From August 24 to September 4, a group of 348 pilgrims flew from Senegal to the Holy Land. Accompanied by Monsignor Paul Mamba, Bishop of Zinguinchor and Monsignor André Gueye, Bishop of Thies, the CINPEC Pilgrims began their annual tour in Israel.
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on a special chartered flight organized by Vered Hasharon, the group was taken by coach to Jerusalem. After an afternoon rest, a mass was celebrated at the hotel before the evening meal. The next day, the journey began with a visit to Bethlehem and the Shepherds' Field. The group then toured the Church of the Nativity and St. Catherine, where they participated in Mass. On their way back to Jerusalem the group stopped at Ein Karem for a visit of the church of St. John the Baptist, as well as the church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, before returning to Jerusalem.
The following day, after a mass at the church of St. Stephen, the pilgrims drove to Jericho to visit the monastery of Saint George, the Mount of Temptation and the sycamore of Zacchaeus. Continuing south, they visited the site of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and then enjoyed some time relaxing at the Dead Sea with time to swim and float in the healing waters. The next few days were devoted to the visit of Jerusalem. Visiting the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Ascension and the church of the Pater Noster.
While in Jerusalem the group visited many churches and religious sites including the Church of St. Anne, The Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dominus Flevit, Saint Peter in Gallicantu, Dormition Abby and the Garden of Gethsemane, where they held mass. The group spent time in Taybe, a small village in the West Bank that has been mostly Christian since the early days of the church. After celebrating mass with the community of the Latin Parish, they returned to Jerusalem to meet with the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Travelling north, passing through Tel Aviv and Caesarea, the group headed for Nazareth. The next few days was spent visiting the sites of the region including Muhraka, Banias (Caesarea of Philip), the source of the Jordan river, and the places around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus spent many years preaching - the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha - church of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish). They enjoyed a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee during which they celebrated Mass. While in Nazareth the pilgrims participated in Mass in the Church of the Annunciation and in the torchlight procession of the Rosary.
The Holy Land segment of this wonderful pilgrimage culminated with morning Mass at Mt Tabor, followed by a visit to Yardenit baptismal site on the Jordan River where they were blessed by the Bishop with the waters of the river, as Jesus was by John the Baptist. The next day the passengers were taken back to the airport, from where they flew on a specially chartered plane to Lisbon to continue their pilgrimage tour.