Bishop announces pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2013

Tuesday March 6th 2012

A special day for many on the 2011 Connor pilgrimage when Bishop Alan celebrated Holy Communion on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.Bishop Alan has announced that there will be a second diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land in November 2013.

The 11–day pilgrimage will be led once again by the Very Rev John Mann, Dean of Belfast, and will visit the places Jesus walked, talked and prayed.

Inviting people from the diocese to join this pilgrimage, Bishop Alan writes in the brochure: “This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the places as well as the texts of the Bible and so to encounter and relate to Jesus in a new and thrilling way.

“We shall find the gospel made strikingly contemporary for us in the lives of the faithful Israelis and Palestinians whom we shall meet and who will guide us through their beautiful and troubled land.”

Bishop Alan continues: “The variety of sites and situations will speak to us all differently, but we shall all be united on a journey together, thirsting for holiness, forgiveness, peace and justice. The journey will also be full of laughter and joy, with profound worship and cherishing fellowship.”

The pilgrimage will begin on Tuesday November 12 2013 with flights from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow and on to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv. The first two days are spent in Jerusalem, followed by an optional trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. There will be a visit to Mount Zion and Bethlehem, and the Sunday will be spent meeting the people of Jerusalem at St George’s Cathedral, in the city, or on one of two optional trips.

On the Monday the pilgrims move via Caesarea, Haifa and Acre to Tiberias, and the second part of the pilgrimage takes in Jesus’s lakeside ministry, Nazareth and Northern Galilee before the pilgrims depart for home early on Friday November 22.

The cost of the tour is £1,745 sharing a twin bedded room. In Jerusalem pilgrims stay in the three star Golden Walls Hotel overlooking the city walls, and in Tiberias the hotel is the four star Ron Beach on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Brochures and booking forms are available from Dean Mann at Belfast Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2HB; telephone 028 9032 8332 or email A brochure can be downloaded here.

Prior to his appointment as Dean of Belfast, Dean Mann led a group of 85 people from Connor on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land in March 2011. Comments after that pilgrimage included:

‘A divine experience. Every step was history and gave a visible meaning to the Bible and the New Testament in particular.’

‘We saw the hills that saw Jesus play and enjoy his childhood.’

‘We will always remember the fun and fellowship we felt throughout the trip.’

‘I…returned home energised both physically and spiritually.’

‘It was a privilege to be part of this pilgrimage, so well organised and led, including the meaningful prayers and Bible readings for every site.’

Bishop Alan said the pilgrimage had inspired him and strengthened faith and hope. “We managed to mix the wonder of being in a special place with the great gift of humour,” he said.

To get a flavour of the pilgrimage experience, revisit the photographs from the 2011 Connor pilgrimage by following this link, or contact DCO Karen Bushby for a copy of the June 2011 Connor Connections.

Please note that while there is no age limit pilgrims need to have reasonable mobility as there is quite a lot of walking and lots of steps!

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