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2019 Marks the 40th Anniversary of St. John Paul II’s Papal Election: As you make your way to Poland, Land of Kings, Saints, and Divine Mercy! Walk in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II - from where he was born, baptized, where he became a Priest - Bishop - Cardinal, and where he spent his time visiting as Pope. Take in the Shrine of Divine Mercy (in Lagiewniki) and be drawn closer to the life of St. Faustina and her Divine Mercy message. One of the most obvious works of mercy, and perhaps the most difficult to put into practice, is to forgive others. This pilgrimage will teach you, and allow you, to be able to forgive. pilgrimage mapLunches. Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1 : Depart for Warsaw
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Warsaw. Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 : Arrive Warsaw
Welcome to Warsaw, Poland! Upon arrival, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Transfer to your hotel. Following check-in at your hotel, your pilgrimage will officially begin with Mass. Following Mass, enjoy a delicious dinner and have the opportunity to explore the city of Warsaw before retiring for a restful overnight.
Day 3 : Warsaw
Your day will begin with breakfast followed by Mass at St. James Church, iconic for its tower and square base. This church is where Helena Kowalska prayed extensively upon entering Warsaw. Also, it is where she confessed all that burdened her soul, and asked for the advice of Rev. James Dabrowski which eventually resulted in the Saint entering the convent. Following this prayerful morning, your day of sightseeing begins. Your group will explore the Old Town, comprised of beautiful maze-like cobblestone streets and picturesque architecture that are symbols of Poland's successful rebuild following its destruction during World War II. Some of the sites will include the Market Square (the center of the city filled with restaurants, cafes and shops), the Barbican, defense-like structures that have been rebuilt following World War II, and the Warsaw Ghetto monument that commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 during World War II. You will also take in the Lazienski Park, a beautifully landscaped park, the Chopin Statue (a large bronze statue of musician, Frederic Chopin), and the Royal Castle (the official residence of the Polish monarchs). In the afternoon, visit the Stanislaw Kostka Church and view a special exhibit dedicated to Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. This priest was a great personality of the Catholic Church, and killed by communists in 1984. In 1987, Saint John Paul II visited here to pray in front of Fr. Popieluzko's tomb. Your tour of Warsaw will conclude by returning to the hotel for a delicious meal, followed by an overnight at your hotel.
Day 4 : Warsaw - Niepokalanow - Swinice Warckie - Czestochowa
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast followed a by a transfer to Niepokalanow. This Franciscan Monastery is in the community of Teresin, and was founded by martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe. This remarkable saint was arrested by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz, giving his life for the life of another prisoner. Following your visit to this Holy Monastery, transfer to the village of Swinice Warckie. In Swinice Warckie, visit the church of St. Casimir. This historically rich parish is the site of baptism for St. Faustina (formally known as, Helena Kowalska). Little Helena received her first confession, and First Holy Communion, at this parish. Additionally, she and her family attended Sunday Mass and other services at this church. After visiting this simple, yet elegant church, we will continue to Czestochowa. Upon arrival in Czestochowa, you will check-in to your hotel, enjoy a magnificent dinner, and a restful overnight.
Day 5 : Czestochowa - Wadowice - Krakow
Today, you will awake in the home of the grandest pilgrimage shrine of Poland since the 14th century! You will begin your day with breakfast and Mass at Jasna Gora Monastery. This hill-top monastery is home to the beloved icon of the Black Madonna. Additionally, Saint John Paul II is said to have made frequent visits to this monastery throughout his life. Tradition tells us that this icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist, discovered by St. Helen, and later enshrined. While here, you will have the opportunity to venerate not only the Holy Icon, but also many other priceless treasures that are contained within. Following your prayerful visit to the Chapel of the Black Madonna, you will continue on to Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II). While in the small city of Wadowice, you will have the opportunity to visit the church of where this beloved Saint was baptized, and attended Mass as a child. Following this historically captivating experience, continue onto Krakow. Enjoy dinner at the local restaurant before resting up for the next day of activities.
Day 6 : Krakow - Zakopane - Krakow
After breakfast, we will drive through the mountains to breathtaking, yet small and remote village of Zakopane. Take a cable car ride to the nearby mountaintop. At the top, you will truly experience God's magnificent Glory when you look out at the magnificent panoramic view. Following the many photos captured atop the mountain, we will head to the Jaszczorowka Chapel. This architecturally distinct chapel was visited many times by the young, Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II). As a young boy, Karol Wojtyla often used the walking paths surrounding the Jaszczorowka Chapel for much prayer and reflection. After you experience this beautiful site that assisted in Saint John Paul II's Holy journey, you will continue your tour to the colorful, Krupowki Street. While on this street, you will have the opportunity to do some shopping at the local bazaar before returning to Krakow. Enjoy a beautiful dinner and an optional stroll through the old city before retiring for the evening.
Day 7 : Krakow - Auschwitz - Krakow
After breakfast, you will explore Krakow's Market Square as the sound of the silver trumpet from St. Mary's Tower fills the air. The captivating beauty of this square is largely due to the fact that it has remained unchanged for almost 700 years. It contains a number of buildings that hold important historic value such as, the Town Hall Tower, the Cloth Hall, and the Burgher's houses. Following your time in this longstanding square, you will make your way to Wawel Hill, where you will visit the beautiful Cathedral, and Coronation Chapel. These are among the most important sites in Poland as the Cathedral has been the coronation site of the Polish monarchs and has held numerous pieces of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Modern art. Also at this site, you will have the opportunity to pray at the tomb of the patron saint of Poland, St. Stanislaus. Short drive to Auschwitz, notoriously known as a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Upon arriving at the former camp, you can feel the darkness and sorrow that overtakes the atmosphere as there were numerous unspeakable atrocities that occurred at this site. Additionally, while on this visit, you will have the opportunity to view the cell that imprisoned the Christ-like, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and visit the Martyrdom Museum. After this reflective day, return to your hotel in Krakow for dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 8 : Krakow - Divine Mercy - Lagiewniki - Wieliczka - Krakow
On your last day of touring, after breakfast depart for your excursion to Lagiewniki, the capital of the Divine Mercy. Through the mediation of St. Faustina, Christ passed on the message of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki. While here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy that contains images of the Merciful Jesus, relics of St. Faustina, as well as, the Saint's convent chapel and her Tomb. Visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Divinity, which was visited by Saint John Paul II in 2002. Following Mass, have to opportunity topray by a relic of Saint John Paul II. Continue to Wieliczka to visit Europe's oldest salt mine which has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Return to Krakow for your farewell dinner and last overnight.
Day 9 : Krakow - Prague
After breakfast we depart for our scenic motorcoach ride (or short flight) to the enchanting city of Prague, a city of domed rooftops, soaring steeples, and countless spires. Dinner and overnight.
Day 10 : Prague
After breakfast, we make our way to the Church of Our Lady Victorious, home of the famous Child Jesus statue called the Infant Jesus of Prague. The statue, a 16th-century depiction of infant Jesus holding a globus cruciger, was donated to the Carmelite friars in 1628. Following Mass we will visit Old Town Prague . In Prague’s Castle district visit St. Nicholas Church, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George Basilica, Loreto Church and Strahov Monastery. Continue by crossing the Medieval Charles Bridge that is adorned with many baroque statues. View the Astronomical Clock of Prague and walk on Wenceslas Square, one of the main city squares. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is part of the historic center of Prague, a World Heritage Site. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 11 : Prague - Altotting - Salzburg
Leave Prague for Altotting, one of Germany's most celebrated shrines and a city whose purpose is pilgrimage. Upon arrival we'll celebrate Mass at the center of the pilgrimage complex, the Chapel of Mercy. The chapel houses a 13th century statue of the Blessed Virgin to which numerous miraculous cures are credited. While there, we have the opportunity to visit the Basilica, the Panorama of the Crucifixion and St. Konrad's Monastery. Continue to Salzburg, the lovely birthplace of famed composer Mozart . Salzburg also known as “ Alt Stadt” is known for its beautiful baroque architecture and its amazing views of the Eastern Alps. Free time before dinner and overnight.
Day 12 : Salzburg
After breakfast, our full day tour begins with Mass at St. Peter's Abbey. Following Mass we will explore the historic center of Salzburg on foot. Its narrow streets and secluded passageways are evidence of its medieval roots. The heritage of the Catholic Church is evident in the Archbishop's Residence at DomPlatz. Visit Mirabell Palace with its beautiful gardens. Mirabell Palace, is one of the most important shooting locations from the famous Hollywood musical “The Sound of Music”. Maria and the children dance around the Pegasus Fountain in front of the palace, singing the song “Do Re Mi”. Experience the unique views across Mirabell Gardens towards the HohenSalzburg Castle. You will have a chance to visit the mighty Romanesque Cathedral as well as the Nonnberg Convent of Benedictine nuns. In the Getreidegasse view Mozart birthplace, now one of the most visited museums in Austria. We will make a stop at Hellbrunn Palace to enjoy its gardens and hidden trick fountains. Dinner and overnight.
Day 13 : Salzburg - Mariazell - Vienna
After breakfast, we motor east through Austria to Mariazell, the most important pilgrimage place in Austria. We will stop and see the miraculous statue, which is housed in the Lady Chapel or Chapel of Miracles, built directly over the place where Magnus established his monastic cell in 1157. We continue onto to Vienna, Austria's capital. Dinner and overnight.
Day 14 : Vienna
After breakfast we will enjoy a sightseeing of Vienna, home of Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Visit the spectacular St. Stephen's cathedral, the symbol of Vienna. Construction commenced in the 12th century. Today, it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. At St. Stephen’s, we’ll see the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mariapoch. You will tour the Cathedral and its catacombs. Those strong and brave may climb the 343 steps to the top of the Cathedral spire. Continue with a visit of the Schonbrunn Royal palace, a summer residence with 1,441 rooms including a Hall of Mirrors where Mozart performed at the age of six before a young Marie Antoinette Louis. Schonbrunn Palace was put on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in December 1996. We will continue our journey in Vienna and view the Belvedere palace well known by its beautiful gardens. Back in the city center, we go to Karlsplatz with its Church of St. Charles Borromeo and Otto Wagner's Stadtbahn pavilions. Somewhere along the way we will have a little coffee break to enjoy the famous Vienna pastries such as Sacher cake. Dinner and overnight in Vienna.
Day 15 : Vienna - Budapest
After breakfast, we depart for Budapest, often compared with Paris, this glamorous city has something to offer every visitor. Enjoy free time to explore Budapest or rest before dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 16 : Budapest
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Matthew. Followed by a visit of the old city of Budapest. We will see the Citadel on Mount Gellert, the Royal Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, the Parliament, Heroes' Square, and the Church of St. Stephen. Dinner and overnight.
Day 17 : Budapest - USA
We depart from Budapest Airport for our return flights to the USA.
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