Cardinal Rigali leading Holy Land tour

Cardinal Justin Rigali will lead a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February that will include tours of some of the most historically significant sites in the world.

The former archbishop of St. Louis and Philadelphia, who is in residence in Knoxville as he continues to work at the Vatican, will lead the pilgrimage Feb. 12-21.

He will guide parishioners from the Diocese of Knoxville and other dioceses to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee  and the Dead Sea.

While in Jerusalem, the group will stay at Notre Dame, a guest house/hotel owned by the Vatican.

Registration for the trip, which is being directed by tour operator Select International, is under way. The pilgrimage is open to people in the Diocese of Knoxville.

Select International has been able to secure flights from Knoxville on US Airways at a cost of $3,695 per person based on two people per room. A limited number of single rooms are available at an additional cost of $695 per person.

The price includes buffet breakfast and buffet dinner daily, plus one dinner at the Bedouin Tent restaurant in Bethlehem.

The group also will be led by a Christian tour guide and will be able to meet with other Christians in the Holy Land.

Mass will be celebrated daily in the most sacred sites in the region, including the Basilica of Annunciation, where, according to the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary; the Mount of Beatitudes; and St. Catherine’s Church in Bethlehem next to the Grotto of Nativity.

“Traveling with his Eminence, Cardinal Rigali, provides the pilgrims with some exceptional experiences that they would not usually have on other pilgrimages because of his high ranking and his excellent connections in the Holy Land,” said Edita Krunic, president of Select International.

Final deadline for the $500-per-person deposit is Nov. 8, with final payment due Dec. 6. For more information or a copy of the trip flier, contact Select International at 800-842-4842 or go to

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