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Priestly Renewal in the Holy Land - January 18-February 6, 2016
Winter spiritual renewal course for priests in the Holy Land. Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. January 18 - February 6, 2016.

Notre Dame Center

Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Priestly Renewal in the Holy Land

Our priestly renewal began as a dream. We dreamt of a unique experience of Christ for priests.

Five elements composed this dream. First, a period of spiritual exercises. Then, contact with the local Christian communities who continue to live out the faith although they find themselves a vast minority. Thirdly, our dream included an atmosphere of priestly fraternity. Also, our priests come into contact with local religious leaders, such as the Latin Patriarch, the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, and the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem among others. But most importantly, we dreamed of a program fashioned according to the Gospel, where priests live, step by step, the major events of Christ’s life in the very places where they occurred. These five ingredients converge on a single goal – priestly renewal.

Our dream came true in 2005, and ever since, we have been leading priests from around the world on an unforgettable and life-changing experience.


•July 13 - August 1

•January 18 - February 6
•July 12 - July 31

Total cost: € 2.000

Includes: medical insurance, room (double occupancy), sixteen-day visit to Jerusalem, four-day trip to Galilee, entrance fee and guides to historic places, all meals, conferences and classroom materials.

Not included: airfare, medical expenses and visits on free days.

Additional fee for individual room: €400.


Our program is a mix of visits and masses at the holy sites, conferences, priestly fraternity, and spiritual exercises. With historical and biblical explanations, as well as ample time for personal prayer, our spiritual renewal course mirrors the life of Christ.

Day One through day Six: The Childhood of Christ. Our renewal starts where it all started - the place of Christ´s birth, Bethlehem. Jesus also visited the temple with Joseph and Mary. We know of the presentation in the temple and the finding of Jesus in the temple. In the first six days of the course, we also imitate the hidden life of Christ in a sense, with three days of spiritual exercises.

Day Seven through day Ten:  The Public Life of Christ. In these four days of the course, we retrace the public life of Christ. As an introduction, we travel to Jericho to visit the Mount of Temptations, where Jesus prayed in the desert and was tempted by the Devil. After we proceed to the Jordan and recall the moment of Christ´s baptism. These days also include a visit to Nazareth and later Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. We visit the major sites on the lake of Galilee: the Primacy of Peter, the site of the multiplication of the loaves, the mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum,  and the remains of the ancient city of Magdala, which are just now being uncovered. After mass on the lake of Galilee and visits to Mount Carmel and Caesarea Maritima, we conclude our time in Galilee.

Day Eleven through day Thirteen: The Holy Triduum. In these days, we celebrate the Easter Triduum. After an overview of the passion from the Mount of Olives, we commemorate the Last Supper by sharing a lamb. After lectio divina in the Upper Room, we head next door for mass, finishing our remembrance of Holy Thursday with our holy hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. On Friday, we have mass at Calvary, followed by a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, St Peter in Gallicantu, and the Way of the Cross in the afternoon with the Franciscans. Saturday´s mass is celebrated at the Holy Sepulcher, with a guided tour of the special exhibit on the Shroud of Turin, entitled "Who is the man of the shroud?"

Day Fourteen through day Nineteen: From the Resurrection to Pentecost. The course includes a day of pastoral visits to the local Christian communities. We also visit the shrine of Emmaus. The Ascension is celebrated in the nearby church of the Pater Noster, followed by visits to the Crusader shrine of the Ascension (now a mosque) and the Russian Orthodox monastery of the Ascension. In the Dormition Abbey, just a short distance from the Upper Room, we celebrate the mystery of Pentecost. Included in this time period are visits to Jacob´s Well, where Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman, the tomb of Lazarus, the Masada fortress, the Dead Sea, and Qumran.


His Beatitude Fouad Twal
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Catholic Church and the Holy Land

His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto
Apostolic Nuncio for Israel and Cyprus
Apostolic Delegate for Jerusalem and Palestine
The Catholic Church: Israel and Palestine

Rabbi David Rosen KCSG
International Director of Interreligious Affairs
American Jewish Committee
The People of the Torah

Mustafa Abu Sway
Director, Islamic Research Center, Al-Quds University
Introduction to the muslim world

Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM
Custos of the Holy Land
The Franciscans in the Holy Land

And others.

Our course is based in the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, positioned just outside the walls of the Old City and just minutes away from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Paratroopers Road, 3 P.O. Box 20531
Jerusalem, 91204
Tel. 972.262.79.111

"The Spiritual Renewal for Priests Course in Jerusalem is summed up for me in a word, the word is ´joy´. Joy that we are one Faith, one Church and one Priesthood. It made no difference in the program what language we spoke, what country we came from or if we were recently ordained or a veteran priest. The ability to celebrate Mass in the locations where scriptural events took place, to relive the Triduum and the renewal our baptismal and priestly promises in the company of other priests in the locations where the sacraments originated was a moving experience. The program enabled me to understand the events of our faith on a far deeper and more personal level. The ability to interact with local Christians and show our unity and solidarity with them is an experience that helped me to understand not only matters of faith but current events. Experiences gained through the Spiritual Renewal Course for Priests will help me and the people to whom I minister for years to come."
-Fr. John Williams, Archdiocese of Hartford

“My experiences at the Priest Renewal Course in the Holy Land have really made a positive impact on my spiritual life and priestly ministry. First of all, simply spending time at table in conversation with 65 priests from 25 countries was to encounter priestly fraternity in a unique and invigorating manner and was a vivid reminder of the universality of Catholicism. Secondly, the theological lectures and opportunities for discussion and feedback served to feed an intellectual hunger that had arisen in my life as a parish priest. Finally, and most importantly, to walk in the footsteps of the High Priest Jesus Christ and to offer the Mass where the pivotal moments of His life and ministry occurred was an honor which defies explanation. To be in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus in His land is an opportunity that no priest should pass by!”
-Rev. Michael Caridi, Diocese of
Pittsburg, PA

"My three weeks in the Holy Land continue to bring the Gospel alive and contributes greatly to my preaching on passages where I have actually been and seen for myself. I learned a lot from the excellent tour guides who accompanied us on our pilgrimage. But what I appreciate the most is not seeing the sites of our Lord´s life which have changed in 2000 years, but rather experiencing the culture of the Holy Land today and leaving with a better understanding of the issues the people deal with who live there. At first I was amazed at how peaceful it is and easy to travel around Israel given the negative impression by news reports of violence and conflict, but it is a security that Israel enjoys at a cost - the cost of disrupting lives of and angering further the Palestinian people who suffer through lack of employment and isolation from work by the new security wall. We spent a day in the Palestinian parish of Aboud and heard firsthand of what life is like for the Christians there. And when a Jewish rabbi gave us a conference at the Notre Dame Center, I realized how vital Christians are to the Holy Land, which the rabbi acknowledged as a sort of God-given responsibility for Christians to be instruments of peace and understanding for all peoples and religions of this region, God´s Holy Land. So much of world politics and interfaith relations centers on Jerusalem, and so much of the Bible centers on Jerusalem; every priest should take this opportunity to get to know Jerusalem. ´If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand wither...´"
-Rev. Daniel Vacca, Diocese of
Wichita, KS