Bishop Ramon Arguelles, DD
Sister Emma de Guzman
October 18, 2018
Turkey, Holy Land
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey.
It is the country’s economic, cultural and historical heart. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally.
Istanbul was called Byzantium in ancient times, the city’s name was changed to Constantinople when it was rebuilt by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. It was renamed once again in 1928, becoming Istanbul, a name which had already been in use for centuries.
Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, but its buildings reflect the various people and empires that have previously ruled the city.
Kusadasi, which means “Bird Island,” is set in a superb gulf in the Aegean region of Turkey.
It is known for its turquoise sparkling water of the sea, broad sandy beaches, bright sun and large marina.
Kusadasi used to be a fishing village but has now grown to be one of Turkey’s popular tourist destination. Set on Turkey’s west coast, the place is now brimming with holiday resorts, buzzing bars and a good-looking marina lined up with cafes, restaurants and shops.
Kusadasi also caters to tourists arriving by land, and as the port for cruise ship passengers heading to Ephesus.
Ephesus is a large archaeological site in Aegean Turkey and one of Turkey’s major tourist attractions.
The ancient Greek city of Ephesus was famous for its Temple of Artemis (near present day Selcuk), which was recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Ephesus also attracted Christian settlers (Greeks and Jews), including St. Paul who lived in Ephesus for three years (in the AD 50s) There is a tradition that St. John settled here with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and also wrote his gospel here.
A pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place. Embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and visit the sites connected to the life, birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Listen to inspiring homilies from Bishop Ramon Arguelles, DD. Experience the healing touch of Jesus through Sister Emma de Guzman, a Roman Catholic visionary, healer and mystic. Join a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Turkey with Bishop Ramon Arguelles, DD led by Emma de Guzman leaving on October 18, 2018.
Begin your pilgrimage in Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Visit the imposing Church of the Annunciation, which stands over the cave where the Archangel Gabriel told Mary that she would become the mother of the Son of God. Built on top of a hill and bedecked with beautiful mosaics, the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the Holy Land.
Renew your baptismal vows at the Jordan River and your marriage vows in Cana, the site of the first miracle of Jesus. The text truly comes to life when you read the Sermon on the Mount while standing on the Mount of Beatitudes. Enjoy a pleasurable boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus performed numerous miracles and walked on the water.
Head off to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Touch the silver star that marks the place where Jesus was born at the Grotto of the Nativity. Visit Shepherd’s Field, the fields identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity.
A high point of the pilgrimage is a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem. Here, you will relive the passion of Jesus while praying the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief), which ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Visit Emmaus, a town where Jesus appeared after his death and resurrection, before two of his disciples while they were walking on the road to Emmaus. Celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass at the Monastere de la Resurrection in Abu Gosh, one of the most beautiful buildings preserved from the Crusader Period.
Head for the beautiful city of Istanbul in Turkey. Offering a wealth of historical and religious places to visit, Istanbul provides us with a glimpse of Turkey’s proud heritage. Visit the enchanting Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more commonly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. Not to be missed is the visit to Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires.
From Istanbul take a short flight to Izmir, the pearl of the Aegean Sea. Head for Kusadasi to visit the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary, reputed to be the place where Our Blessed Mother spent her last years with St. John, to whom Jesus entrusted to his care. Visit famous archaeological sites of Ephesus including theTemple of Artemis, considered as one of the 7 Wonders of Antiquity, the Library of Celsus, the Amphitheatre and others.
Join a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Turkey with Bishop Ramon Arguelles, DD led by Sister Emma de Guzman leaving on October 18, 2018. As a true pilgrim, walk prayerfully and devoutly in the steps of the Lord with openness to the movement and healing of the Spirit of Jesus in your life.
Lavish buffet breakfast and hefty servings for lunch and dinner, already included in the pilgrimage package cost.
The Basilica of Nativity is entered through a very low doorway, the “Door of Humility,” a stark reminder of who we are before Jesus.
Reading the Bible and praying the Rosary will become more meaningful after seeing the actual places where Jesus lived.
Marvel at the cascading domes and six slender minarets of the Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), one of Istanbul’s iconic sights and architectural wonders.
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.
TURKISH VISA REQUIREMENTS
List of Requirements: (Philippine Passport Holder)
Processing Time: Fifteen ( 15 working days) from the date of appointment
Visa fee: $125.00 per person (subject to change)
The Embassy reserves the right to request further documents and information.
1) US$ 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.
All cancellations must be done in writing. The following 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.. ..
THE PILGRIMS’ CENTER – EXECUTIVE RESOURCES, INC. 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. When making a tour booking, the passenger acknowledges and accepts the foregoing conditions.