with a Pilgrimage Chaplain
Bro. Bo Sanchez
February 11, 2019
Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is the cradle of Christianity, the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the place where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Nazareth, in the lower Galilee, is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains that embrace several of the most important Christian sites in the world. This is a city of religion and faith, of spirituality and holiness, but also a city with a rich history, fascinating archaeology, modern culture and Middle Eastern charm.
Located on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee (or Lake Kinneret), Tiberias is Israel’s lowest city at 200 meters below sea level. It was named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
Tiberius is one of the four Jewish Holy cities, and the capital of Galilee. It has a long history since it was established in the early Roman period. It was the Jewish people’s political and religious hub as well as the center of Jewish spiritual creativity. Tiberius has historically been known for its hot springs, believed to cure skin and other ailments, for thousands of years.
Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is home to a celebrated Byzantine-era synagogue as well as the house where Jesus healed a paralytic and St. Peter’s mother-in-law.
Capernaum is frequently mentioned in the Gospels and was Jesus’ main base during his Galilean ministry. It is referred to as Jesus’ “own city” (Mt 9:1; Mk 2:1) and a place where he lived (Mt 1:13). He probably chose it simply because it was the home of his first converts, Peter and Andrew (Mk 1:21, 29).
The Sea of Galilee lies roughly 650 feet below sea level and is 14 miles long and 7 1/2 miles wide at its widest point. The Sea is the major source of fresh water for the entire country. The Sea, really a lake, lies on the ancient “Via Maris,” a route that linked Egypt and Mesopotamia.
It was by the Sea of Galilee that Jesus chose his first disciples – Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, and it was here that he performed many miracles. It was in the hills surrounding the Lake that Jesus fed the five thousand from the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and it was on this Lake that he stilled the storm and walked on the water to his disciples.
Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level in the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Also known as the Mount of Transfiguration, it is the traditional site of the Transfiguration described in the Synoptic Gospels, when Jesus became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and was called “Son” by God (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36.). Two churches on top of the mountain commemorate the Transfiguration– an impressive Franciscan church built on the ruins of Byzantine and Crusaders churches, and a modest Greek Orthodox church named for the prophet Elijah.
Cana is the traditional site of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). It is also mentioned later in John as a place where Jesus heals a royal official’s son (John 4:46) and the hometown of disciple Nathaneal (also called Bartholomew) (John 21:2).
The Franciscan Wedding Church was built in 1879 on the traditional site of the wedding feast where ancient stone jars were discovered. It is possible for couples to renew their wedding vows here, with a certificate available in a variety of languages.
Located on a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee near Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes is the traditional site of Jesus’ delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, probably the most famous sermon of all time. Pilgrims have been drawn to this scenic place since at least the 4th century.Designed by the architect A. Barluzzi, the Catholic Church on the Mount of Beatitudes is Byzantine in style. Its octagonal shape represents the eight beatitudes.
The chief attraction here, though, is the setting. The cool and quiet gardens overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the landscape where Jesus conducted his ministry make an excellent place to contemplate some of the best-known Christian teachings.
In the region of Tabgha, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, lies the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, the traditional site of the food multiplication story found in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-15) It is also where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection (John 21:1-17).
Besides its sacred importance as the place of a miracle of Jesus, the main highlight of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes is the beautiful 5th-century figurative mosaic floor. It is the earliest known example of a figured pavement in Palestinian Christian art.
The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, north of the Church of the Multiplication, was built on rocks at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, traditionally considered to be the place where Jesus appeared the fourth time after his resurrection (John 21:1-24), during which Jesus again conferred primacy to Simon Peter.
The Jordan River, in which John the Baptist baptized his cousin Jesus of Nazareth, is a river which flows into the Dead Sea. It is considered to be one of the world’s most sacred rivers.
It originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mt. Hermon, Israel. It ends its course at the lowest spot in the world, the Dead Sea, at 420 meters below sea level.
John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of the Messiah when he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan River (Matt 3:5 ff; Mk 1:5 ff).
Jesus Himself was also baptized by John in the Jordan River near Bethany (John 1:28-33).
The city of Bethlehem, located about six miles, southwest of Jerusalem, is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Meaning “house of bread,” Bethlehem was also the renowned City of David. It was there in young David’s hometown that the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 16: 1-13)
And in Micah 5, the prophet foretold that Messiah would come from the small and seemingly insignificant town of Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is home to one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world. Built by Constantine the Great (circa 330 AD), the Church of the Nativity still stands over a cave believed to be the very spot where Jesus was born. The place of the manger is marked by a 14-pointed silver star, called the Star of Bethlehem.
At Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters – Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls are the important holy sites of the three major religions: the Western Wall, which is holy to the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.
Jerusalem is also very important to Christianity, as Jesus Christ lived and died here. One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian quarter is the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Sorrows,” Jesus’ final path, where he was crucified and buried.
Jericho is believed to be one of, if not the oldest cities in the world.
According to Jewish tradition, after the Israelites’ 40-year sojourn in the desert, Joshua decides the first city in Canaan he will conquer is Jericho. God tells him that he will be victorious and instructs Joshua to have his troops march around the walls of the city once a day for six days.
On the seventh day, the troops are supposed to circle the city seven more times, then the priests are ordered to blow their horns and the soldiers to shout, and the walls of the city, God tells Joshua, will tumble down. This is precisely what happens according to the Bible (Joshua 6).
Jericho sits between Mt. Nebo in the east, the Central Mountains to the west and the Dead Sea to the south. In addition to these natural fortifications, Jericho also benefited from natural irrigation afforded by the Jordan River approximately four miles to the west, and from underground tributaries from the Central Mountains which fed her famous oasis. This irrigation resulted in teeming plant life and helped to transform Jericho into a flowing sea of green in an otherwise barren desert. Besides being old, Jericho is also one of the lowest cities in the world, about 800 feet (244 m) below sea level.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth in any land mass (417 meters below sea level, to be exact). The quantity of water that evaporates from it is greater than that which flows into it, such that this body of water has the highest concentration of salt in the world (340 grams per liter of water).
It is called the Dead Sea because its salinity prevents the existence of any life forms in the lake. That same salt, on the other hand, provides tremendous relief to the many ailing visitors who come here on a regular basis to benefit from its healing properties. All these and more make the Dead Sea so fascinating, so different and so interesting.
Picturesque Ein Karem is one of Jerusalem’s most charming neighborhoods. According to Christian tradition, this is where Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, miraculously became pregnant. This is also where he was born. Tradition teaches that during her pregnancy, Elizabeth was visited by a family relative – Mary, who was also pregnant, with Jesus.
The Church of the Visitation, said to be built over the home of John the Baptist’s parents, commemorates this event. In the church courtyard, one wall is covered with ceramic tiles bearing the words of the Magnificat in 42 languages.
The village of Emmaus was the setting for one of the most touching of Christ’s post- Resurrection appearances.
The Emmaus story is well-known: Two disciples downcast by the death of Jesus, and confused by reports that his body is missing, are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They encounter a stranger who listens to their concerns, then gives them a Scripture lesson that makes their “hearts burn within them”.
Finally, as they share the evening meal, he breaks bread and they recognise him. By then the risen Christ has disappeared from their sight, and they immediately hurry back to Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35).
I’d like to invite you to connect with God. Join me, travel with me, journey with me.
Let’s go to where Jesus, the Living God, walked, preached, breathed, lived, and died.
Come with me to the Holy Land.
It’s a living, breathing, miracle of a place.
The first time I set foot in Israel — the Promised Land — I cried. It was so overwhelming to be at the place where salvation was bought and paid for with the Blood of Christ.
I want you to experience the same overwhelming blessing.
You can walk where Jesus walked.
We’ll go to Calvary where Jesus was crucified, Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and Galilee, where Jesus preached–and so many other incredible places.
It’s always a joy to see the actual places that you read in the Bible. It’s like the Bible coming alive — in Technicolor — before you.
I’ll be bringing with me a friend priest.
He’ll celebrate Mass with us every day.
I’ll also be bringing with me my fellow leaders.
It’ll be a ball!
We’ll have lots of fun, I can assure you.
Even now, I’m praying for all those who’ll go with me (I call them pilgrims). May God give my pilgrims a deeper spiritual connection!
May the Lord inspire my pilgrims to new directions in their life. May my pilgrims discover their mission and embrace it more fully, through this pilgrimage.
I see a pilgrimage as a long holy retreat.
Except that instead of staying in one place, we’re constantly moving. We’re moving towards God.
~ Bro. Bo Sanchez
Join Bro. Bo Sanchez and Kerygma Preachers on a 10-day Pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a Pilgrimage Chaplain leaving on February 11, 2019. Celebrate the Feast in the Holy Land, walk prayerfully and devoutly in the footsteps of the Lord and allow Him to lead you in your life’s journey.
Listen to inspiring talks by Bro. Bo Sanchez and join in an evening of Praise and Worship with other Kerygma Preachers in Jerusalem.
Experience life as it was in biblical times in the Genesis Land.
Touch the silver star which marks the spot where Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Reflect on the scripture passages read in every place that you will visit while in the Holy Land.
Bountiful and delicious buffet-style for both breakfast and dinner meals throughout the pilgrimage
Vir & I would like to express our gratitude for a wonderful pilgrimage we had from Sept 5-18. From checking-in last Sept 5 & all during the tour, we felt the care from a family. No words can ever describe how thankful we are. I almost cried last Sept 8, (my birthday) when we (2 of us have the same birthday) were given a surprise mini celebration when after our dinner, we were given a cake. I really felt the love of a family then. All these things made possible because of your capable coordinator Ms. Ging Igual. She's such a wonderful leader. Kudos to her. Rest assured that i will refer your company to all my friends who are planning to go on pilgrimage . Good day & may God always guide & protect all of you in the Pilgrims' Center/ Executive Resources, Inc. Cora Franca PilgrimCora and Vir Franca
Dear Pilgrims' Center: My husband Aldo & I would like to praise & commend our Pilgrim Chaplain Fr. Dante Venus & our Tour Leader Bro. Monty for the very successful & memorable pilgrimage to Italy & the Holy Land we were very fortunate to join on March 26-April 8, 2018. It was very hectic to be sure, but still they managed our time very well that we were able to visit more places than was promised in the itinerary, and we are very appreciative of that. Likewise, the solemnity of the whole pilgrimage experience was still observed despite many of us in the group, myself included, often forgetting that we were pilgrims & not tourists 😉😉, taking photos, selfies, etc. instead of, or before focusing on what the local guide was explaining or on the scripture readings. I cannot fault us pilgrims on this because for many of us seniors, and I speak for my husband & I, that trip might be our first & last time to visit those places, so we made sure they were properly documented. Nonetheless, it was a truly spiritually uplifting & life-changing experience for us. We continue to thank our Lord for making that experience of a lifetime possible. Indeed, nothing is impossible for God! Thank you very much to Fr. Dante, Bro. Monty & to each of us pilgrims in the group for the prayers, love, care & concern shown to each other. Let us continue to pray for and with each other. It is my hope that we meet each other again soon, to strengthen our bonds of friendships. Most sincerely, Leclec CabusoraLeclec Cabusora
I am honored to be included in this pilgrimage. The Pilgrims' Center has very good itineraries worth remembering. No hours wasted. They took very good care of us in spite of our big number of 47 people. The daily mass and homilies of Fr. Manny Cruz held in different shrines and churches were very inspirational and transforming. Accommodations were nice most especially the one on top of the Mountain with an awesome view built in 1909. It's like travelling back in time. I definitely would want to do it again with Pilgrim Center.Peter Joseph Mapua
The Pilgrims' Center always gives you the best. They let you feel like an Executive in terms of personal service & attention especially during pilgrimage. Their choices of pilgrimages and pilgrim chaplains are outstanding. You go back home very fulfilled and immersed...Marlene Silvestre
No Visa is required for Filipino citizens going to the Holy Land.
A Passport with 6-month validity is required.
1) US$ 500.00 deposit is required upon reservations together with a recent passport-size photo, photocopy of passport (valid for 6 months from date of departure) and Pilgrim’s Profile.
2) Full payment in U.S. dollars is required before ticketing but in no case shall it be later than one month before departure date.
3) The following cancellation charges will apply:
> 60 days before departure date – US$ 300.00
> 45 days before departure date – 50% of the Tour Cost
> 30 days prior to departure date – Full tour cost will be forfeited.
BASIC TOUR COST DOES NOT INCLUDE: Visa fees and documentation expenses, insurance, hospitalization and other medical expenses, tours and transportation during free periods, porterage of extra pieces of luggage in excess of maximum allocation, drinks and beverages taken during meals, items of personal nature such as laundry, telephone, fax, room service, tips for drivers, guides, tour escorts, and other expenses not mentioned in the itinerary terms and conditions.
THE PILGRIMS’ CENTER has arranged for the various tour services to be performed under the responsibility of various contractors. Executive Resources, Inc., its employees or its subagents therefore only act as agents for the contractors providing the various services described in the tour and accept no responsibility or liability in connection with losses or accidental expenses due to delays of schedule, overbooking, defaults or “force majeure”. All tours and arrangements are subject to the general conditions specified by each contractor. Tour itineraries and prices are subject to change without prior notice