I’ve seen other pilgrimages for less money. Why should I choose the Pilgrim Center of Hope?
Yes, there are many tours advertised for as low as $2,995 or even lower! As we always say: “Be careful! Read the fine print! What is really included in this tour?”
Pilgrimages organized by the Pilgrim Center of Hope are all customized. Each is consecrated to Jesus and Mary, asking the Lord’s blessing and Our Lady’s intercession for each pilgrim. The mission of this Ministry of Pilgrimages is to help you, the pilgrim, have the maximum experience. We realize that this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a major financial cost for some. We keep these factors in mind when planning each pilgrimage.
Be careful to distinguish tours from pilgrimages: A pilgrimage is a journey of faith offering daily Mass at various holy sites, time for scripture reading, reflection and prayer and incorporating many intentions such as spiritual renewal, rediscovery of the richness of the Catholic faith and its history, prayer and experiences such as meeting with the local church.
Our experience in organizing pilgrimages since 1988 is a great benefit to you.
Other tours or groups may be using tour companies that have a high volume of business. This often affects the end result. For example, many tour companies in Israel and in the U.S. receive a “cookie-cutter” package to travel in Israel. These more than often are treated as tours that include museums, quick visits to churches, and less time in the Holy Land. Some of these “low advertised prices” do not include airline taxes, tips and meals. Plus, they most likely use a non-Christian guide. Did you know that there are around 13,000 licensed guides in the Holy Land? Less than 300 are Christian! Again: take care in reading the ‘fine print’!
Is it safe to go to the Holy Land? What about the recent uprisings in surrounding countries?
Yes, it is safe to travel to the Holy Land as a pilgrim, especially in an organized pilgrimage. As pilgrims, we focus on the holy sites and stay at hotels owned by the Catholic Church. We travel as a group, assisted by a local licensed Christian guide, using a private motor coach. Our representative in Jerusalem handles all local details, is most aware of current situations, and remains in close communication with us. Note that we do not travel near Gaza. During our pre-pilgrimage meetings, we review the safety situation and answer any questions you may have. We have been leading groups to the Holy Land since 1988, and have never had safety problems.
Are Christian pilgrims in danger, or treated with hostility in the Holy Land?
On the contrary, pilgrims – and yes, American pilgrims – are welcomed with warm hospitality and open arms. The local people are happy to see pilgrims interested in their Land and by helping the local economy by patronizing their shops and restaurants.
Is the food safe to eat / water safe to drink?
Yes. The accommodations chosen throughout our pilgrimages are at first-class properties that offer quality cuisine and water. Restaurants recommended during the day (lunch) are also carefully chosen for their standards.