Ibtessam Asfour & Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation host Holy Land tour

Ibtessam Asfour & Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation host Holy Land tour
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Ibtessam Asfour & Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation host Holy Land tour

On a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Departing from Chicago on May 15-28, 2017 14 Days / 13 Nights

Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Bethesda, Maryland, USA Bethlehem, Palestine 6935 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 518 46 Alatan Street Bethesda, MD 20815 Bethlehem, Palestine Office 301 951 9400; Fax 301 951 9402 PO Box 14152, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem pilgrimage@hcef.org https://holylandtours.ps www.hcef.org;

Living Stones Pilgrimage No. LSP-2017-04

Living Stones Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

With Mrs. Ibtessam Asfour

May 15-28, 2017 – 14 Days/ 13 Nights

The Arab Daily News

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Throughout our spiritual pilgrimage, we will experience the holy places of Jesus’ birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. Through this spiritual journey, we will remain open to God’s message and will return home with a new and deeper understanding of the living history of this incredible place and of those who inhabit and keep it—the “Living Stones” of the Holy Land.

For more information visit: www.holylandtours.ps

Itinerary below:

Bethlehem at Christmas, from Maria Khoury in Palestine

Bethlehem at Christmas, from Maria Khoury in Palestine

Day 1 –Monday, May 15, 2017: Departure

Our Holy Land pilgrimage begins this evening as we depart on our international flight. Meals and in-flight entertainment will be provided.

Day 2- Tuesday, May 16, 2017: Arrival in Tel Aviv and transfer to Hotel

After passing Immigration and Customs at , we will be met by our guide and our luxury motor coach drive, and proceed to Bethlehem for welcome at the HCEF Inn. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.

Day 3- Wednesday, May 17, 2017: Bethlehem

After early breakfast, we will begin our day with a welcome address by an HCEF representative. We will then visit Shepherd’s Field in Beit Sahour, where angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. Afterward, we will visit the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus. Our tour will continue to the Grotto of St. Jerome and the nearby Milk Grotto, where the Holy Family took refuge during the Slaughter of the Innocents. After that we will have our lunch at Al Karmeh Restaurant, and then we will have free time to tour the Bethlehem Museum to learn about the history and culture of Palestine from Pre-Roman times until today. Afterward, we will visit the Bank of Palestine and have the chance to learn about the economy of Palestine and how the private sector is working with the public sector and universities to create more jobs for the youth of Palestine. Later in the afternoon we will have a tour around the Separation Wall and have the chance to visit Aida Refugee Camp and meet with the people and the women of the camp. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem. Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Ibtesam Asfour and the holy Land Ecumenical Foundation will host a 2 week tour to the Holy Land May 15 to May 28

Ibtesam Asfour and the holy Land Ecumenical Foundation will host a 2 week tour to the Holy Land May 15 to May 28

Bethesda, Maryland, USA Bethlehem, Palestine 6935 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 518 46 Alatan Street Bethesda, MD 20815 Bethlehem, Palestine Office 301 951 9400; Fax 301 951 9402 PO Box 14152, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem pilgrimage@hcef.org https://holylandtours.ps www.hcef.org;

Day 4- Thursday, May 18, 2017: Jerusalem

After breakfast, we will depart for Jerusalem to walk the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering) through the narrow alleys and bazaars of the Old City of Jerusalem, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Tomb of Christ. After that, we will visit the Church of the Redeemer, and will meet with a representative of the Christian Religious Leaders of Jerusalem. After lunch, we will have some free time in Jerusalem’s Old City. We will then drive to the Mount of Olives to visit the Churches of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit. We will also visit the Church of All Nations, located in the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed the night before his Passion. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.

Day 5- Friday, May 19, 2017: Jerusalem

After breakfast, we will drive to Jerusalem to visit the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Gate, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. After lunch, we will visit Mount Zion and the Upper Room, the scene of the Last Supper, and then the Church of the Assumption (Tomb of Mary). We will continue then to Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist for a visit to the Church that recalls his birth and the Church of the Visitation across the valley. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.

Day 6- Saturday, May 20, 2017: Dead Sea/ Jericho

After breakfast, we will head to Jericho. On our way, we will visit the Tomb of Lazarus, a traditional pilgrimage site located in the West Bank town of Al-Eizariya, traditionally identified as the biblical village of Bethany, on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives, some 2.4 km (1.5 miles) east of Jerusalem. The tomb is the site of a miracle recorded in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus. We will then continue into the Jordan Valley to Jericho, where we will reflect on scenes from the bible, such as Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree and the blind Bartimaeus wanting to see. We will take time to consider the temptations of Jesus, as we view the Monastery of Temptation on the summit of the Mount of Temptation. After lunch, we will visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, and will then enjoy ourselves at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. Then we will return to Bethlehem for a festive dinner at Al Karmeh restaurant with some of the HCEF staff. Overnight in Bethlehem. Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Bethesda, Maryland, USA Bethlehem, Palestine 6935 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 518 46 Alatan Street Bethesda, MD 20815 Bethlehem, Palestine Office 301 951 9400; Fax 301 951 9402 PO Box 14152, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem pilgrimage@hcef.org https://holylandtours.ps www.hcef.org;

Day 7- Sunday, May 21, 2017: Nablus/ Jenin

After breakfast, we will drive to the town of Nablus (Neapolis) which was founded in 72 AD by the Flavian Emperors as part of the Roman dynasty, built on the northern slope of Mount Gerizim. There, we will visit Jacob’s Well, where Jesus met the Samaritan woman who offered him water. Afterward, we will take a tour of Nablus’ Old City and later, we will visit Mount Gerizim, or Jebel At-Tor, a sacred mountain that has been inhabited by the Samaritans for thousands years. After lunch, we will travel to Sebastia, traditionally associated with John the Baptist, and we will also see the Roman tombs, a Hellenistic Tower and the Herodion Gate Towers. We will then head to Jenin/Al Zababdeh, and will have the chance to meet with the local Palestinian in Al Zababdeh village where we will have a common activity with them… Dinner and overnight in Jenin.

Day 8- Monday, May 22, 2017: Nazareth/Mount Tabor

After an early morning breakfast, we will drive into Galilee and visit Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. There will be an opportunity for married couples to renew their wedding vows here. Then we will continue to Nazareth, the town where Jesus and the Holy Family lived, to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation where the Angel Gabriel proclaimed: “Rejoice O highly favored daughter.” While in Nazareth, we will also see Mary’s well and Joseph’s workshop. Then, we will drive to Mount Tabor to visit the site of Jesus’ Transfiguration at the summit of the mountain and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Valley of Jezreal. Dinner and Overnight in Nazareth.

Day 9- Tuesday, May 23, 2017: Sea of Galilee

After breakfast, we head to the Sea of Galilee, to the Mount of Beatitudes to recall the Sermon on the Mount. We will then continue to Tabgha (Heptapegon) for a visit to the Church of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves, admiring the well conserved Byzantine mosaic from the fifth century. Afterward, we will visit the small chapel of the Primacy of St. Peter, and then continue to Magdala Synagogue. After that, we will go to Capernaum, the Town of Jesus. Among its ruins, we will see the remains of the House of Peter, the “Insula Sacra” and the White Synagogue. We will then take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where we will reflect on Jesus’ calming of the wind and the waves. Dinner and Overnight in Nazareth.

Day 10- Wednesday, May 24, 2017: Birzeit and Ramallah

After Breakfast, we will drive south through the Judean hills to the town of Birzeit, located in the outlying hills of Ramallah. Birzeit is identified as ancient Berzetho from the Greek –Roman period. There, we will visit the local Catholic Church and meet with the parish Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Bethesda, Maryland, USA Bethlehem, Palestine 6935 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 518 46 Alatan Street Bethesda, MD 20815 Bethlehem, Palestine Office 301 951 9400; Fax 301 951 9402 PO Box 14152, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem pilgrimage@hcef.org https://holylandtours.ps www.hcef.org;

priest, who will give us an introduction about the history of local Christians, and give us a tour of the church’s archeological museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the stone and bronze age. We will then visit HCEF’s Birzeit Senior Citizen Center, giving us the chance to meet with Birzeit’s elders, hear their stories and break bread with them. Afterward, we will visit Jifna, a small scenic village that was once an important Roman-Byzantine city. Previously known as Gophna of Josephus, Jifna was the region’s capital during the first century AD. Afterward, we will travel to Ramallah to visit the Tomb of Yasser Arafat and meet with prominent Palestinians. Continue to Bethlehem for dinner and overnight.

Day 11-Thursday, May 25, 2017: Hebron

This morning after breakfast, we will drive to Hebron to visit the Abraham Mosque. Then we will have a tour in the Old City of Hebron and have the chance to meet with the women’s organization there. Afterward, we will visit some of the factories in the city, including the well-known ceramic and glass factories. We will return to Bethlehem for our farewell dinner with the Arab Women’s Union of Bethlehem. Overnight in Bethlehem.

Day 12- Friday, May 26, 2017: Bethlehem to Amman

After an early breakfast, we check out of our hotel and proceed down to the Jordan Valley and the Allenby/King Hussein Crossing where we will enter Jordan. After meeting our Jordanian guide and driver, we will visit the Baptismal Site of Jesus at Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Later we will visit Mount Nebo, to look back over the Holy Land where we have made our pilgrimage, and we will have lunch there. Then we will continue to Amman and have a driving tour of the city before arriving at our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Amman.

Day 13 – Saturday, May 27, 2017: Day Trip to Petra

After an early breakfast at our hotel, we will drive three hours south to the ancient Nabataean desert city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch in one of the modern hotels nearby, we will tour the elaborate tomb and temple architecture and the extensive archaeological remains of this large site, while we hear about the history of Petra up to the present day from our local Bedouin guides. After a stop for dinner at the end of our Petra tour, we return to Amman late in the evening. Overnight in Amman. Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Bethesda, Maryland, USA Bethlehem, Palestine 6935 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 518 46 Alatan Street Bethesda, MD 20815 Bethlehem, Palestine Office 301 951 9400; Fax 301 951 9402 PO Box 14152, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem pilgrimage@hcef.org https://holylandtours.ps www.hcef.org;

Day 14- Sunday, May 28, 2017: Return home

After transfer to the airport for an early morning departure, we fly back home. However, our faith journey will continue in a new, invigorated way. Having visited the sacred places in our tradition, having met the descendants of the first disciples of Jesus and witnessed how the people of the Holy Land strive to build bridges of justice, peace and reconciliation –all these experiences will enrich our spiritual life and transform each one of us. They will also enable us to interpret the news from the region in a different way. A Living Stones pilgrimage to the Holy Land will definitely enrich and permanently change your life for the better.

Notes:

• Mass/Service can be arranged daily according to Leader’s request

• Itinerary is subject to change without notice

• Itinerary includes interaction with the Living Stones

Meeting with church leaders may be changed depending on their schedules.

For more information visit: www.holylandtours.ps

The Arab Daily News

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The Arab Daily News

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