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A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

March 8 – 17, 2018

This pilgrimage will be a special experience with Fr. Brennan leading the Masses and serving as a guest lecturer. St. Norbert Abbey personnel have planned the tour as a special time of reflection on the life of Christ with devotions centered on the biblical events that happened in Israel 2000 years ago. Hopefully, present day believers and those considering faith in Christ will be enlightened by the tour and the teachings. We want you to enjoy a life-changing journey as you travel to Israel and the Holy Land. Our carefully crafted itinerary is written from past experiences we had while travelling in Israel. This is a wonderful opportunity for tour participants to grow in spirit, faith and understanding.

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  • Visit Caesarea, the ancient wonder of the world
  • See excavations where 1st century remains were recently discovered
  • Spend some beach time on the Mediterranean Sea and walk the shores of the Sea of Galilee
  • Visit the excavations at Mary Magdalene’s home town
  • Breathtaking views from Mt. Arbel (where Jesus spent many hours in prayer)
  • Visit Capernaum, an authentic reconstruction of the synagogue, in which Jesus preached in the 1st century
  • Watch the sunset from our boat as we worship God together
  • Visit Beit Shean, the huge Roman City built on the ruins of past civilizations
  • Discuss the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, the site where they were discovered
  • Pray at the Western Wall, visit the Upper Room where Jesus had His meal with His disciples
  • Visit other ancient historic sites like St. Anne’s Church and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • Hike to the springs of Ein Gedi (where David hid from Saul) and view many waterfalls
  • Explore Biblical Tamar Park, the oldest active archeological dig site in Southern Israel

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Volunteer Experience (Optional)

Everyone who registers for this trip is invited to extend his or her tour experience and become a “Volunteer” at Tamar after the tour. This low cost experience is available for up to a maximum of 90 days. Long term volunteers pay only $20 a day for board and room and short term volunteers, who stay less than 30 days, pay $30 a day. Volunteers are needed in various areas such as, horticulture, cooking, housekeeping, mechanical, carpentry, and beautifying the Park.

Volunteering is a unique and special way to bless the Israeli people and the Land, while being able to experience 5,000 years of history. Presenting this history, and how it relates to our Creator, is the reason Blossoming Rose continues to develop Biblical Tamar Park. We are very thankful for all our volunteers and donations that help make this all possible.

Tour Guides & Hosts

Our tours are led by knowledgeable guides and hosts and is one of the many things that make our tours exceptional. Each tour is a unique experience and all of our tours include a visit to Biblical Tamar Park and have the option to extend your stay as a volunteer.

Tony Pichler israel tour guide

Tony Pichler

Tour Host

Tony Pichler is the Director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality in DePere, Wisconsin.  His travels in the Holy Land have given him the experience to offer a unique and new approach to travel and biblical studies.  Formerly, he was the director for Lay Ministry Formation for the Diocese of Green Bay.  Tony received his B.A. in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, and his Master’s of Theological Studies degree from St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI.  He has authored eight books for high school teens and youth ministry leaders

rev calvin bergsma israel tour host

Fr. Mike Brennan

Tour Spiritual Leader

Fr. Michael Brennan joined the Norbertines in 2011, after 11 years of teaching and coaching in Catholic schools.  He first travelled to the Holy Land during his third year of theological and scripture studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  On his first visit to the Holy Land, he was captivated by the beauty and complexity of the people, the culture and the landscape. He considers it a privilege to take this journey as a spiritual guide.

denny thompson israel tour

Raed Makhouli

Tour Guide

Raed has become our friend through the years.He lives in the north of Israel and is a Christian. He is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church and lectures on the diverse cultures and religions of Israel. He is a licensed, registered Israeli guide, and one of the most experienced in Israel, specializing in guiding Christian groups. He truly brings the Bible to life.

dr dewayne coxon

Dr. DeWayne Coxon

Tour Facilitator

DeWayne A. Coxon is the founder and President of Blossoming Rose. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and served as a teacher, minister, college instructor/administrator from 1960 – 1984.  Shortly thereafter he founded Blossoming Rose, an organization whose mission is to bless Israel through various programs, including the maintenance and restoration of the 55 acre Biblical Tamar Park.  There is a five-acre archaeology site at the Park, of which Blossoming Rose is curator.  Dr. Coxon has been in Israel for a cumulative seven years.  His knowledge of Jewish, Christian and Muslim history gives him a unique perspective on the Middle East.  He is the author of three books.

Experience Israel Today Itinerary

Day 1

israel tours holy land
USA to Israel

We will begin our journey as we depart from our home city and fly to Israel. (Everyone should be at the airport three hours prior to the flight.) Meals will be served during our flight.

Day 2

holy land israel tours hotel
Arrive in Israel, overnight in Netanya

Dr. Coxon will meet us at the airport and take us to our charter bus. Our bus driver will take us to our hotel on the Mediterranean Sea where we can rest from our long flight. We will be served a delicious buffet dinner and we’ll have time to enjoy the evening and get to know one another before we turn in for the night.

Day 3

mount of olives israel tour
Mediterranean Sea, Caesarea, Church of the Annunciation, Sea of Galilee & Tiberias

The day will begin with a bountiful Israeli breakfast buffet and then we’ll take some time to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean Sea beach by our hotel. Our friend and guide for several years, Raed, will join us and talk about the often overlooked significance of the Mediterranean Sea and Caesarea. From our hotel, we will go to Caesarea, the ancient wonder of the world. We will continue on to Nazareth and to the Church of the Annunciation where we will see the latest excavations where 1st century remains have recently been found. By late afternoon, we will walk on the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Raed will share information about its history. Our evening will end at our hotel in Tiberias, where we can rest, shop, and enjoy their hospitality and good food.


Day 4

day 4 experiencing the holy land israel tour
Magdala, Mt Arbel, Mt of Beautitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha & boat ride on the Sea of Galilee (mass today)

After leaving our hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, we will visit the excavations at Migdal (Magdala) which was Mary Magdalene’s home town, including a recently discovered first century synagogue likely frequented by Jesus and His followers. We will then head north, looking down on the striking Sea of Galilee from Mt. Arbel where Jesus spent many hours in prayer. We’ll continue on to the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus preached to the multitudes, and then on to Capernaum, an authentic reconstruction of the synagogue, in which Jesus preached in the 1st century. We may have Communion at Tabgha on the Sea and then we will return to Nof Gizzanar, where the Jesus boat is in the museum. We will board our Galilee boat and watch the sun set as we worship God together. We look forward to returning to our hotel and having private time walking on the shore of the Sea of Galilee before dinner.

Day 5

ruins israel holy land tour
Jordan River, Beit Shean, Jericho, Qumran & Jerusalem

We will stop at the Jordan River as we leave the lush greens of the Galilee and see the brown hues of the Judean desert. During our drive, we will stop at Beit Shean, the huge Roman City built on the ruins of past civilizations. Jesus certainly stopped at Jericho on his way to Jerusalem for the Feasts, and we will stop to see the famous ruins dating to the times of Joshua and the Israelites. We will continue our day at Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. There will be time to discuss the significance of the Scrolls and address the question as to whether or not John the Baptist or Jesus would have ever visited this desert spiritual headquarters of these people of the “Way.” We will also visit the newly discovered tomb of the Teacher or leader of the community and talk about his possible identity. We will then take the steep road up to Jerusalem and catch a glimpse of the Holy City before checking into our hotel. After dinner everyone will be free to wander around or catch up on some sleep.

Day 6

biblical israel tour dome of the rock
Mt of Olives, Bethphage, Gethsemane, Kidron Valley, Mt. Zion, Bethlehem, the Shepherd’s fields & the Old City

Our day will begin on the summit of the Mount of Olives with a spectacular view of the Old City spread before us. We will then walk down the Bethany Road, pray in the Church of All Nations (Gethsemane), cross the Kidron Valley, explore some first century tombs, and walk through the Dung Gate into the Old City of ancient Jerusalem.  We will have opportunity to pray at the Western Wall, most sacred to the Jewish people. We will continue through the Old City to the Jaffa Gate where we can eat lunch. We will continue on to Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherd’s fields and then return to our hotel.


Day 7

israel tours day 7 holy land
Jerusalem, Via Delarosa, Church of St. Anne, Pool of Bethesda, Holy Sepulcher, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of Domitian, and Caiaphas’s House (mass today)

We will begin the day by walking through the Eastern gate to the Via Delorosa and then on through the ancient historic places like St. Anne’s Church and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Winding through the narrow ancient streets is a reminder to us that Jesus walked through these very areas.  The “Stations of the Cross” are identified with Roman numerals. We will return to the Jaffa Gate where we will have time to eat and shop, before going into the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem to see the “Upper Room” and Mt. Zion.  Our hotel is close to this area and so we may be able to catch a few more minutes of shopping before dinner.

Day 8

masada biblical israel tour
Ein Gedi, Masada, Dead Sea and Biblical Tamar Park

Today we will experience both the climate changes and the elevation changes as we descend from the mountains of Judea at 2,700 feet, to 1,500 feet below sea level near the Dead Sea. We’ll stop at Ein Gedi, the place where David hid from King Saul and then we will continue to the upper Dead Sea. We will drive to Masada for a tour of the historic palace which King Herod built on the
mountaintop. We will continue on to the Dead Sea to experience the water where people float and cannot drown, and then go on to Biblical Tamar Park. Arrival at the Park will be in the afternoon where we will be met by the Park Supervisor and other volunteers who are helping Blossoming Rose restore this ancient city. We will move into our rooms, have a tour of the Park, and eat dinner. Our day will end with us gathering under the Sukkah, in a large circle around the fire, to hear the story of Tamar from the time of Abraham.

Day 9

day 9 holy land israel tour
Beersheva, Elah Valley, Jerusalem, Airport (mass today)

When we rise in the morning we will feel the stillness of the desert as the sun rises over the Jordanian mountains. We will have breakfast, and enjoy a devotional in the Sukkah and then board our bus for Beershev, where Abraham dug his wells. We will continue on to the Valley of Elah where David killed Goliath. The afternoon and evening will be spent in Jerusalem where we will be free to shop and visit before being taken to the airport for departing to the USA.

Day 10

biblical israel tour usa
Arriving back in the USA

Our overnight flights give us opportunity to “catch up” on sleep we have missed during our exciting days in Israel. Welcome home!

Tour Dates:
March 8 – 17, 2018
$2,395 (airfare not included)
Plus $100 for tips and gratuities
Tours Include:

Hotels: Breakfast & Dinner
Two Nights at Biblical Tamar
National Park Pass
Gondola at Mosada
Galilee Boat
All listed sites that we visit
Bus transfer to and from Ben Gurion Airport

Not Included:

Fee for Bussing to O’Hare Airport
Option entry fees
Jericho Excavation
Flight insurance