While one group from Minnesota was still in route to the Holy Land due to a flight cancellation, most of pilgrims began the tour in Caesarea Maritima where Cornelius, the centurion, was baptized as the first Gentile convert (Acts 10). It is also where Paul was imprisoned before traveling to Rome to appear before Caesar (Acts 23-26.) The archeological site at this Roman capital, built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar, includes restored Crusader fortifications, a Byzantine street, a Roman theater, amphitheater and well-preserved aqueducts. Jeff gave us an orientation and teaching in the Roman theatre before we toured the archeological site with our Israeli guides. A further drive up the coast brought us to Mount Carmel, also known as Muhraka (in Arabic "place of burning") for mass at the Carmelite monastery.
Here's a video clip of part of Fr. Guckin's homily.
Next we visited Megiddo, the ancient chariot city of King Solomon that overlooks the valley of Armageddon. Megiddo, the ancient “tel” revealing 20 separate layers of occupation. As we traveled on to the region of the Galilee, we actually descended below sea level to the Sea of Galilee. Tonight we checked in for 3 nights on the shores of the Galilee. All the rest of the pilgrims made it by dinner time to the kibbutz.