Why organise a pilgrimage?
Everyone who travels to the Holy Land is moved by the experience. Many tell us that that their understanding of the Bible has been dramatically altered. On pilgrimage you will visit and worship at the sites and also meet the indigenous Christian community. Living and travelling together breaks down barriers and you will find a pilgrim party get to know each other more in ten days than during years attending church.
What do people expect?
Each participant will have their own idea of what a pilgrimage might entail. General expectations are to see the Holy Places, to walk where Jesus walked, and to have devotions at the sites. For many, this will be their only holiday, for some their first holiday for a long time. We find that pilgrims don’t want to be rushed and they do want time for shopping!
Many pilgrims come with a personal agenda and you may find that a particular site or passage from the Bible is especially important to that person. The experience will touch each person in a different way.
Areas less thought about become real highlights. Sunday worship with a local congregation. A visit to an orphanage or school. Encounters with the “living Stones” of the land are often cited as the highlight of a pilgrimage.
Where can we go on a pilgrimage?
The Holy Land is the core McCabe destination and it is unusual for a church party to only travel here once. Most groups travel a second or third time and many churches or dioceses plan a pilgrimage every few years as an integral part of the life of their community.
We offer other destinations for parties who have been to the Holy Land and now wish to continue with the experience of travelling together as a parish. These are our five most popular choices.
- Greece in the Footsteps of St. Paul
- Istanbul & the Seven Churches of Asia
- Rome and Assisi
- Jordan and Egypt
- The Pilgrim Way to Santiago de Compostela
How is worship arranged?
Worship is at the heart of the pilgrimage experience. Most parties plan a Eucharist in the Jerusalem area and one by the Sea of Galilee, others have a daily celebration. We will make specific arrangements for your worship needs.
Favourite places include Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives, the Shepherds Fields in Bethlehem and the Garden Tomb. In the Galilee we have access to a wonderfully situated altar on the lakeside at Tabgha or you may prefer a garden setting on the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the lake. In addition, you should plan a programme of informal reading, meditation and prayer, perhaps inviting group members to participate.
We will provide you with worship planning notes and hymn books if you require them. McCabe is an ecumenical organisation and we try to be sensitive to the worship needs of each individual party.
What is a typical group size?
An average group size is 20 -35 in number and the minimum number required to travel on an independent McCabe pilgrimage is 16. Coaches can seat 50.
We do arrange multi-coach pilgrimages. We were privileged to co-ordinate a BBC “Songs of Praise” pilgrimage comprising 150 singers travelling in three coaches. Durham Diocese conducted a pilgrimage with four coaches travelling together. These large pilgrimages are great experiences and we carefully stagger the programme so that everybody does not visit the same site at the same time but come together for key times of worship and fellowship.
What is the best time of year to travel
We recommend the spring months of February through June and the autumn months of September through November. Early February and late November give a saving of £50 on an average pilgrimage price. Expect to pay a supplement of about £100 to travel during any of the school holidays because of the increased cost of the airfare. The summer months of July and August are generally regarded as too hot for pilgrimage.
What grade of accommodation is used?
A McCabe pilgrimage is not a budget holiday and we expect to deliver a high standard of accommodation. In the Holy Land, the Golden Walls Hotel in Jerusalem and the Ron Beach Hotel in Tiberias have been our principal partners for twenty five years. Details of all the hotels we use can be found in the LINKS section on the home page of the McCabe website.
What is included in the price
We include flights, accommodation and touring with guide and all entrance fees. We also include lunches in our Holy Land itineraries which then become a feature of the pilgrimage and a time to relax and use the facilities before the afternoon programme.
Our prices include complimentary places for group organisers. Full details are included with each quotation.
What is not included?
Everybody should be covered by travel insurance. Our recommended policy has no age supplement and is particularly suited to the older traveller. Alternatives better suited to younger travellers and annual policies can be found in the links section of our website. Feel free to shop around.
Gratuities are expected by guide, driver, hotel and restaurant staff. You may also wish to leave a donation at some of the churches and projects you visit. We recommend an appropriate amount that you collect before departure or on arrival. We also give you a list of who expects what, to enable you to make a budget and plan ahead. Many leaders appoint a “treasurer” to handle this aspect of the pilgrimage.
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