11 Days in Celebration of Pope John Paul II
DAY 1: USA / DEPARTURE. Today we gather at the airport three hours prior to departure to organize our group and check in. We depart the United States for our most memorable Pilgrimage to celebrate the 100th birthday of Pope John Paul II. Meal and snacks will be served aboard our trans-Atlantic flight.
DAY 2: ARRIVAL / WARSAW. Once we arrive in Warsaw at Chopin International Airport (WAW), we are greeted by our tour escort and transferred to the city center in a private coach. On the way to our hotel, we visit the burial site of Father Jerzy Popieluszko at St. Stanislaw Kostka’s Church. We celebrate our first Holy Mass here. We then check into our hotel for our welcoming first dinner and overnight.
DAY 3: WARSAW. This morning after breakfast, we begin our day with a guided tour of Warsaw. On our tour we will see the Lazenkowski Park with the Frederic Chopin monument, the Warsaw Ghetto & Umschlagplatz, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Palace of Culture and Science, Krakowskie Przedmiescie, the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Castle with entrance & St. John’s Cathedral. We will have free time for lunch on our own and to explore the area. In the evening, we will have dinner in our hotel before we retire to our rooms.
DAY 4: WARSAW – CZESTOCHOWA – KRAKOW. We enjoy a hearty breakfast at our hotel this morning before we transfer to Częstochowa. Upon arrival, we celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary. Afterwards we tour the Jasna Gora, one of the most important pilgrimage places in Poland. Here we view the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary – the Black Madonna. We will have free time for lunch on our own before we transfer to Kraków. Once we arrive in Kraków, we will check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5: KRAKOW – WIELICZKA. We begin our morning with breakfast at the hotel before we venture out for touring. Our sight-seeing today begins at the Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance & Baroque architectured Old Town, Stare Miasto. This is where we find the biggest medieval market square in Europe (Rynek Glowny). We will also see the Town Hall, Collegium Maius –an ancient building belonging to the Jagiellonian University, the Cloth Hall (Sukiennice), and St. Mary’s Church (Kosciol Mariacki) with the famous altar by Veit Stoss. We take a stroll to the antique walls of the Old Town with Florianska Gate and the Barbican. We will see the Archbishop’s Palace, where Karol Wojtyla lived as a cardinal and as Krakow’s Archbishop, then visit the Franciscan Church where he prayed (his favorite pew is found there). We also see where he studied, the Jagiellonian University. During our sight-seeing today, there will also be a multimedia presentation about the history of amber called “Polish Gold”. In 1978 Krakow was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. We have some free time for lunch on our own before transferring to Wieliczka. Once we arrive in Wieliczka, we will tour the Wieliczka Salt Mine – one of the oldest salt mines in the world. Here, we will celebrate Holy Mass in its underground chapel. After Mass, we will enjoy dinner combined with a folk music concert (subject to schedule) before we return to our hotel for overnight in Kraków.
DAY 6: LAGIEWNIKU – KALWARIA – WADOWICE. Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning before we depart for Lagiewniki – “the center of Divine Mercy,” as described by John Paul II. We first visit the Divine Mercy Sanctuary where we find the famous painting “Jesus, I trust in you.” We visit the recently built Sanctuary, White Seas, commemorating the Saint John Paul II. After the visit, we transfer to Wadowice, where John Paul II was born in 1920. Here, we will visit the Pope’s home and the church where he was baptized. We will celebrate Mass at the Pope’s parish. After mass, we have some free time for lunch on our own before transferring to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. While in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Sanctuary – the Bernadine Monastery. We return to Kraków for dinner and overnight.
DAY 7: KRAKOW – LEGNICA – PRAGUE. We will enjoy breakfast at our hotel this morning before we check out and transfer to Legnica. On our way, we will have lunch on our own. Once in Legnica, we will celebrate Holy Mass in the Sanktuary of Sainth Hyacinth Eucharistic Miracle. On the 25th of December, 2013, during the distribution of Holy Communion, a host fell on the floor. It was subsequently retrieved and placed in a water-filled vessel. After a while, a red discoloration appeared on the host. The bishop of Legnica at that time, Stefan Cichy, established a Commission and charged it with the task of monitoring the phenomenon. In February 2014, a red-colored fragment of the matter was isolated and placed on the corporal. We transfer to Prague, the capital of Czechia, to check into our next hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8: PRAGUE. After breakfast, we will begin the first part of our tour of Prague. This first part will take us to the religious sites of the city. We will see the Church of the House of Nazareth, Prague’s Loreto, St. Vitus’s Cathedral along the funeral chapel of St. Venceslao (the patron of Czech Republic), St. George’s Basilica, and the Church of Our Lady of victory. We may celebrate Mass in either the cathedral or in the Church of the Infant Jesus. After some free time for lunch on our own, we begin the second part of our tour through the city. On this part of the tour, we will see Bohemian Prague. We will begin with a walk along Paris Street to Jozefov, the former Jewish Quarter. On our way to visit the Charles’ Bridge, we walk along the Royal Route seeing Celetna Street, Na Prikope Street, and the Market Square with the Municipal House. There will be leisure time to spend in the city center before we return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9: PRAGUE – KUTNA HORA – SALZBURG. Today, we travel an hour East of Prague to a town by the name of Kutna Hora. The first site on our list to visit in this small town is the Sedlec Ossuary. This ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints and is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. Once done visiting the Sedlec Ossuary, we take a quick drive to visit the St. Barbara’s church. Here we have opportunity to admire one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe and learn the history of how the Church came to be. We celebrate Mass. Free time will be available afterwards for lunch on our own in one of Kutna Hora’s cozy restaurants. Restaurace Dačický is highly recommended for its authentic traditional old Bohemia Moravian meals including a delicious wild boar goulash with gingerbread dumplings. After lunch, we board our bus for our transfer to Salzburg. A panoramic tour of the picturesque town and some free time is available before we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10: SALZBURG – MUNICH. This morning, we enjoy breakfast at our hotel. We will then visit the old town as well as the Saint Peter’s Abbey. This abbey was established in 696 and may be the oldest convent in the northern part of the Alps. We take a moment to celebrate Mass before getting on the road to Munich. Once we arrive, there will be an opportunity to enjoy a Bavarian lunch on our own. After lunch, we have time to take a stroll to admire the Munich old town. We will see the Marienplatz (Town Hall) and the Frauenkirche Church (Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary), which is the site of the Teufelstritt – an intriguing curiosity! Leisure time continues until the evening, when we meet for our farewell dinner at a traditional Bavarian restaurant. After dining, we return to our hotel for overnight.
DAY 11: MUNICH – DEPARTURE – UNITED STATES. This morning we enjoy our final breakfast in Europe. We check out of our hotel and make our way to the airport for our departure flight home – the end of a most memorable Pilgrimage.