Pilgrimage/International Walk for Peace

in Holy Land

Nazareth  •  Jerusalem  •  Bethlehem

Countries visited:  Israel & the Palestine territories

Sample itinerary: 8 days/7 nights

Overview

Itinerary

Details

Marathon Story

Holy Land Pilgrimage and the International
Walk for Peace

A sport pilgrimage as a bridge for peace

During the period of the "Intifada" Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, the current CEO and Vice-president of ORP, requested the Minister of Tourism of Israel to help realize a special Jerusalem-Bethlehem Marathon in which Israelis, Italians and Palestinians would participate with the set objective of encouraging peace in the region and encouraging Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Since then, we have been running eight Marathons inspired by John Paul II’s vision.

In August of 2004, Pope John Paul II created the department of sport in the Vatican with the hope that the new department will serve “… the promotion of sport as a part of culture and as inherent element of a human development in the service of peace and brotherhood.”

ORP has decided to transform the Marathon in an International Walk for  Peace. Additional sport games are organized during the day often with the participation of some well-known athletes. In the days following, hundreds of people may end up at the Sea of Galilee, and others may cycle the Gospel Trail, continuing their pilgrimage. In fact the event of the Peace Walk is only a step of this 8-day pilgrimage to The Holy Land, including Galilee, Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Please check back or contact us for updates about the specific games that will take place each year and about the order of events and celebrations.

To learn more about the history of the JPII Marathon of Peace, click on the Marathon Story tab above.

 

Overnight flight to Tel Aviv

Days 1-3:       Nazareth

Days 4-8:       Jerusalem

 

Price and Scheduling

This is a possible pilgrimage itinerary for groups.

Interested priests or pilgrimage organizers are invited to contact us to schedule the dates, to modify this current itinerary according to their group's needs, and to receive information about pricing.

Our itineraries that do have dates and prices already listed are open to all and are guaranteed departure if the minimum number of participants is met.

 

Here's an inspiring video about the JPII Games in 2010:

Itinerary

This is a basic itinerary that can be extended according to time availability and  the wishes of participants.

Day 1

Arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport in the afternoon. We transfer to Galilee, the loveliest and most fertile part of the Holy Land.  Depending on arrival time, we may stop at Mount Carmel to visit the Stella Maris Church, considered a holy place since antiquity, and site of the altar of Elijah, who founded the School of the Prophets here. Arrive at Nazareth in the evening.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, we visit the Church of the Transfiguration at Mt. Tabor, and stop at Cana, site of the joyous wedding feast. In the afternoon, we visit the Shrine of the Annunciation and the New Church, the Church of St. Joseph, built where the Holy Family lived, and the Synagogue. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth.

Day 3

After breakfast, we depart for the region of Lake Tiberias.  We will take a beautiful boat ride on the lake and visit Capernaum (synagogue and Peter’s home) and Tabga (site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes).  We experience the ascent of the Mount of Beatitudes, the holy site where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount.  Dinner and overnight in Nazareth.

Day 4

Breakfast at the hotel. We continue through the Valley of the River Jordan and renew our baptismal promises in the holy waters of Qasr El Yahud. We explore the fascinating archaeological site of Qumram, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and then travel on to Jericho.  Here we visit the sycamore tree, and the place of the temptation. Tonight we arrive in the extraordinary holy city of Jerusalem.  Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 5

Breakfast at the hotel. International Walk for Peace. Celebrations and sport games to follow. Details to be updated. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

After breakfast we depart for Jerusalem, the “City of God.” We experience Mount Zion: the room and the Church of the Last Supper, the Church of the Dormition, and the Church of St. Peter Gallicantu.  Here we take time to remember the place where St. Peter denied Jesus. We walk in the old city, visiting the Western Wall. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 7

Breakfast at the hotel. We dedicate the entire day to our exploration of the city sacred to the world’s three largest monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Our visit includes the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Basilica of Agony, the Chapel of the Pater Noster, the chapel of the Dominus Flevit and the Virgin’s Tomb. In the afternoon, we visit St. Anne’s Church, the Pool of Bethesda, the Chapel of the Flagellation, and Via Crucis along the Via Dolorosa.  We enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, containing the tomb where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8

After breakfast, free time, if you wish walking the ancient streets of Jerusalem. On the way to the airport we stop at Emmaus to remember the holy significance of the Eucharist and the calling to the mission. We have a final meal together and transfer to the airport for the late flight to your final destination.

Price and Scheduling

This is a possible pilgrimage itinerary for groups.

Interested priests or pilgrimage organizers are invited to contact us to schedule the dates, to modify this current itinerary according to their group's needs, and to receive information about pricing.

Our itineraries that do have dates and prices already listed are open to all and are guaranteed departure if the minimum number of participants is met.

 

The price includes:

7 nights in Hotel 3 stars/2nd category in Nazareth and Jerusalem (hotel upgrades available)

Half board (breakfast and dinner)

Local professional guide

ORP Pastoral Assistant or member of the staff

Private coach as per program

Entrance fees and visit as per program

Whispers

Medical and luggage insurance

 

The price does not include:

International flights. However we will be happy to assist you with flight quotations as soon as they are available. Please let us know your departure city.

Extra and personal items

Beverages

Porters

Anything not mentioned in the above inclusions

History of the John Paul II Peace Marathon

During the period of the "Intifada" when tensions reduced the number of overseas visitors to Israel to its lowest level, Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, the current CEO and Vice-president of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, requested the Minister of Tourism to help realize a special Jerusalem-Bethlehem Marathon in which Israelis, Italians and Palestinians would participate with the set objective to encourage peace in the region and encourage Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The initiative originally seemed challenging at best.  No one could imagine then that Palestinian runners would be able to run alongside Israelis and Italians, particularly considering the process of crossing between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

A task force to plan the Marathon was created under the sponsorship of the Israel Ministry of Tourism including the Jerusalem Municipality, the Israel Olympic Committee, the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, and Palestinian and Israeli representatives of private sport organizations and private travel trade.  As a result, the first Jerusalem-Bethlehem Marathon set out from the Notre Dame Hotel in April, 2004.  Among the prestigious guests were Cardinal Ruini, former Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Monsignor Pietro Sambi, leading representatives of the Italian Sports Center; the Chairmen of both the Israeli and Italian Olympic Organizations as well as representatives of the Ministry of Tourism.  Approximately 300 runners participated in this first run to Bethlehem and were led by an Italian sportsman carrying a torch blessed by the Pope.  In Bethlehem, the Italian and Palestinian runners were welcomed by Palestinian sport authorities.

The following year, the Marathon reversed direction starting in Bethlehem and closing at the Dormition Abbey Church.  Close to the time of the second Marathon, His Holiness John Paul II passed away and the Marathon organizers decided that the Marathon would be named in his memory.  A special medallion with his name and image engraved upon it was prepared for the participants.

During the third year, a special volleyball event was held in addition to the Marathon with the participation of a mixed Palestinian-Israeli team opposite a former world champion Italian team.

In 2007 the Marathon was a truly multi-national event with sportsmen from Italy, including clergy and soccer players of the Vatican team, and 25 runners from 12 different countries. The international participants were greeted by the Apostolic Delegate to The Holy Land H.E. Antonio Franco, as well as Palestinian dignitaries and the Palestinian runners ran the 10 km. course, from the Nativity Church in Bethlehem via Rachel's Tomb to the Southern Wall Archeological Garden and the Huldah Steps in the Old City of Jerusalem.   In the course of the Marathon, the Italian sportsmen carried the torch that received the blessing of Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.

In a telegram sent by the Holy See State Secretary, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,  Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Marathon participants:

  "ON THE OCCASION OF THE 4TH PILGRIMAGE-MARATHON FROM BETHLEHEM TO JERUSALEM IN WHICH PILGRIMS AND ATHLETES, ITALIANS, ISRAELIANS, PALESTINIANS, AND REPRESENTATIVES OF OTHER NATIONALITIES PARTICIPATE, THE HOLY FATHER EXPRESSES VIVID APPRECIATION FOR THIS INITIATIVE THAT EXALTS THE VALUE OF SPORTS AT THE SERVICE OF PEACE AND HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF JOINT PRAYER IN ORDER TO CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS GREATER UNDERSTANDING AMONGST PEOPLES AND THE BUILDING OF A GLOBAL COMMUNITY INSPIRED BY FAITH IN GOD AND THE RESPECT OF EVERY HUMAN LIFE AND THE SEARCH FOR THE COMMON GOOD AND MUTUAL LOVE."

Cardinal Bertone also added:

  "HIS HOLINESS, WHILE WISHING THE SUCCESS OF THE INTERESTING MANIFESTATION, THIS YEAR DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE LATE BELOVED JOHN PAUL II, ALSO DESIRES THAT IT PROMOTES FRUITFUL DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES AND DIFFERENT RELIGIONS."

At the end of the run, a festive ceremony was held with the participation of the head of the Italian Bishops delegation., numerous ambassadors of participating countries, senior representatives of the Catholic Church, and representatives of the Palestinian Tourism Private Sector Forum.  Mr. Elias El-Arja, a hotelier from Bethlehem welcomed all to visit Israel and Bethlehem.  "Pilgrimage is the true bridge to peace; it is feasible to pass between the cities, stay one night in Jerusalem and another in Bethlehem.  The bond between the two nations despite the politics is firm and must be strengthened."  Mr. George Abueta and Abrum El-Atrush, also from the Palestinian Tourism Private Sector Forum, added that we must all work together for a lasting peace. The participants also signed a declaration renewing the call from the year 2000 of Pope John Paul II to all peoples of faith to visit the Holy Land now. The Israel Ministry of Tourism awarded the runners the special medallion that was issued in honor of the event.

In a telephone discussion with Raphael Ben Hur, H.E. Archbishop Sambi reminded us of all the organizational details of the original Marathon task force.  He stressed the importance of the event for the region and all the people and has answered favorably to our request for assistance in promoting this event.  "We did a great job together!  Now it is time to invite everybody to participate".  Archbishop Pietro Sambi served as Apostolic Nuncio to the USA in Washington D.C. He passed away in 2011. SInce his presence at the Marathon other Marathons have been running in the Holy Land

We hope that Monsignor Sambi's words about the Marathon of Peace will inspire many pilgrims from North America to join the JPII Games in coming years.