The Visitation & The Nativity
This morning we drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi where a precipitous cliff, filled with caves, rises some 2,000 feet. Time is allowed for a float on the Dead Sea. Return along the Dead Sea to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy in 1947, before returning to Jerusalem. Then we drive to Bethlehem. Visit the Basilica of the Nativity, built over the site of the birthplace of Christ where Mass will be celebrated. Visit the Cave where Christ was born and it is the occasion to sing the traditional Christmas Hymns. A visit is made to the Chapel of St. Jerome, who lived here for many years and translated the Bible into Latin. The nearby Church of St. Catherine is the venue for the midnight Mass which is broadcast all over the World from Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Continue to the Shepherds field, recalling the “great throng of the heavenly hosts” who appeared to the Shepherds and told them of the birth of the Savior. Return to your hotel for dinner. This evening we request a meeting with his Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. (If available).