“We left the hotel on the Mediterranean shore and drove alongside the historical Via Maris to the Sea of Galilee. Our first stop was in Korazim: one of the major Jewish towns around the Sea of Galilee in the time of Jesus. Then we visited the ruins of Magdala, the town of St. Mary Magdalene, where one of the oldest synagogues in Israel was discovered. After lunch, we visited Mount Beatitudes where Jesus gave the sermon on the Mount and we ended the day with a visit to Capernaum the town where Jesus spent most of His public ministry.”
This morning we drove to Caesarea by the Sea, the site of a flourishing early Christian community where the ruins of Turkish, Crusader, and Roman Civilizations are still visible. Biblically, St. Paul was imprisoned here before being sent to Rome for trial. It was here also that St. Peter baptized the first Gentiles. From there we drove, following the Via Maris, along the Mediterranean coast to Mount Carmel (Vineyard of God). Here the triumph of Elijah over the pagan prophets of Baal took place (1 Kings 18). Stella Maris, the largest monastery of the Carmelite Order, is dedicated to the prophet Elijah and Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is easy to appreciate the natural beauty of this summit and realize the sanctity associated with it from ancient times to the present. Time was given for prayer at the Monastery.
From the Mediterranean sea, we continued to the Sea of Galilee. Drove to Chorazin situated on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, where fishermen in Jesus’ time would have lived. Here, Jesus performed many miracles, yet disbelief prevailed, as in Capernaum and Bethsaida (Matthew 11:20-24). We also saw the remains of an ancient synagogue, commemorating the areas where Jesus walked and preached. Group stop for lunch.
Afterward, we continued to the area of Heptapegon or the Seven Springs, to visit the Church of the Multiplication built on the traditional location of the first multiplication to the 5000 men, not counting women and children. From there visited the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter where Jesus appeared to 7 of His disciples after the resurrection, shared breakfast with them, and reaffirmed St. Peter’s primacy.
We ended the day with a visit to Capernaum, the town of Jesus, to visit the house of Peter’s mother-in-law and the first-century synagogue where Jesus taught and performed miracles. There we engaged in a discussion on the development of synagogues in Jewish thought and theology to better understand their importance in the public ministry of Our Lord.
We celebrated 4:00 p.m. Mass at the Church of St. Peter.
Dinner and overnight at Mount of Beatitudes Guesthouse by the Sea of Galilee.