Holy Land Pilgrimage

9 Days with Dr. John Bergsma and Fr. Mark Bentz

June 16-24, 2020

Why Go on a Pilgrimage?

Ancient Christians would sometimes call the Holy Land, “The Fifth Gospel,” to capture how the sacred sites of Our Lord’s earthly life seemed to preach the Good News afresh to all who visited them.  

Truly, there is nothing like walking in the footsteps of Jesus, seeing the cave where he was born and the cave where his body was interred, and the caves that made up his home in Nazareth.  As G.K. Chesterton said, we Christians are worshipers of the great Caveman.  For it was caves rather than European-style houses and building that served as shelters for the ancient people of Israel.  That is one of the striking lessons from visiting the Holy Land. 

Of course, there are many other sites as well: mountains, like the Mount of Beatitudes, the Mount of the Transfiguration, and the Mount of Olives, each marking a strategic point in Our Lord’s career.  And there are plains and valleys: the Valley of Sharon, so beautiful and verdant it was a symbol of heaven; of the Valley of Gehenna, a burning garbage dump symbolizing hell.  Or the Kidron Valley, where Jesus waded the Kidron brook on the last night before his Passion.  

We will also visit the joyful sites like Cana, where the famous wedding took place; and Bethany, where Our Lord frequently stopped to enjoy the hospitality of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

And let’s not forget the remarkable site of Qumran, where we will walk through the ruins of that ancient Jewish monastery that left us the Dead Sea Scrolls, and possibly take a dip in the Dead Sea, floating high on salt brine as thick as motor oil!

Why go on a pilgrimage?  Because you will never read the Gospels the same again.  Every Gospel at Mass will take on fresh color and verve because you can see the very lay of the land and smell the breeze in your mind’s eye.  Because you’ve been there and touched the rocks, the olive trees, and eaten the fish.  

This pilgrimage is special, because of my new book, Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Jewish Roots of the Church (release date Sept 10, 2019).  I’ve been deep in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient literature for months, putting together a book that I hope will show Christians how thoroughly Jewish and biblical the Church really is.  I’ll have a lot to share with you as we travel through the sacred sites!

One of the most powerful aspects of a pilgrimage for Catholics is that fact that, when you are on pilgrimage, you don’t move through liturgical time, but liturgical space.  For daily Mass, every sacred site has its own liturgical readings!  So it’s like moving through the Liturgical Year and the major feasts in nine days rather than twelve months!  The Gospel speaks powerfully when we celebrate Mass on the site where Jesus multiplied the loaves, for example—or where he was nailed to the cross!

I hope you can join me for this pilgrimage in June 2020! I promise you I’ll be “on duty” and at your service 24-7 for nine days, ready to answer any questions you may have about Scripture, the sacred sites, and how it all fits with our Catholic Faith.  We will also have arguably the most experienced native Catholic guide in the business, Amer Shehadeh, who has guided for Steve Ray, Scott Hahn, and other well-known authors and speakers.  You will love Amer, whose family clan has been Latin-Rite Catholics for centuries, going back to medieval times, and whose home parish is the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth!  Imagine your home parish being built above the site where Gabriel spoke to the Blessed Mother! We will also have Fr. Mark Bentz of St. Alice Church in Springfield, OR as our spiritual director. We will depart from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

So please make use of the forms below to sign up for the pilgrimage.  We have provided all the details below. You can also email me as well for further information. 

Sincerely yours in Christ --- John Bergsma

Dr. Bergsma at the famous Qumran Cave 4, where most of the scrolls were found.

Dr. Bergsma at the famous Qumran Cave 4, where most of the scrolls were found.

Dr. Bergsma Pilgrimage to the Holy Land June 2020
9 Day program

June 16 - 24 , 2020

Day 1 June 16:  Arrival in Israel | Galilee | Tiberias 

Arrival in Tel Aviv’s modern Ben Gurion Airport. We meet our local Catholic guide and transfer to Galilee. Mass and dinner on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Overnight in Tiberias. D

Day 2 June 17:  Mount of Transfiguration | Cana | Nazareth | Tiberias

Ascend the Mount of Transfiguration (Mount Tabor) early for Mass to miss the crowds; then depart for the Wedding Church in Cana for Renewal of Wedding Vows. After lunch in Nazareth, visit the Church of Annunciation. Visit the House of the Holy Family. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. B,D

Day 3 June 18: Mount of Beatitudes | Tabgha | Tiberias 

Mount of Beatitudes for Mass. Continue on to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus said, You are Peter. Drive through Golan Heights; view the Syrian border and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Lunch at Druze restaurant. Visit Tabgha where Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes. Visit the Primacy of Peter where Jesus said, “Feed My sheep”. B,D

Day 4 June 19: Sea of Galilee | Capernaum | Jerusalem 

Today enjoy a boat ride on Sea of Galilee. Arrive by boat to Capernaum for Mass at St. Peter’s House and the synagogue where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh!” Drive to Bethlehem stopping along the way at Ein Kerem to visit the Church of the Visitation. B,D 

Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock

Day 5 June 20: Bethlehem

Today we will support our Christian brothers and sisters by shopping in the local Olive Wood stores. We will celebrate Mass at Shepherd's Field and visit the Church of the Nativity where Jesus was born. We visit ti the Grotto and Next door St. Catherine and the Grotto of St. Jerome. Visit the Israel Museum to see the motel of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the book, Overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem. B,D

Day 6 Tue. June 21: Gethsemane | Mt. Olives | Mt. Zion | Jerusalem 

Begin today with Mass at the Garden of Gethsemane. Drive to the Mount of Olives to visit the Church of Pater Noster. Enjoy lunch at Jewish kibbutz. Drive to Mt. Zion to visit the Church of the Dormition and the Upper Room, ending at the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. Overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem. B, D

Day 7 June 22: Via Dolorosa | Calvary | Western Wall | Jerusalem 

Depart early this morning and travel along the Via Dolorosa. Arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Touch the top of Mount Calvary. Mass at the tomb of Christ (subject to confirmation.) Return to the Hotel for breakfast. Depart for prayer at the Western Wall. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening we will have the opportunity to spend some time in meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed the night before he was crucified, pending confirmation. Overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem. B, D

2000-year-old Olive Tree in Gethsemane

2000-year-old Olive Tree in Gethsemane

Day 8 June 23:  Dead Sea Excursion | Jerusalem 

Celebrate morning Mass at the  Good Shepherd Church in Jericho. Continue on our Excursion to Jericho and swimming in the Dead Sea. We will renew Baptismal vows at the authentic baptismal site of Jesus. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem.

Day 9 June 24: Transfer to the airport for our return flight home.

NOTES: While no changes are anticipated, there may be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes beyond

Quote :

Price Per Person in US American Dollars based on minimum of 40 people:-   $4140
Single Supplement  $995

Landside Only (without airfare): $2240

 The above rates include:

 -8 nights Accommodation on HB basis (Breakfast & Dinner). 
- Round trip airfare  SFO -TLV -SFO
-Tour  guide  throughout
-Transportation in deluxe buses
-All entrance fees
-Special Farewell Dinner
-Audio guiding system in Holy Land.
-Porterage fees at all hotels and airport.
-Mass reservation as per Itinerary
-Taxes on all services, including hotel taxes
- Dead Sea excursion including  Qumran and Israel Museum

The above rates do not include:

-Tips for guide , bus driver, restaurants and hotels staff.  ($150 Per person to be collected seperately) 
-Any personal expenses such as telephone calls, beverages, laundry, and medical insurance.

Flight Itinerary:

Depart from SFO




Once a deposit or partial/full payment has been made, cancellations will only be accepted in writing. Cancellation terms will be applied based on the date that the written cancellation is received. In addition to a $500 per person administration fee, the following charges apply:

60 - 46 days prior to departure 50%

45 - 22 days prior to departure 80%

21 - days prior to departure or less no refund

Additionally, once tickets are issued the ticket value is non-refundable. Requests for a refund must be in writing (mail, fax or e-mail). Phone calls cannot be used as a form of cancellation. Refunds will be issued within 30 to 60 days of receipt of written notice No change of names or substitutions are permitted. No refund or cancellation fees will be waived due to death or sickness.

Pilgrim ONLINE Payment form

Use this form to register for the Bergsma/Bentz June 2020 pilgrimage. You will need a current passport to register. Please submit the following information to register. Upon completion, and invoice will be sent to you for $103.00. This represents a $100 deposit toward your pilgrimage costs, plus a $3 registration/service fee. Please use a credit card to pay the invoice. Upon receipt of payment, you will be officially registered, and will receive a pilgrim number for the pilgrimage via email.

*** Please fill in the following information exactly as it appears on your passport.  Discrepancies will prevent the airline from issuing your ticket. ***

Date of Birth *
Date of Birth
Date of Passport Issuance *
Date of Passport Issuance
Date of Passport Expiration *
Date of Passport Expiration
Check one: *
Check one: *

*  Once you click submit you will be contacted and sent an invoice to pay the registration fee online securely with a credit card.