BI950CE: Walking in The Footsteps Of Jesus and The First Deacons: A Pilgrimage To The Holy Land

BI950CE: Walking in The Footsteps Of Jesus and The First Deacons: A Pilgrimage To The Holy Land


The Josephinum Diaconate Institute offers a Holy Land Pilgrimage / Study Program. It is an 8 day directed study designed to introduce deacons and deacon candidates to the holy sites of our salvation history. Through participant-directed preparation and execution of the pilgrimage/study program, deacons and deacon candidates will prepare and then participate in an extensive visitation of pre-determined biblical sites in Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. Major components of this program include:

  1. a) An eight day comprehensive academic and spiritual orientation to sites in Israel and the Palestinian National Authority under the close supervision and guidance of faculty members from the Josephinum Diaconate Institute and a licensed priest-guide from the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. The professor and licensed priest-guide have had extensive experience guiding study groups and pilgrims through the Holy Land and one has extensive geo-political strategic studies education and background as a flag officer in the U.S. military;
  2. b) Pre-course preparation will include researching the geography, history and related scriptures for locations and holy sites to be visited using the assigned Pilgrimage Book;
  3. c) The Pilgrimage/study program will include directed visitations of many of the major sites of Old and New Testament history and visits to these biblical sites will be designed to incorporate a deacon or deacon candidate’s knowledge of scripture, biblical archeology, salvation history and the history of the Church. Planned study sites include: historical Jaffa; Caesaria Maritima; Nazareth; Cana; Mount Tabor; Tiberias; MT. of Beatitudes; Tabgha; Capernaum; Sea of Galilee; Primacy of Peter; Tel Jezre’el; Joseph’s Well; Burqin; Samaria; MT Gerazim; Nablus; Jericho; the Jordan River; MT of Temptations; Bethany; Jerusalem; Bethlehem; Ein Kerem; MT. of Olives; City of David; Ecole Biblique: Chapel of St Stephen; MT. Zion; Dormition Abbey; Via Dolorosa; Holy Sepulcher; Abu Gosh (Emmaus); Philip’s Spring and other locations, time permitting.
  4. d) Daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and Holy Mass will be a central focus of every day and these devotions will be crafted to enhance the pilgrim’s experience of the holy sites; liturgical celebrations, spiritual meditation and academic study will be illuminated by these daily spiritual exercises as we trace the steps of the Lord and the development of the early Christian Church;
  5. e) Directed reading and study of scripture passages and a presentation of the history, archeology and, where appropriate, geo-political considerations for the locations to be visited, and areas to be traveled through on the way to their designated visits will be required;
  6. f) Deacons, candidates and spouses will be afforded insightful orientation into the culture, politics and religious life of the regions we will visit and specific attention given to the Latin-Rite Catholic communities, their lives, and the charitable works being provided to their communities by Catholic Relief Services, the Latin Patriarch, and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; and finally,
  7. g) Participants will be given the opportunity for interreligious dialogue with members of all the Abrahamic religions and other faith groups in the areas to be traveled.


  1. COMPLETION OF THE PILGRIMAGE. Deacons and deacon candidates must complete the entire pilgrimage and fully participate in all designated events.
  2. PRE-PILGRIMAGE RESEARCH. Participants will initiate research into the designated sites planned for visitation during the pilgrimage. Research will include a comprehensive investigation of the geography, history, current affairs and all pertinent scripture passages related to the sites to be visited as listed in the official Pilgrimage Book.
  3. REFLECTION PAPER. Upon completion of the pilgrimage, participants will have two weeks to complete a reflection paper answering the question: Why does Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI refer to the Holy Land as, ‘the 5th Gospel?’
  4. GRADES. BI 950 CE: WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS AND THE FIRST DEACONS: A PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND will be graded PASS / FAIL. Those registered for and passing BI 950 will receive two credit hours. Which may be applied to any Josephinum Diaconate Institute degree or certificate program.





Iasiello, Louis V. 2022: Pilgrims Study Guide to the Holy Land. Columbus: JDI Institute Press, 2022.


  1. Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. The Holy Land. An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. Oxford 2008 5th edition.This is an archeological guide written by one of the world’s most renown biblical scholars. It covers over hundred sites in the Holy Land. Students would be required to read only those chapters or sections that discuss the sites visited during the pilgrimage. It does not study sites in Jordan.
  2. Finegan, Jack. Archaeology of the New Testament: Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church. Princeton University Press 1992.

This can be considered as an extended version of Murphy-O’Connor’s archeological guide (at least twice bigger). Like Murphy-O’Connor book, this text is to be used as a reference book. Students should consult only those sections describing the sites visited.


  1. Wilkinson, John. Jerusalem as Jesus knew it. Archeology as Evidence. Jerusalem: Thames and Hudson 1978.Although it is outdated (1978), it presents a good description of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. It considers also sites outside Jerusalem although in a more concise way. In contrast to the book of Murphy-O’Connor, this text can be read as a book and not as reference guide. Besides, this text considers fewer places (e.g. The Last Supper Room is not discussed, or the place of Mary’s visitation at Ein Karem).
  2. Stern, Ephraim (ed.). The New Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Eisenbrauns 1993. 5 Volumes.This is a reference book. It provides exhaustive archeological information on a number of sites in the Holy Land.
  3. Wright, G. E. Biblical Archeology. Westminster John Knox Press 1962.This is a classic text. Although outdated (1962) it stands out for its clarity and broad content. It studies the History of Ancient Israel through ages, from the archeological point of view. It also discusses aspects as the social life and religion.
  4. Jeremias, Joachim. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press 1969.This is a classic text. Although outdated (1969), it is remarkable for bringing alive the way of life in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. Each chapter studies one specific aspect: Commerce, Jobs, Foreigners, Social classes, Clergy, etc.

Holy Land Pilgrimage: Ancient Text:

Wilkinson, John. Egeria’s Travels. Oxford: Aris & Phillips 2006 3rd edition.

This is a recent English translation of the travel diary of a female pilgrim who visited the Holy Land and other countries as Egypt, in the 4th century (AD 381-384). The diary describes the Holy places and the liturgies in which she participated. It is considered a must-read for those interested in the history of the sacred places in the Holy Land.


BI713EE The Letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles

In “The Letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles,”  students explore selected letters of Paul and Acts. Topics include authorship, audience, secular and religious contexts. The study of Paul’s writing style brings additional meaning to the texts. Students are prepared for teaching and preaching in the parish and similar settings

The core of Paul’s life is Jesus Christ Crucified and Risen!

This core is both an encounter/experience and a knowledge which live on well after the historical event in Paul’s and the Church’s life.

For Paul, Christ Crucified/Risen is in …

  • a theology that is actually a staurology (derived from the Greek word for cross [stauro/ß]), a theology of the Cross;
  • Paul receives his encounter and understanding of it by a particular kind of Revelation, namely, a divinely initiated knowledge (epignosis; Gk = e˙pi÷gnwsiß), which brings its own grace to assist humans in receiving it;
  • when this Revelation and Divine Knowledge are grasped, we are in the process of being saved;
  • Paul calls this kind of salvation “mystery” (Gk: musth/rion), a divine secret now revealed, with such clarity, beauty and power that it is, itself, a manifestation of salvation. This “mystery” the foundation of our sacraments.

BI905EE The Book of Revelation

Students develop an appreciation and understanding of the Book of Revelation by careful study of the text as Sacred Scripture. Homiletic considerations are a particular focus. The study of Revelation examines the pastoral challenges stemming from popular fundamentalist interpretations. Students also explore the impact of Revelation on worship, justice, and witness.

BI405EE Introduction to Sacred Scriptures

This course introduces students to Sacred Scripture: its canon, its ideas, its historical and cultural contexts, and the dogmas that inform how the Catholic Church integrates it into the journey of faith. The course presumes no prior knowledge of the Bible, but it addresses common misconceptions people who are familiar with the Bible often have about it. The course approaches its topic thematically rather than book-by-book, highlighting biblical passages that play a key role in generating or grounding Church teaching. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of theological perspectives contained within Scripture and on how they developed over time. Attention is also given to the unity of the Testaments while inviting reflection on what makes the New Testament “new.” Following the directives of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with Jews, equal attention is given to exposing and correcting anti-Jewish interpretations of Scripture that have historically distorted proclamation of the Gospel.

BI612EE The Four Gospels – Synoptics and John

This course introduces students to the four canonical gospels as the principal witness for the life and teaching of Jesus handed on to us in writing. Special attention is devoted to appreciating the inter-relatedness of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), how they differ from John’s gospel, and how the tensions generated by those differences enable us to enter more fully into the mystery of our faith.