jesus Christ in the Holy Land!

Like a destination wedding, come to a destination retreat!  You are invited to a unique and powerful encounter with Jesus Christ, the same powerful Spiritual Exercises preached by renowned retreat master, Fr. John Hopkins, LC from Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center, but in the Holy Land retracing Jesus’ footsteps!

Highlights of our unique Christ centered itinerary, begins with the infancy of Jesus (Eim Karim, Bethlehem), his baptism (Jericho and Mount of Temptations), his hidden life and Galilean ministry (Nazareth, Cana, Magdala, Mt. of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Mt. Tabor, Bethany; Jerusalem (Calvary, Mt. of Olives, Mt. Zion, Western Wall and other underground 1st century places).

Daily: there will be Mass, Rosary, Guided Meditation, time for private silent prayer at each of the pilgrimage sites, time and traffic permitting. We have planned our days to begin early and end early in the evening to allow ample time for prayer and rest. We will pray at practical moments; especially during our traveling periods in the bus.

Click to download Registration Brochure

Click to download Registration Form

Click to download Terms & Conditions

The Pilgrimage Team

  • Fr. John Hopkins, LC, Retreat Master and Spiritual Director
  • Cris Tallent, Pilgrimage Tour Coordinator
  • Sami, Local Catholic Christian Guide
  • Nael, Catholic Christian Driver

Tour operated by:

  • Elite Travel and Shepherds Tours & Travel Co., Ltd.


  • For information about the trip please contact:
    Cristina Tallent, Pilgrimage Tour Coordinator
  • For detailed booking information please contact :
    Minerva Dibildox, Elite Travel

Proposed Itinerary

Day 1 Sunday:
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Provided that there are no deplaning delays, we proceed to the town of Eim Karen, the site of the Visitation. After Mass we continue on to the Notre Dame Center – “the Pope’s Guest House in the Holy Land” and “the place to stay” while in Jerusalem for dinner and early to bed.

Day 2 Monday:
To begin our footsteps in the life of Jesus, we drive to Bethlehem, the site of his birth, then to Shepherd’s Field and Milk Grotto. Mass in the Cave of St. Jerome, beneath the Bethlehem Basilica.

Day 3 Tuesday:
Today we experience the desert. We renew our Baptismal Promises at the Qaser El Yahud Baptismal site, visit the Mt. of Temptations and set out into the desert, walking along the Wadi Qelt to the Monastery of St. George, Mar Jaris.

Day 4 Wednesday:
Today is dedicated to the early life of Jesus. We begin in Nazareth ,Jesus’ childhood home, St. Joseph’s Workshop, and Mary’s Well; followed by a visit to the once thriving city of Sepphoris, “an hour’s walk from Nazareth that employed the skilled craftsmen from Nazareth.” We end our day in Cana, site of Jesus’ first miracle.

Day 5 Thursday:
Today we are on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We start in Tabgha, site of the multiplication of fish & loaves. Our prayers continue at the site where the Apostles washed their nets and on to the Church of the Primacy. We end the day at the newly excavated town of Mary Magdalene, the Magadala Center with Mass & Holy Hour.

Day 6 Friday:
Once again, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, we experience Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes. Then onto Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s affirmation of Jesus. Weather permitting, we end the day with a sunset cruise on the Sea of Galilee.

Day 7 Saturday:
Our day begins with Mass at Mt. Tabor, site of the Transfiguration. En route to Jerusalem, we’ll stop where Jesus met the Samaritan woman, Jacobo’s Well.* Upon our arrival in Jerusalem we will pray the Stations of the Cross.

Day 8 Sunday:
In the morning we retrace Jesus’ steps at the Mount of Olives. We begin at the site of the Ascension; then on to the Church of Pater Noster – amidst the caves and rocks where Jesus’ taught his disciples to pray the Our Father, followed by prayers in the chapel of Dominus Flevit where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Continuing our walk down the Palm Sunday Road we end in the Garden of Gethsemane where we will have Mass in the Grotto of the Betrayal, followed by a walk through the Gardens and visit to the Church of All Nations. After lunch, we set out to Mt. Zion, first to the house of Caiaphas and then to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the site of Peter’s denial and the holding cells where Jesus was taken after his arrest. We continue our journey with a visit to the Dormition Abbey which commemorates Our Lady’s Dormition. We conclude the day with a visit to the Upper Room, site of the Last Supper and Pentecost.

Day 9 Monday:
Our day begins very early with 6:30 a.m. Mass at Calvary. After breakfast, we begin our walking experience of the Old City of Jerusalem, starting with a visit to the Western Wall, including the tunnel and temple steps, the Ophel. We continue along the Via Dolorosa praying at the Station chapels and visiting other subter- ranean First Century sites, such as the Lithostrotos, Barabbas and Jesus’ holding jail cell. Then we visit the house of St. Mark in the Armenian quarter, making our way to the Pool of Bethesda and the home of Sts. Joaquin and Ann, Mary’s birth place. FAREWELL DINNER.

Day 10 Tuesday:
Early morning visit to Temple Mount* followed by Mass at the Crusader chapel in Bethany, the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, including a visit to the tomb of Lazarus. Optional afternoon at leisure or optional Dead Sea swim. Evening Holy Hour at the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Day 11 Wednesday:
Mass & USA Departures.

*If time and security permit.

Booking & Payment Information

  • Price per person $2840*   DEADLINE TO REGISTER at this price: November 15, 2017
    (*All inclusive Land Portion. Based on double occupancy and minimum of 20 Participants. Single Room Supplement: $880)

The quoted rate includes:

  • 10 Nights accommodation with breakfast & 10 dinners
  • Daily lunches as per program
  • One group farewell dinner at a local restaurant
  • English speaking guide
  • Deluxe transportation
  • All entrance fees in the itinerary
  • Porterage fees at hotels
  • Tips for guide, driver, restaurant & hotel staff
  • Audio guiding system

The above rate does not include:

  • Any personal expenses such as telephone calls; Bottled Beverages, laundry; Internet fees
  • Excess baggage
  • Single room supplement $880;
  • Trip cancellation/Trip interruption/Medical Insurance;
  • Optional Stipends for Priests or additional personal tips
  • Flight (optional Group flight available, see below)

Optional Group Flight: + $1,290

United Economy Group Rate.
Departing: Washington-DCA, Newark, Tel-Aviv
Retruing: Tel-Aviv, Newark, DCA


Payment Schedule

  • $500 Non-refundable Deposit due at time of booking
  • Final payment due 1/9/17.
  • Minimum Required number of participants 20***
  • Payment by Checks made payable to: Elite Travel
  • Credit Card +4% processing fee

***If less than 20 participants option to agree to new price adjusted to reflect number of participants. Current price calculated at 20 passengers.

Click to view full Terms & Conditions

TRIP CANCELLATION / TRIP INTERRUPTION/ MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. For Cost: Ask Minerva for specific insurance details at time of booking


  • Valid US Passport.  Non-US passport holders please check with Israeli consulates, most nationalities do not require visas.  Passport must be valid for six months after return date. If your passport has a stamp from other Arab countries (other than Jordan and Egypt), Iran, Venezuela or Indonesia, it is advisable to obtain a new passport.

Is it safe to Travel to Israel now? Over 4 million tourists visited Israel in 2013-14, all came home safe and sound! It’s a tourism environment with a high safety record, we must not be discouraged from visiting the Cradle of Christianity and supporting our persecuted Christian brethren.

Health Requirements & Practical Information

Pilgrims must be medically and physically fit to participate. This Pilgrimage requires significant walking on steep and uneven terrain. Motor coaches are not permitted to pick up and drop off in front of many of the sites.

The Pilgrimage is not wheelchair accessible. Any special medical conditions or equipment usage must be reported at the time of booking. Should any special assistance be required, traveler agrees to bring a companion capable and willing to assist traveler.

A Pilgrimage notebook will be provided for each participant. Prior to departure you will receive further trip information with helpful hints and suggestions. Sturdy or light hiking shoes highly recommended.

The Pilgrimage is open to both men and women. Minimum age of participants is 17 yrs. of age. We try to adhere as much as possible to the printed itinerary but please note that there might be circumstances beyond our control that could alter the order of the day’s itinerary.

All Masses have been requested at stated place and times; however, the Mass schedule is determined by the Franciscan Holy Land Custody which assigns the Masses a month prior to arrival.

For further pilgrimage and itinerary details contact: Cris Tallent at: rcholylandspex@gmail.com. or at 301-365-0612.

Booking Information

Please download the brochure.