How Our Pilgrimages Are Unique

Wallet-size “mini brochures” about the Ministry of Pilgrimages are available at Pilgrim Center of Hope. Stop by and pick some up! These are a simple way to learn & share.

For our friends out of town, we’ll be happy to mail you some. Give us a call or email.

For All International Pilgrimages

Pilgrims venerate the statue of Saint Peter at his Basilica in Rome
  • We are a non-profit ministry of pilgrimages, not a travel agency or business. Our bottom line and focus is always The Lord, not the money to be made.
  • Group sizes are kept small (30-40 persons) so each individual pilgrim can have the maximum experience.
  • Pilgrims meet two or three times in advance of travel for preparation, familiarity and prayer.
  • We experience the holy sites; we don’t rush through them. Time for prayer and reflection is very important.
  • We have daily Mass at a holy site, as well as spiritual reflection and teachings throughout each day.
  • We participate in Catholic devotions such as the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • Besides having an exceptionally spiritual experience, we include recreation and fellowship for a great time.
  • Each of our pilgrims receives a customized Pilgrim Book which includes prayers, schedule, maps, Scripture references, historical and biblical facts, and other information related to each holy site. (Many pilgrims continue to use this book as a journal and prayer tool after their pilgrimage.)

Special to the Holy Land

A pilgrim receives a blessing from a Franciscan friar in the Holy Land
  • Because we have been to the Holy Land over 45 times in the last 25 years, we’ve developed strong relationships with the local people that make it possible for us to have special and unique experiences.
  • Most other group trips to the Holy Land that you will find do not employ Christian guides; Christians are only 200 out of the 7000 total licensed Holy Land guides. Especially in the Holy Land, we do employ Christian guides and patronize Christian hotels, restaurants, and shops as an act of solidarity and to support them.
  • When possible, we arrange a private audience with the Latin Patriarch or his auxiliary bishop.
  • We meet with the local Palestinian Christians (members of our Mother Church) to hear their story, and celebrate Mass with a local parish when possible.

Our pilgrimages follow the pilgrimage directives given by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and guidance we have personally received from bishops of the Latin Patriarchate (Jerusalem Diocese). Specific examples of our following these guidelines include:

  1. Prayer: Daily Mass, devotions, meditation, Scripture reflections, and prayer for peace & justice in the Holy Land. Renewal of baptismal vows at the Jordan River and marriage vows at Cana are some of our favorite practices, as well.
  2. Solidarity with the local Christians (Mother Church): Visiting a local Catholic institution or parish, meeting and listening to the stories of local Christians
  3. Patronizing local Christian guides
  4. Patronizing Christian-owned businesses: Such business contributes to the economic development of Arab Christian communities and helps retain the threatened Catholic presence in the Holy Land
  5. Meet with Franciscans (custodians of the Holy Land)
  6. Educating each pilgrim about the injustices and struggles in the Holy Land, particularly the lived experience of local Christians
  7. Interreligious ties: Meeting local people of non-Christian faiths; visiting Catholic Relief Services project sites including Muslim women’s group in Bethlehem; visiting the Western / Wailing Wall; occasional dialogue with interfaith panel and pilgrims

All Local Pilgrimages

  • Each pilgrim’s encounter with Christ is our focus.  We maintain an atmosphere of pilgrimage rather than a “religious tour”.
  • We experience the pilgrim sites; we don’t rush through them. Time for prayer and reflection is very important.
  • We incorporate Scripture, and the liturgical calendar whenever possible.
  • We participate in Catholic devotions such as Adoration, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • Besides having an exceptionally spiritual experience, we include recreation and fellowship for a great time.
  • Pilgrims are given a spiritual tool, such as suggestions for family prayer, or resources for further spiritual growth.

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