Pilgrimage Chaplain: Fr. Steven McDonald
Fr. Steven McDonald is currently the Second Assistant to the USA SSPX District Superior, Fr. Jurgen Wegner. The Second Assistant is appointed by the District Superior to advise him in district matters. He also has the responsibility of organizing various district office events such as the regular meetings of the priors and priests at the Regina Coeli House. The Second Assistant also closely assists the District Superior in ensuring the welfare of the district’s priests, chapels and faithful by making regular visits to the priories and chapels in the United States. Another of his important tasks—and one that is close to the SSPX’s heart, for this is its primary cause of our existence—is the overseeing of the continuing studies of the Society’s younger priests in the district.
Fr. Steven McDonald was ordained in 2001 and was assigned to Post Falls, Idaho for one year, and then was appointed District Secretary. After serving at the Regina Coeli House for four years, he was made prior at Armada, Michigan, a position he held for six years, followed by his appointment as the Second Assistant to the District Superior in 2012.
Fr. McDonald currently hosts the SSPX video series media apostolate “Our Catholic Faith Today.” See more at http://sspx.org/en/faqvideos.
Trip Itinerary: *
Day 1. Thursday, March 2: Transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv
Embark on a transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Day 2. Friday, March 3: Tel Aviv – Bethlehem
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, meet your tour escort, board your private motor-coach and drive to Bethlehem for a welcome dinner at the hotel and overnight. (WD)
Day 3. Saturday, March 4: Bethlehem: Ein Karem and Shepherds’ Field
Drive to Ein Karem to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist, built over the Grotto of the Nativity of St. John, and the Church of the Visitation that commemorates the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visit to St. Elizabeth. Continue to Shepherds’ Field, where the angels appeared to the shepherds on the first Christmas night. Upon your return to Bethlehem, visit the Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Our Lord was born. Connected to the Church of the Nativity, visit St. Catherine’s Church; descend to the grottoes of the Holy Innocents, St. Joseph and St. Jerome. Next, visit St. Jerome’s Chapel, where the saint wrote the Vulgate. Dinner at the hotel in Bethlehem. (BB, D)
Day 4. Sunday, March 5: Caesarea Maritima – Mt. Carmel – Nazareth – Cana
Begin the day with a visit to Caesarea Maritima, where St. Peter established the church in which he baptized the centurion Cornelius. St. Paul often sojourned there and was imprisoned there for two years before being taken to Rome. Continue to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery in Mount Carmel. Built in an area that for centuries was frequented by hermits, this was a place of worship where the Carmelite order was founded. Below the monastery is Elias’ Cave, where the prophet Elias lived and meditated before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal. Then, travel to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, erected over the house of the Virgin Mary. Then, continue to St. Joseph’s Church, a small church built on the site of St. Joseph’s home and workshop. Finally, visit Cana to see the church built where Our Lord performed His first miracle at the wedding feast. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (BB, D)
Day 5. Monday, March 6: Sea of Galilee
This morning visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes to commemorate the miracle. Continue to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, where Our Lord appeared to the Apostles after His Resurrection. Next, enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Our Lord Jesus Christ did much of His preaching and many of His Apostles were fishermen. Continue to enjoy the famous St. Peter’s Fish for lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon visit the Valley of Doves; this valley is the route Jesus Christ would have taken from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Continue for a short visit to the town of Magdala where St. Mary Magdalene lived. Then in Capharnaum, visit the church built over the ruins of St. Peter’s house and the synagogue where Our Lord used to preach. (BB, L, D)
Day 6. Tuesday, March 7: Mount Tabor – Jericho – Dead Sea – Bethany – Jerusalem
The day begins with a visit to Mount Tabor, the site of Our Lord’s Transfiguration. Continue to Jericho, one of the world’s oldest cities, for a distant view of the Mount of Temptations. Here, a Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Temptation was built around the grotto where the devil appeared to tempt Our Lord. In Jericho, Our Lord healed Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, and dined with Zaccheus, the rich tax collector. Our Lord also chose the road to Jericho as the setting for the parable of the Good Samaritan. Continue for a short stop to enjoy a view of the Dead Sea. Afterwards, travel to Bethany, where Our Lord raised St. Lazarus from the dead. On the way to Jerusalem, stop for views of the Monastery of St. George at the Judean Desert, the closest road between Jericho and Jerusalem. Arrive into Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)
Day 7. Wednesday, March 8: Temple Mount – Mount of Olives – Mount Zion
Start this morning with a visit to the Temple Mount, traditionally the Temple of Salomon, and since 691 AD an Islamic site. Then, to Mount of Olives for a beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem. Visit the Chapel of the Ascension and the Church of Pater Noster, where Our Lord taught His disciples how to pray. On to the Church of Dominus Flevit, where Our Lord wept over the city of Jerusalem, and the Church of All Nations, officially named the Basilica of the Agony, built over the rock on which Our Lord prayed the night before He was crucified. In Mount Zion, see the Last Supper Room, where Our Lord shared the Last Supper with His Apostles. Afterwards, visit the Church of the Dormition, where tradition reveals that the Mother of God was laid in the tomb before her body was assumed into heaven. Your final visit is to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicanctu, where St. Peter denied Our Lord. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (BB, D)
Day 8. Thursday, March 9: Via Dolorosa – Holy Sepulcher – St. Anne’s Church & Pool of Bethsaida – Flagellation Church – Ecce Homo Church – Transatlantic flight home
Early this morning, carry the cross and follow the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, and end with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Then, enjoy an in-depth tour of this church, including a visit to the tomb of our forefather Adam and the tombs of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, as well as a tour of the Holy Sepulcher chapels. In the afternoon visit the Church of St. Anne, erected over the traditional site of the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Continue to the Pool of Bethsaida excavations, identified as the scene of the healing of the paralytic. Then, visit the Flagellation Church that enshrines the spot where Our Lord was flogged. Next is the Ecce Homo Church that commemorates the place where Pontius Pilate presented Our Lord to the hostile Jewish crowd. Before transferring to Tel Aviv airport, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (BB, FD)
Day 9. Friday, March 10: Arrival to the USA
Early arrival into New York’s JFK airport for your connecting flight to your final destination.
(BB) Buffet breakfast; (L) Lunch; (D) Dinner; (WD) Welcome dinner; (FD) Farewell dinner
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
To obtain a pilgrimage brochure and registration form, please contact Regina Pilgrimages.