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In Christ,

Maggie & Teresa
The Catholic Faith Journeys Team

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I had NO desire to return to the Holy Land http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/i-had-no-desire-to-return-to-the-holy-land/ Mon, 09 Nov 2015 13:01:14 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=407 “Once is enough!” I thought, after my first trip. Boy, was I wrong… by Maggie McDaniel

 

Israel 2015 166I was offered to join a FAM (Familiarization) trip to the Holy Land. (It is customary for tour companies to offer pilgrimage organizers a discounted “come and see” tour as a way to feature a particular destination.) Having already organized pilgrimages to (and been enraptured by) the great Catholic sites of Europe — Rome, Lourdes, Paris, Assisi — I really had never considered traveling to the Holy Land. A pilgrimage provider sent me as a visitor along with a group of Christian pilgrims, and I was excited about the idea of walking where Jesus walked.

It was nice being in the Holy Land — “neat” to be in the places you read about in the Bible. However, the narratives given by our tour guide were beginning to wear on me. The guide chosen by the tour company was not a Christian. His portrayal of all the sites we were visiting seemed like a mere historical account, rather than a connection with the person of Jesus Christ. I can’t really blame him. He didn’t even believe that Jesus was the Messiah — the Son of the Living God — and often openly questioned Catholic traditions and beliefs. He would say things like, “This church isn’t where this biblical event actually happened. It’s just an old tradition. Jesus really performed this act several miles away!”

Needless to say, I didn’t feel a good connection with the Holy Land, nor did I feel a desire to return with a tour group of my own. I was prepared to leave saying, “Okay, I did it. I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Now, I don’t care if I ever go back!”

But that began to change when our group visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the holiest place in Christian history. The place where Jesus died, was buried, and ultimately triumphed over death. As I was listening to my tour guide say, “This is not actually the location where Jesus was buried…” I overheard someone speaking about the Sacrifice of the Mass. Intrigued, I scooted closer to overhear what this other man was saying. My hair stood on end — I could tell this man was Catholic! I stood there soaking up his edifying words about the precious and hallowed ground within the Holy Sepulchre and what it meant for us, as Christians, to be physically present in such a place.

When I returned to the States, a priest in my diocese asked me to organize a trip to the Holy Land. Knowing I could not repeat my previous pilgrimage, I diligently spent many phone calls and emails seeking out a Catholic, Holy Land tour guide for the priest’s pilgrimage. (Catholic Holy Land tour guides are hard to come by!)

Even as I embarked on my next pilgrimage, I left thinking to myself, “Well, this will be the last time I will ever go to the Holy Land!”

But, boy, was I wrong…

sea-of-galileeWith the Catholic tour guide, everything changed. Our pilgrimage became a living, family history, as opposed to a textbook. It was like sitting at my grandmother’s feet as she recounted memories of my ancestors, rather than listening to a genealogist read facts about them.

I realized what I had been missing. On my last trip, our group had been checking off a list of experiences; we had been “pounding pavement,” not “removing our sandals” and walking upon hallowed ground. Like the Ethiopian eunuch being asked while discovering the Scriptures, “Do you understand what you are reading?”, my heart was aching the reply: “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:30-31) Someone needed to “unlock” the Holy Land for me.

On that second pilgrimage, I finally understood why Pope Saint John Paul the Great called the Holy Land the “Fifth Gospel.” The place speaks to you — the culture of the time, the events, the faces of people, the truths of the Catholic Faith. The Word of God is now a lived experience for me, not mentally conjured images. God made us material, sensual human beings. That’s why He gave us the Sacraments, because we do have to feel and touch and smell, thus integrating the spiritual reality into our very bodies. The end of the pilgrimage is the beginning of a deepening in your relationship with Jesus. Your pilgrimage lasts in your heart and in your prayer for a lifetime.

Now, I believe every Catholic should go to the Holy Land…but with a Catholic guide!

 

Join our April 2016 pilgrimage to the Holy Land with our dear friend and native Nazarene tour guide, Amer Shehadeh, as he brings you as a guest to his homeland, his home parish, and “unlocks” the holy Scriptures and our Catholic Faith. The chaplain and host for our pilgrimage is Fr. Jeff Walker. 

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6 Days: Our Lady of Guadalupe – Mexico City & Puebla http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/6-days-mexico-city-and-pueblo/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:23:25 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=47 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: Depart for USA Mexico City
Arrive into Mexico Airport where you will be met by your English speaking tour guide and escorted to your Hotel. Enroute, we will stop at the Zocalo to see the Cathedral and the National Palace. Welcome drink, briefing, and dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Mexico City (D)

Day 2: Mexico City
This morning board your motor coach for full day tour. Visit the Plaza of the Three Cultures and Tulpetlac Park. Stop for a visit to the world famous Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. Lunch at a local restaurant today. This afternoon, visit the Museum of Anthropology where you will gain new insight and appreciation for the Ancient Mayan culture. Return to your hotel for overnight. (B, L)

Day 3: Mexico City / Puebla
After breakfast we depart the hotel for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe where we will attend Mass. Afterward, we will take time for prayer and to explore the shrine area. Later in the afternoon we will depart for Puebla enjoying lunch en route and stopping to visit San Miguel del Milagro and the Shrine of Our Lady of Ocotlan. Overnight in Puebla. (B, L)

Day 4: Puebla / Mexico City
Mass this morning at Rosary Chapel before visiting the Cathedral and other points of interest in Puebla. Time for shopping. Lunch at a local restaurant in Puebla. This afternoon take part in a trip to Cholula and Sta. Ma. Tonazintla before returning to Mexico City. (B, L)

Day 5: Mexico City
After breakfast, celebrate Mass at the Church of St. John the Baptist in the deluxe Coyoacan residential area. Continue for a leisurely gondola ride along the canals of Xochimilco, Mexico’s Floating Gardens. We return to the hotel after a stop at the Museum of Anthropology, and a farewell visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Later we gather for a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B, D)

Day 6: Mexico City / USA
Join in a farewell Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe where group can view the “tilma” one last time before transferring to the airport in time for your flight home. (B)

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12 Days: Shrines of France http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/12-days-shrines-of-france/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:22:23 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=45 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: Depart USA
We depart on our overnight flight to Paris. Enjoy dinner & breakfast served aboard overnight flight.

Day 2: Paris / Lisieux
Arrive early this morning in Paris where you will be met by the tour guide and transferred to Lisieux. Upon arrival enjoy an orientation tour of Lisieux with visits to the places associated with the life of St. Terese including the Great Basilica dedicated to her, the Carmelite Convent, the Buissonets (home of the Martin family), and other places of importance. Dinner and overnight in Lisieux. (D)

Day 3: Lisieux / Mont St. Michel
Begin the day with morning Mass. Depart for Caen, the “Benedictine City,” called the Gem of Normandy, which was in the center of the terrible fighting that followed the Allied invasion. Visit the twin abbeys built by William and his wife Matilda of Flanders, as a condition of the Pope’s raising the excommunication served on them. Continue on to the Normandy Beaches, famous for the D-Day landings, and the enormously impressive American cemetery at Omaha Beach. If time allows, stop at Pointe du Hoc, situated between Omaha and Utah Beaches for photographs. Arrive in Mont St. Michel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 4: Mont St. Michel / Vannes
Morning visit to the famous Abbey of Mont St. Michel, perched on a rocky isle in the Gulf of Saint Malo. Its awesome fortifications were attacked many times during the Hundred Years’ War, but never captured. After lunch, depart for Ste Anne D’Aurey, dedicated to the Mother of the Virgin Mary and an important pilgrimage site in France. Mass will be celebrated here. Dinner and overnight in nearby Vannes. (B,D)

Day 5: Vannes / Lourdes
After breakfast depart the hotel for Nantes Train Station where you will board the famous TGV train to Bordeaux. You will be met by your tour escort and transferred to Lourdes by private motor coach. Dinner is at the hotel. After dinner you may wish to participate in the candlelight Procession. Overnight in Lourdes. (B,D)

Day 6: Lourdes
After breakfast, participate in the walking tour of Lourdes where we will visit the places associated with the life of St. Bernadette. These places include the Boly Mill where St. Bernadette was born; the Locale Mill, residence of her parents; the “Cachot,” formerly used as a jail where she lived at the time of the Apparitions; the Chapel where St. Bernadette received her First Holy Communion; and the Parish Church containing the Baptismal Font where she was baptized. Once again, after dinner, please feel free to participate in the Candlelight Procession (if available). Dinner and overnight in Lourdes. (B,D)

Day 7: Lourdes / Avignon
Depart Lourdes after breakfast for Avignon. Dinner and overnight in Avignon. (B,D)

Day 8: Avignon / Paray le Monial
Enjoy an orientation tour of Avignon, the city that served as the “Second Capital” of the Catholic Church during most of the 14th century. After a visit to Avignon we will continue to Paray le Monial for Mass in the Visitation Chapel where the Sacred Heart appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. Dinner and overnight in Paray-le-Monial. (B,D)

Day 9: Paray le Monial / Nevers
This morning we depart Paray-le-Monial for Nevers. In Nevers, we will view the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette and visit the site of the convent in which she spent her last days. The balance of the day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Nevers. (B,D)

Day 10: Nevers / Paris
Depart Nevers early this morning for transfer by motorcoach to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris, we will visit the Rue du Bac Chapel for Mass. It is here that Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure. Here you will also view the incorrupt remains of St. Catherine and the heart of St. Vincent de Paul. We will then continue for a brief sightseeing tour of Paris including the Elysee Palace, residence of France’s presidents; Arc de Triomphe; the Eiffel Tower and the Place de la Concorde. Dinner and overnight in Paris. (B,D)

Day 11: Paris
Today is a full day at leisure. Take time to shop and explore the “City of Lights” on your own. An optional half-day excursion to the magnificent Palace of Versailles will be offered. The beautiful gardens and palace are majestic and reflect the splendor of France’s golden age. You may also wish to participate in an evening cruise along the Seine River after dinner (at additional cost). Dinner and overnight in Paris. (B,D)

Day 12: Paris / USA
We will depart for Paris Airport for our return flight. Arrive home the same day. (B)

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12 days: Venice, Florence, Assisi and Rome http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/12-days-venice-florence-assisi-and-rome/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:21:52 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=43 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: Depart USA
We depart USA on overnight flight to Venice, Italy, enjoying dinner and breakfast served aboard flight.

Day 2: Venice
Arrive Venice Airport where we are met by our tour escort and awaiting motor coach for transfer to our hotel in Venice. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel (D)

Day 3: Venice
After breakfast, board your private motor launch to the main island of Venice for a walking tour beginning at Piazza San Marco, the most famous landmark of the island. Sites visited will include the Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, San Marco Basilica (where we will celebrate Mass), and the Rialto. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the many shops or streets on your own. You may wish to experience a gondola ride along the famous canals of Venice this afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Venice. (B,D)

Day 4: Venice / Padua / Florence
Drive to Padua to visit the Basilica of St. Anthony and the Scrovegni Chapel, (if reservations can be confirmed). Pray at the Tomb of St. Anthony followed by Mass in a side chapel of this Basilica. Continue to Florence, the jewel of renaissance Art and former stronghold of the infamous Medici family. Overnight in Florence. (B,D)

Day 5 : Florence
On your city tour, see Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry of St. John with Ghiberti’s bronze “Gates of Paradise” doors, and visit the Academy, where Michelangelo’s famous statue of David stands. No visit is complete without a visit to the massive Duomo which dominates the skyline and is an architectural marvel. Dinner and overnight in Florence. (B,D)

Day 6: Florence / Sienna / Assisi
Today we head south to visit the home of St. Catherine of Sienna, a Doctor of the Church. We will have a city tour on foot to visit the famous Piazza del Campo and then transfer to the Sanctuary, Birthplace of St. Catherine. A visit to the spectacular Cathedral is included before we head for Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. Check in at Hotel and enjoy dinner and overnight in Assisi. (B,D)

Day 7: Assisi
After breakfast your walking tour includes the Basilica of St. Francis (Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis), the Church of St. Clare, and Santa Maria degli Angeli, built over the Porziuncola, believed to be the site of the founding of the Franciscan Order. Dinner and overnight in Assisi. (B,D).

Day 8: Assisi / Rome
After breakfast and Mass, depart for the Eternal City. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B.D)

Day 9: Rome
Morning visit and tours of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs), and the Catacombs, where our group may celebrate Mass. In the afternoon, depart for Vatican City and a tour of the Vatican Museum and Gallery, Raphael’s Room, and the Sistine Chapel, followed by an interior tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B,D)

Day 10: Rome
After breakfast we transfer to St Peter’s Square for the Papal Audience. (Depending on the Holy Father’s Schedule). The afternoon is free for personal sight seeing or shopping. (B,D)

Day 11: Rome
This morning tour the remnants of “Ancient Rome.” Visit the Trevi Fountain, St. Paul Outside the Walls (Mass), and a stop at the Colosseum (outside view only). Your afternoon is free. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B,D)

Day 12: Rome
After breakfast we depart for the Rome Airport for our return flight home. (B)

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12 days: Holy Land & Rome http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/12-days-holy-land-and-rome/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:20:53 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=41 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: USA
We depart for our international flight to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Dinner and breakfast are served on board.

Day 2: Tel Aviv
We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport where we are met by our tour escort and transferred to our hotel in Tiberius. Time before dinner to relax and get settled. (D)

Day 3: Galilee
Our exploration of the Holy Land begins with a cruise on the Sea of Galilee and visit Ginnorsar where we see a fisherman’s boat that dates to Christ’s time. We continue to the Mt. of Beatitudes, where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. Our next stop is Tabgha, site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. We will also visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter and Capernaum. This afternoon we will journey to the Church of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 4: Jerusalem
Today we travel to Cana, site of the Wedding Feast. We continue on to Nazareth in Lower Galilee, the place where Jesus grew up and lived most of his life. We visit the Church of the Annunciation; built over the Grotto of the Annunciation, the place where early Christian tradition says the Angel Gabriel spoke to the Blessed Mother. We continue to Joseph’s carpentry workshop. This afternoon we head to the Carmelite Monastery at the Muhraka, site of Elijah’s altar. Paintings in the church dome depict Old Testament stories, including one of Elijah being swept up to heaven in a fiery chariot. We continue to Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea to discover the ancient Crusader and Roman town, its aqueduct and theatre. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B,D)

Day 5: Jerusalem
Today we begin with a view of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then travel to Ein Kerem, where the Blessed Mother went in haste to visit Elizabeth. We will also visit the birthplace of St John the Baptist. We continue on to Bethlehem for an inspiring visit to the Church of the Nativity. Return to our hotel in Jerusalem. (B,D)

Day 6: Jerusalem
We begin the day walking the Via Dolorosa, which winds through the streets of Old Jerusalem and commemorates the path that Jesus walked on the way to His crucifixion. We visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, containing the tomb where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. We continue our tour with a visit to the Dormition Abbey and the House of Caiaphas where Peter denied Christ three times. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B,D)

Day 7: Jerusalem
We begin our morning in the Garden of Gethsemane. After Mass, we will head to Masada, the Dead Sea and time permitting Qumran. (B,D)

Day 8: Jerusalem / Rome
After breakfast we will pack up for our journey to Rome. Before we head to the airport we will stop at the steps of the old temple. Continue on to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight to Rome. (B,D)

Day 9: Rome
Today will consist of a half day tour of Christian Rome with visits to include the Basilicas of St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the walls, and St. Peter in Chains, and one of the Catacombs. (B,D)

Day 10: Rome
After breakfast we will head to St Peter’s Square for the Papal Audience (depending on the Holy Father’s schedule). In the afternoon, we will begin our tour of Ancient Rome, viewing such sites as Capitoline Hill, Forum, Colosseum (interior tour), Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus, the Old Appian Way, and Palazzo Venezia. Dinner and over night in Rome. (B,D)

Day 11: Rome
Today is a free day for personal site seeing or shopping. Arrangements can be made to tour the Vatican Museum, for those interested, at additional cost. (B,D)

Day 12: Rome
After breakfast we depart for the Rome Airport for our return flight home. (B)

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11 days: Poland, Budapest & Prague http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/11-days-poland-and-budapest/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:20:13 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=39 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: Depart USA
Depart on our overnight flight to Warsaw. Dinner and breakfast are served aboard the flight.

Day 2: Warsaw
Upon arrival in Warsaw, we will be met by our local tour escort and transferred to our hotel. This afternoon, we will enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of this medieval city including the Old Town, Market Square, the Barbican, the massive Ghetto monument, and the Chopin statue. Tonight we enjoy Dinner and overnight in Warsaw. (D)

Day 3: Warsaw / Krakow
After breakfast at the hotel we depart for Niepokolanow, home to St. Maximillian Kolbe. We will visit the Franciscan monastery where he lived and worked. We then continue to Plock, the town where Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina with the message of “Divine Mercy” and requested promotion of this devotion on Feb 22, 1931. We continue to Krakow for Dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 4: Krakow
We begin the day with Mass before traveling to Kalwaria Zebrzdowska, famous for the “Calvary Paths” walked by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. Visit the Bernardine Monastery and the Baroque church of Our Lady of Angels. Continue to Lagiewniki, site of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where Sr. Faustina died. Visit the convent chapel in which her body lies beneath the miraculous image of the Divine Mercy. We return to Krakow for Dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 5: Krakow / Budapest
After breakfast we depart Krakow to enjoy a scenic drive through the heart of mountainous and densely wooded Slovakia. We arrive in Budapest situated in the valley of the Danube River. After check in at the hotel, we will have leisure time to rest before enjoying Dinner. Overnight in Budapest. (B,D)

Day 6: Budapest
Our local guide will share the history of this cosmopolitan city. We will visit Castle Hill at the heart of Buda on the west side of the Danube. Stop at Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Coronation church, the Citadel on Mt. Gellert and Heroes Square. Dinner and overnight in Budapest. (B,D)

Day 7: Budapest / Vienna
We depart this morning traveling south of the capital to a Puszta Horse Farm where herdsmen, dressed in traditional costumes, show off their beautiful steeds. Stop for lunch, on our own, before continuing to Vienna via the Austrian lowlands. We arrive at the hotel where we will enjoy Dinner and overnight. (B,D)

Day 8: Vienna
Our sightseeing begins after breakfast at the hotel. We will see the Prater amusement park with its giant Ferris Wheel and the United Nations City on the banks of the Danube River. Next we will view the Opera House, Heldenplatz, Hofburg Palace, then continue on foot for a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the famous Anker Clock with its historical figures set to music. The afternoon is at leisure, relax, shop, or take an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace. Dinner and overnight in Vienna. (B,D)

Day 9: Vienna / Prague
We depart this morning for the Czech border. Here we enter Moravia and stop for lunch (on our own) in Brno. Brno was Napoleon’s headquarters during the “Battle of the Three Emperors” at nearby Austerlitz. We will tour Spielberg Castle and other sites in this country’s second largest city. We then continue through Moravia and Bohemia to Prague. Dinner and overnight in Prague. (B,D)

Day 10: Prague
After breakfast, we will enjoy a panoramic city tour, which will highlight the State Opera, National Museum, Wenceslas Square and Prague’s Castle District. We continue with a walking tour of the Hradcany district crossing the famous Charles Bridge. We will view St.Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, the Golden Lane and the Astronomical Clock (once the envy of all Europe). Our tour culminates at the Church of Our Lady of Victory where the original Infant Jesus of Prague is kept. The remainder of the day will be at leisure for shopping (hand-cut crystal and art books) or relaxing at one of the many outdoor restaurants. Dinner and overnight in Prague. (B,D)

Day 11: Prague / USA
We depart for Prague Airport for our return flight. Arrive home the same day. (B)

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10 Days: Italy – Assisi, San Giovanni Rotondo, Rome http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/10-days-italy-assisi-san-giovanni-rotondo-rome/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:18:39 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=37 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1: Depart USA / Rome, Italy

Day 2: Assisi
Arrive Rome where you will be met by your tour escort and awaiting motor coach after clearing customs and retrieving your luggage. Transfer to Assisi and check in at your Hotel. Enjoy dinner tonight at your hotel.

Day 3: Assisi
This morning, begin the day with Mass in the Basilica of St. Francis. After breakfast, you will participate in a guided tour of Assisi including such sites as the beautiful Basilica of St Francis, the Church of Santa Clara, which houses her incorrupt body and the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels which houses the Porziuncola. Remainder of day is free. Possibly hike up to the Hermitage, visit San Damiano, or simply explore the many winding uphill streets filled with shops and cafes. Dinner tonight at your hotel.

Day 4: Assisi / Lanciano / San Giovanni Rotondo
Depart Assisi this morning after breakfast. Drive east to Lanciano, a city noted for the Eucharistic Miracle, which became the foundation for the Feast Day of Corpus Christi. Mass will be celebrated here. Continue in the afternoon toward the Adriatic Coast and arrive at San Giovanni Rotondo late afternoon. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy dinner before retiring for the evening.

Day 5: San Giovanni Rotondo
Today, we celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Padre Pio. Afterward, visit sites associated with the life of this simple Capuchin monk noted for his deep humility, pious exercises and the stigmata he bore of the wounds of Christ. Three days after the monks celebrated the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, St. Padre Pio was “gifted” with the outward signs of the wounds of Christ, though he had suffered from these wounds for 8 years internally. Visits include his tomb and cell, the old church where he received the stigmata, and his confessional. Dinner and overnight in SGR.

Day 6: San Giovanni / Pietrelcina / Rome
Today we will head to Rome. En route, stop at Monte Sant’Angelo, where St. Michael appeared in 490. Visit the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo, built in the 13th century by Charles I of Anjou. Continue to Pietralcina, birthplace of St. Padre Pio. Mass is scheduled here at Santa Maria degli Angeli in the church where St. Padre Pio celebrated his first Mass, followed by visits of his home, and the Sacred Family Church, which houses a museum dedicated to the life of the saint. Continue on to Rome for dinner and Overnight.

Day 7: Rome
Your day begins with breakfast followed by a full day tour of Rome. Begin with guided tour of Christian Rome visiting the three major basilicas including St. Mary Major, where Mass will be celebrated, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Walls, and complete the tour with a visit to the Catacombs. In the afternoon visit sites associated with Ancient Rome, including the Appian Way, the Arch of Constantine, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, including an interior tour. After dinner return to the Hotel for overnight.

Day 8: Rome
Walk to St. Peter’s for the Papal Audience (depending on the Holy Fathers schedule). Afterwards we will have a brief stop for lunch, on your own, before continuing with an afternoon tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Mass will be celebrated at a local church in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Rome
After Mass the group will participate in a Scavi Tour, if confirmed. The balance of your day is free to explore Rome on your own. Overnight in Rome with dinner at your hotel.

Day 10: / Rome USA
Transfer to Fiumicino Airport for your return flight home.

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10 days: Eucharistic Miracles of Italy http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/10-days-eucharistic-miracles-of-italy/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:18:04 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=35 Eucharistic Miracles monstranceTake your parish on a tour of the Eucharistic Miracles of Italy. Deepen their faith in our Lord’s precious gift and set their hearts on fire for love of Him!

This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

 

Sample Itinerary 

Day 1: Depart USA
Enjoy dinner served aboard overnight flight.

Day 2: Rome
Upon arrival in Rome, the group will be met by the tour guide and escorted to the hotel. Balance of day at leisure to explore the “Eternal City” on your own. Dinner and overnight in Rome.

Day 3: Rome
After breakfast and Mass, depart for a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica as well as a visit to the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel. Enjoy an “Illumination Tour” of Rome this evening. Dinner and overnight in Rome.

Day 4: Rome / Assisi
This morning, enjoy ½ day tour, visiting three major basilicas in Rome including St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul Outside the Walls, as well as the Catacombs. Depart in the afternoon for Assisi. En route, visit Bolsena/Orvieto, the town closely associated with a Eucharistic Miracle. Visit the famous Cathedral of Orvieto, dating back to 1288. Continue to Assisi for dinner and overnight.

The door through which St. Clare elevated the Blessed Sacrament over the Umbrian valley and, through a miracle of the Eucharist, the Saracen army was vanquished.

San Damiano: The door through which St. Clare elevated the Blessed Sacrament over the Umbrian valley and, through a miracle of the Eucharist, the Saracen army was vanquished and Assisi was saved.

Day 5: Assisi
Today, group will enjoy an orientation tour of Assisi, the town of beloved St. Francis, including the Basilica of St. Francis, the convent of St. Clare, and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. Afternoon is free to explore Assisi on own. Discover the interesting shops and eateries among the winding streets of this quiet, peaceful village. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.

Day 6: Cascia / Lanciano
This morning, depart for Lanciano. En route, stop in Cascia, home to St. Rita. Visit the Basilica of St. Rita, where lies her incorrupt body and several relics from her life. Another precious relic in the Basilica of St. Rita is the Eucharistic Miracle of Cascia. As the miracle is distinct from the life of the saint, it has a story of its own. Continue on to Lanciano, upon arrival group will go directly to the church which houses the relic of the living flesh of Jesus in a special Monstrance and Tabernacle. An explanation of the miracle will be presented by the custodian, Fr. Gabrielle. (if available) Dinner and overnight in Lanciano.

Day 7: San Giovanni Rotondo
Depart for San Giovanni Rotondo after breakfast. The group will enjoy a tour of St. Padre Pio’s tomb and cell, the old church where he received the stigmata, and his confessional upon arrival. Dinner and overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo.

Day 8: San Giovanni Rotondo / Sorrento
Visit the Cave of St. Michael this morning before departing for Sorrento. Upon arrival visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary for Mass. Continue to Sorrento for a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples. Ample time to enjoy Sorrento on your own with its exquisite shops and panoramic views of the bay which abound from terraced eateries. Savor a cappuccino and drink in this famous vista at leisure. Enjoy dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Sorrento / Monte Cassino / Rome
Depart Sorrento this morning. En route, visit Monte Cassino, the town closely associated with St. Benedict. Here visit the Abbey in which St. Benedict lived. Founded in 529A.D. the monastery is set on an impressive hill overlooking the town of Cassino. Arrive in Rome with afternoon free. This evening group will enjoy a “Farewell Dinner” with wine and music at a local restaurant. Overnight in Rome.

Day 10: Rome / USA
This morning, depart for Rome airport for our return flight home.

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10 Days: Poland – Warsaw, Czestochowa, & Krakow http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/10-days-poland-warsaw-czestochowa-and-krakow/ Fri, 06 Mar 2015 02:17:12 +0000 http://catholicfaithjourneys.com/?p=33 This is a SAMPLE ITINERARY, which may serve as a starting point for planning your customized group pilgrimage. Contact us to customize a tour based on your desired travel dates and destinations.

Day 1 : Depart USA

Day 2: Warsaw
Arrive in Warsaw where your escort will meet group and assist with transfer to your hotel. Check-in and time for short relaxation after the flight. Orientation tour of Warsaw with walk through the Old Town: entering the Castle’s Square where you will see the magnificent Royal Castle and King Sigismund III Waza column. Short stop at St. John’s Cathedral, thenenter the beautiful Market Square with many restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Cross the Barbican to the New Town with its smaler square, historical buildings and churches. Drive to St Kostka Church for Mass before returning to your hotel fordinner and overnight.

Day 3: Warsaw / Niepokalanow / Plock / Gogowiec / Czestochowa
Morning departure for Czestochowa. En route a short stop in Szymanow to visit the Monastery of Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Szymanow to honor the miraculous statue of The Lady of Jazlowiec. Continue to Plock, where Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina in 1931, bringing The message of Mercy for all of mankind. Asked to do so by The Lord, Sr. Faustina painted the picture of His Divine Mercy with the inscription “Jesus, I trust in You”. Continue to Glogowiec, the birthplace of Sr. Faustina and to Swinice, where in the local church, Sr. Faustina was baptized. Arrival in Czestochowa. Check-in at your hotel and dinner. (B,D)

Day 4: Czestochowa / Piekaryslaskie-Oswiecim / Zakopane
Morning visit to Jasna Gora Monastery, the spiritual and religious capital of Poland. See the miraculous Black Madonna Icon and the Treasury Room with the impressive collection of precious gifts given to the monastery throughout the ages. Drive to Zakopane. Stop in Piekary Slaskie situated on the northern rim of the Upper Silesian Mountain Basin. The local cult of the Mother of God goes back to the 15th century. Since the 17th century it has been associated with the picture of the Piekary Mother of God which gained fame at that time for remarkable acts of grace and was recognized as miraculous. At the end of 19th century the Piekary Calvary was built on Cerekwica Hill consisting of 39 chapels and the Church of the Transfiguration. Next stop in Oswiecim to see Auschwitz-Birkenau, a former Nazi concentration camp. The site of this camp now houses the Oœwiêcim State Museum. You will see the Bunker where St. Maximilian Kolbe was martyred giving his life in voluntary sacrifice for the life of one of his fellow prisoners. Drive to Zakopane for hotel.
Check-in and dinner.

Day 5: Zakopane
Zakopane is the most popular resort in Poland and one of the most beautiful places owing to its picturesque location and fine spas. Follow a short part of one of Pope John Paul II’s walking trails. Admire picturesque landscapes of Polish highest mountains – The Tatras and visit the Hermitage of St. Brother Albert, founder of the Albertines Order. The building dates 1898, the work was carried out by Brother Albert and his first Monks, according to the design of Stanislaw Witkiewicz and also under his personal supervision. See the beautiful Jaszczurowka Chapel and the sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, built In thanksgiving after Pope John Paul II was shot in Rome in 1981. Dinner with folklore entertainment in one of the Bakowa Zohylina highlanders’ inn. (B,D)

Day 6: Zakopane / Wadowice / Kalwaria / Zebrzydowska / Tyniec / Krakow
Morning departure for Krakow. On the way stop in Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla our Holy Father John Paul II. Visit the house where the Pope was born and the church he attended as a child. Continue for Kalwaria Zebrzydowska lying among the colorful hills of the Wadowice Upland. From far away you may see the monastery complex ofthe Bernardine Father with the early baroque church of the Angelic Mother of God. South of the monastery, is located the famous Calvary paths, with churches, chapels and wayside shrines The brotherhood was founded in 1613. As early as 1658 the picture of the Mother of God with Child (also called the Weeping Madonna) was recognized by Church authorities as “famous for miracles”. In respect to the number of pilgrims, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is the second most popular sanctuary in Poland. Short stop in Tyniec to see the Benedictine Abbey perched on a cliff high above the Vistual river. The Benedictines arrived in Poland in the second half of the 11th century and it was their first home. Arrival in Krakow. Dinner at one of the restaurants beautifully located in the Old Town area. (B,D)

Day 7: Krakow
Drive to Lagiewniki to visit the St. Faustina Convent. Afternoon drive to Wieliczka Salt Mine, the underground world of salt. You will admire the beautiful chambers, chandeliers and monuments all carved in salt by many generations of Polish miners. You will also see the most magnificent of all chambers, the St. Kinga Chapel.

Day 8: Krakow
Start morning sightseeing of Krakow – The former capital of Poland. Over 3000 historical buildings from various periods have survived in this city. The city was also the scene of coronations and eternal resting place of Polish kings. Visit the Main Market Square – one of the largest towns squares of Medieval Europe, surrounded with palaces and old town houses. Admire the double row of 13th century merchants’ stalls later converted into the renaissance Cloth Halls. Walk through the Florianska streets leading to the famous Florian Gate and the Barbican – remains of the former city fortifications. Visit the interiors of St. Mary’s Church – the monument to the honour and the fame of the citizens of Krakow. This is from where the “hejnal” bugler daily heralds the arrival of the midday. But the St. Mary’s Church is mostly famous of its altar created by Wit Stwosz the master craftsman and his assistant in years 1477 to 1489. The artist portrayed the Death of Mary and the Assumption. The wings of the altar show us the Coronation of Mary surrounded by figures of the patrons of Poland, St. Stanislaus, and St. Adalbert. This masterpiece by Wit Stwosz is the most important example of late-medieval sculpture. Visit to the Wawel Castle – the royal residence and the seat of Polish kings. Right now the most popular and the richest museum in Poland housing several thousand works of art of greatest value. Among them the greatest Wawel collection of the Arras tapestries. Admire interiors of the Wawel Cathedral – used to be the scene of coronations and the eternal resting place of kings of Poland. Afternoon at leisure and time to explore this magnificent city on your own. Dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Day 9: Krakow / Studzianna / Warsaw
Morning departure for Warsaw. En route a short stop in a small town Studzinna, famous for its monastery and a church where you can see a copy of the Jacque Callot’s piece “The Holy Family’s Meal”. This picture is famous for the miracles which are said to have happened around it. It was also a place of pilgrimage and the great hospitality of the local people who always prepared meals for the people coming to Studzianna. The priest will show you the church and then invite the group for tea/coffee/cake and fruits in the interiors of the monastery. Arrival in Warsaw. Checkin at your hotel and time to relax. Afternoon drive through the Royal Route with its historical monuments, residences and churches. Short stop by the Holy Cross Church where is the Chopin’s heart places, brought here from Paris. Continue your drive though the most famous streets of Warsaw. Stop by the Royal Lazienki Park where you will see the famous Chopin’s monument and the beautiful Palace on the Water, a summer residence of the last Polish king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski. Evening drive for a private Chopin concert in one of the historical interiors of Warsaw with a glass of champagne during the interval. Farewell dinner will be served at one of the local restaurants.

Day 10: Warsaw
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

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