Fr. Art Ledesma
November 5, 2019
Turkey, Egypt, & Holy Land
“To go on a pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produce rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe…” ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Embark on a journey to the holy places where our forefathers have lived. Join a 14-day Pilgrimage to Turkey, Egypt and Holy Land with Fr. Art Ledesma leaving on November 5, 2019. May this journey, unlike any other, bring about a true spiritual awakening; a life changing experience that each and every one would never forget.
Your pilgrimage begins in 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 an early morning flight to Cairo, the cradle of civilization and beacon of religion. Marvel at the days of ancient Egypt on your visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Peruse through one of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts, including the glittering treasures of Tutankhamun and other great pharoahs at the Egyptian Museum.
Retrace the steps where Mary and Joseph walked thousands of years ago. Visit the 4th century Saints Sergius and Bacchus church, which sits above a cave where the Holy Family is believed to have stayed at the end of their flight into Egypt. Hike into the sunrise on Mount Sinai, also known as the Mountain of Moses, believed to be the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.
Leave for Israel by crossing the Taba Border into Israel. Drive to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth. Enjoy a dip in the salty waters, where you will float endlessly. Cover yourself with mud steeped with minerals and quite good for the skin. Onwards to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his childhood. Drive to Mount Tabor, site of Jesus’ transfiguration.
While on pilgrimage, pilgrims will have the chance to renew their baptismal vows at the River Jordan and married couples-pilgrims will renew their marriage vows at the Church of First Miracle in Cana. Travel onwards to the holy town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Touch the silver star which marks the exact place where He was born.
Head off to Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. A high point of the pilgrimage takes place when the Stations of the Cross are prayed at the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) in the Old city of Jerusalem. Here, pilgrims walk the route that Jesus took between His condemnation by Pilate and His crucifixion and burial.
Join a 14-day Pilgrimage to Turkey, Egypt and Holy Land with Fr. Art Ledesma leaving on November 5, 2019. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to recharge your spirit, deepen your faith and find healing in body, mind and spirit.
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...ISTANBUL
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
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa. It is located along the River Nile near the delta, about 165 km from the Mediterranean Sea. Although...CAIRO
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa.
It is located along the River Nile near the delta, about 165 km from the Mediterranean Sea. Although the area has been settled for thousands of years, the city was founded in 969 AD. Over the centuries it has been ruled by the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Romans, Turks, French and British.
Cairo is known as being a very densely populated city as well as being the center of Egypt’s culture and politics. The city’s most famous landmark is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The structure was built about 2500 BC, covers an area of 53,000 square metres and is 140 metres high. Over 2 million huge stone blocks were used to build it, some of which weigh over 72 tons. It’s estimated that 40,000 people took 10 years to build it.
Cairo is home to the oldest university in the world, and one of the largest mosques. It is often known as the city of 1,000 minarets, because of its Islamic architecture.
Mount Sinai is venerated as the mountain on which Moses spoke with God and received the Ten Commandments. But it may have been called Sinai (“mountain of God”) even before...MOUNT SINAI
Mount Sinai is venerated as the mountain on which Moses spoke with God and received the Ten Commandments.
But it may have been called Sinai (“mountain of God”) even before the time of Moses, and it has attracted pilgrims since the 4th century AD. In Arabic it is called Jebel Musa (“mountain of Moses”).
Mount Sinai has deep significance for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Near the foot of the mountain is St. Catherine’s Monastery, built over the traditional site of the burning bush from which God called Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. It also contains a treasure trove of icons and ancient manuscripts.
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is the lowest point on earth. The Dead Sea in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melakh (the Sea of Salt) is the lowest...DEAD SEA
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is the lowest point on earth.
The Dead Sea in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melakh (the Sea of Salt) is the lowest point on earth in any land mass (417 meters below sea level, to be exact), surrounded by stunning landscape of the Negev Desert.
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.
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...JERICHO
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.
Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity. Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is the city where, according to tradition, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she...NAZARETH
Nazareth is the cradle of Christianity.
Nazareth, or Natsrat as its name is pronounced in Hebrew, is 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.
Mount Tabor is the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level at the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Also known as the...MOUNT TABOR
Mount Tabor is the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level at 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...CANA
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.
Capernaum became Jesus’ home town and the scene of many of his miracles. Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel....CAPERNAUM
Capernaum became Jesus’ home town and the scene of many of his miracles.
Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is also the home of the first disciples Jesus called – the fisherman Peter, Andrew, James and John, and the tax collector Matthew.
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 Mount of Beatitudes is the setting for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-11). Overlooking the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes is...MOUNT OF BEATITUDES
The Mount of Beatitudes is the setting for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-11).
Overlooking the north western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes is one of the most beautifully serene places in the Holy Land. 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. It has a marble veneer casing the lower walls and gold mosaic in the dome.
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 Bible, much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee lies roughly 650 feet below sea level and...SEA OF GALILEE
In the Bible, much of the ministry of Jesus occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
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.
Jesus recruited four of his apostles – Peter, Andrew, John and James – from the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Many of his miracles are also said to have occurred here including his walking on water, calming the storm, the disciples and the miraculous catch of fish, and his feeding 5,000 people in Tabgha. In the gospel of John, the sea provides the setting for Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance to his disciples.
Tabgha, which means “spring of seven,” is an area situated on the north western shore of the Sea of Galiliee in Israel. It is traditionally accepted as the place of...TABGHA
Tabgha, which means “spring of seven,” is an area situated on the north western shore of the Sea of Galiliee in Israel.
It is traditionally accepted as the place of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (Mark 6:30-46) and the fourth resurrection appearance of Jesus (John 21:1-24) after his Crucifixion.
Two churches commemorate these events, and pilgrims find the place a serene location for meditation, prayer and study.
Tabgha is at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes, about 3km south-west of Capernaum. This was a favorite spot for fishermen from nearby Capernaum, and its beach was familiar to Jesus and his disciples. It is easy to imagine Jesus speaking from a boat in one of the little bays, with crowds sitting around on the shore.
The Jordan River is the scene of Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptist. The Jordan River originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount...JORDAN RIVER
The Jordan River is the scene of Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptist.
The Jordan River originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount 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). Hence, it is considered to be one of the world’s most sacred rivers.
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The city of Bethlehem is located about six miles, southwest of Jerusalem. Meaning “house of bread,” Bethlehem was also the renowned City of...BETHLEHEM
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
The city of Bethlehem is located about six miles, southwest of Jerusalem. 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.
Ein Karem is the birthplace of John the Baptist. In a peaceful valley between mountains and hills, surrounded by the beauty of natural groves, nestles one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque...EIN KAREM
Ein Karem is the birthplace of John the Baptist.
In a peaceful valley between mountains and hills, surrounded by the beauty of natural groves, nestles one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque neighborhoods – Ein Kerem.
Ein Kerem is a pilgrimage site for many Christian visitors, who come here year after year. 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 two women met beside the village well and Mary drank from its cool waters. That place is now called Mary’s Well.
The Church of the Visitation is reached by steps up from the main road through the village. In the church courtyard, one wall is covered with ceramic tiles bearing the words of the Magnificat in 42 languages.
Said to be built over the home of John the Baptist’s parents, the Church of the Visitation stands high up on the hillside of Ein Kerem in Jerusalem.
Emmaus was the setting for one of Christ’s post Resurrection appearances. The village of Emmaus was the setting for one of the most touching of Christ’s post- Resurrection appearances. The...EMMAUS
Emmaus was the setting for one of Christ’s post Resurrection appearances.
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 recognized him. By then the risen Christ has disappeared from their sight, and they immediately hurry back to Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-35).
Jesus Christ fulfilled his divine mission in the city of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters –...JERUSALEM
Jesus Christ fulfilled his divine mission in the city of Jerusalem.
In 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.
It was indeed a wonderful Pilgrimage: very rich in history, a thanksgiving of blessings, a spiritual renewal and nourishment, and finally ending in a test of Faith.
Thank you so much Pilgrim Leader, Ging Igual, for standing beside us up to the last stretch of our 13-day journey - more particularly in the handling of an unexpected situation (cancelled flight in Mexico and re-direction of flights to make sure the 38 Pilgrims reach LA for their respective flight bookings). Ging, you were an angel to us so blessed with energy, passion, love and Milagrosa. We really felt the presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe fielding angels every step of the way.
The Pilgrimage to California Mission Churches and Our Lady of Guadalupe gives me personal inspiration for the work and activities of the next chapter of my lifetime: farming with promotion of agriculture for millennials (inspired by the scenic view of farms in California), tourism (which is a major industry in all places we visited), and support for a favourite major seminary in Tagaytay and a scholarship fund for deserving individuals (thru a non stock non profit institution).
Thank you to my Co-Pilgrims and prayer partners for the prayer support, sharing of life experiences and friendships; Fr. Tony, thank you for your spiritual reflections and service; Fr. Jerry Orbos for an overflowing spiritual reflections and enabling us to have the needed personal encounter with Jesus and Mama Mary (it was like a 12-day Holy Retreat); and the Executive Resources for making a very nice pilgrimage package a part of our lifetime.Ms. Emma
Lord, we cannot find words enough to say how grateful we are to You. Our pilgrimage made us realize that Your love for us is more than what we deserve.
To all our co-pilgrims, thank you for making us feel we belong to this new family. To Fr. Dante, thanks for your prayers and pieces of advice for our spiritual nourishment. To Sis Lea, for taking care of each one of us. To Sis Joy, thanks for the contagious joys and laughters.
To our prayer partners, Sis Maribel, Melvy and Didick and Bro Mon and Sis Jot, thank you for your prayers. We will pray for you, too!
To The Pilgrim’s Center - Executive Resources, thank you for accommodating us in this Eastern Europe Pilgrimage.
God bless us all always!Albert and Adee
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
My husband and I just came back from a wonderful trip to Israel - with Franciscan Fr Reu Galoy. Thank you Pilgrim Center for the arrangements. We are so happy and satisfied with all that you have done for us. Kudos to Yanyan and Monty from Pilgrim Center, and Fr Reu and Ronin for your caring services. It was a spiritual journey and we felt the abiding presence of the Lord all throughout.Ann Arguelles Cortes
Our pilgrimage was worth all the hardships (I was having leg pains). We had an excellent leader in the person of Adrian, two priests Fathers Val and Ron, who gave us very nice pieces of advice and homilies, and of course the members of the group who were all very nice. Looking forward to join another pilgrimage.Emily Bautista
It was the most profound experience I had in my whole life....Walking with the Footsteps where Jesus walked made my life more grateful and humble....My faith become stronger as I express it...A growing faith is a sharing faith....TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!! SHALOM!Carmen Nierra
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 and Vir Franca
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.
Philippine passport holders are required to have a Turkish visa. Applicants with valid U.S. or Schengen visa may obtain multiple-entry e-Visas online prior to arrival
First timers and with no valid U.S. or Schengen visa must comply with the General Requirements as required by the Embassy of Turkey.
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 the 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
> US$300.00 Admin Fee for any visa denial.
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.
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.
*** RATES AND SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. ***