SEA OF GALILEE
SOME HELPFUL THOUGHTS to assist you in deciding whether you should go on this Pilgrimage
PLEASE READ BEFORE BOOKING
This is a ministry for me. I am not a licensed agent of any sort. I am just a regular Catholic who loves going to the Holy Land. It is now in my bones, and I don’s see that there is a cure. Hence, I love facilitating others in their ability to share the same joy I have every time I return.
• I plan on going with you.
• I have gone many times before.
• I find travel to the Holy Land to be safe.
Ability to Walk
Sometimes we walk over 5 miles in one day, around 12,000 steps. Then we do it again the next day. We don’t walk constantly, sometimes we are in a bus, sitting for Mass or at lunch.
-- Please do not overestimate your ability to walk several days in a row at a reasonable pace that is more than a stroll. With a group of 50 people, it becomes necessary to be able to keep up.
-- We do not want anyone to get hurt due to overdoing it, nor do we want the group to begin to resent someone who can not keep up.
Please, lets talk and make sure you are able to handle this pilgrimage, for your peace of mind as well as for the others.
We will be 10 days in Israel proper and will walk some amount daily.
• There are NO ADA type accommodations near the Holy Sites in Israel. If you need accommodations chances are you can not travel with the group on this Pilgrimage.
Some of the ground we walk on is uneven, some is uphill some is downhill, some is a bit rocky or gravel.
In the morning the cobble-type stone paths to the Holy Sepulchre can be a smidgen slick from morning dew requiring more than average care.
It is all very doable for someone who has no trouble walking.
Please self-evaluate before registering
Since I do not have the ability to meet everyone prior to travel, I have to rely on your representation that you are physically able to handle the Pilgrimage, by virtue of Registering.
A cane is fine if it helps you be more steady, but if you NEED a cane to walk -- this Pilgrimage is not for you.
If you are traveling with a spouse or have a companion who can steady you and help you, most of the time that will work if you can then walk reasonably well.
If you have mobility or other health concerns please ask before Registering.
Nothing is Mandatory
There is always an option to remain in the Hotel for a particular day when you don’t feel well or able to go out for a day of Pilgrimage.
Sometimes people are too tired for Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Tomb or Calvary) before breakfast. That is fine, sleep in.
Depending where we are, it might even be possible to call you a Taxi back to the Hotel if fatigue sets in when we are out and about. Ask before getting on the bus about a Taxi option if you feel borderline.
COVID considerations for MAR 2024
Israel is currently open to VACCINATED and NON VACCINATED persons
As of March 1, 2022 - Israel dropped ALL the Vaccination requirements. Currently there is no COVID protocol as a limitation to entry, with the exception that you can not enter with a present COVID infection.
There is no longer a need to bring a VACCINE CARD showing that you are vaccinated.
Negative tests for Entry in US and Israel
There are NO testing requirements for entry to Israel or for the return to the United States
Safety Concerns and Trip Cancellation thoughts
Sometimes events before travel and during travel materialize that make Pilgrims or their family back home a bit nervous.
Some have said:
• If you wait for complete peace in the Middle East before travel to the Holy Land, you will never go. Probably True.
Yet, tourism is at an all time high currently in Israel, especially now that ALL COVID requirements have been dropped. There are not enough buses or hotel rooms to accommodate all who want to walk in the Footsteps of Jesus. That is why we plan months ahead.
I hope you will join us if your goal is to Walk in the Footsteps of Our Lord. This is perhaps one of the finest Pilgrimages for a committed Catholic available for travel to the Holy Land. I am certainly sold on our guide Christopher Cross, who has led 90+ prior Pilgrimages, and now has become a personal and valued friend.
When you register for this Pilgrimage you must do so understanding that none of us can control some events.
I am not accepting personal responsibility over requested refunds or the costs of the trip if you find there is a need to cancel.
Apart from an unforeseen circumstance, the Pilgrimage will only be purposely cancelled over an event covered by insurance.
That way people get their money back. Flights cancelled for an extended period of time including prolonged Airport closures, are probable examples.
A State Department travel advisory is not a good example, because they are advisory only and travel insurance policies don’t refund simply as a result of a governmental advisory. This is true no matter where you travel.
If flights are going to Tel Aviv and Hotels are open for business, it is probably going to be the case the Pilgrimage will go forward since insurance generally does not cover trip cancellations that are made apart from a policy enumerated condition.
What to do if you are a the type who likes to manage and minimize safety and financial risks?
Most get travel insurance so they can get their money back in the event that there is an insurance covered reason not to travel. At least historically up to now, not a single Pilgrimage has been cancelled --- but people have individually cancelled primarily because of a covered medical condition that prevents travel, or the medical condition of a close relative that prevents travel by the pilgrim - usually limited to a spouse or child or parent.
Many make sure they have notified their Medical insurance provider of their travel plans and have a list of in-network providers in Jerusalem and Tiberias. A slip and fall is the most likely event most Pilgrims might actually face.
While in Israel, those same folks stay with the group at all times, they don’t go out alone after we return to the hotel at night. In short, they are vigilant, careful and prudent in their conduct while in a foreign country. All of these actions would apply to a trip to Canada, not just Israel.
All who go, balance the joy of seeking the Holy Land with the fact that sometimes things can happen during any travel. Perhaps you can think of other precautions that are personal to you.
I think nothing of going to Los Angeles or San Francisco -- knowing tourists get injured, maimed or killed in these cities from time to time. For now, and that hopefully will never change -- there has not been a single American tourist killed in Israel since 1949, though Israel residents, who happen to be American, have been victims while living abroad.
I have found that if you put a 100 people in a room, 50 who have gone to the Holy Land and 50 who have not, the half who might tell you its not safe to go are generally those who have never gone.
The Tour Company, the Hotels, the Airlines all take precautions.
None of us want to be injured, and I having been there 13 times before, I would not go if I thought it was not safe, just to see every sight a 14th time.
Prayer for guidance
Finally and perhaps most importantly, I suggest you pray about this Pilgrimage, and act in accordance with your comfort level and what you perceive God’s will for you might be.