11 Day St John Paul II and Rome



DAY 1:  DEPART NORTH AMERICA Today we depart for Warsaw with complimentary beverages and meals served aloft.

DAY 2:   ARRIVE WARSAW Upon arrival in Warsaw, we meet our tour escort who will accompany us throughout our pilgrimage.  We enjoy a panoramic tour of the city as we transfer to our hotel for check in.  Later we celebrate Mass at All Saint’s Church.  Dinner and the evening are at our hotel.

DAY 3: WARSAW / GDANSK This morning we depart Warsaw for Gdansk.  Upon arrival, we will celebrateMass at Oliva Cathedral and visit of one of Europe’s oldest and largest organs – its uniqueness is the moving parts on it.  Here we enjoy a short concert.  We continue to our hotel for dinner and the evening.

DAY 4: GDANSK:  VISIT OF THE CITY, EXCURSION TO SOPOT & GDYNIA We begin this morning with a tour of Gdansk.  We see the Green Gate, the Golden Gate, the Arsenal, the Gdansk Crane and celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. We also see Ulica Mariacka, regarded as the finest street in Gdansk. This afternoon, after lunch on our own, we enjoy an excursion to Sopot, driving through Gdynia.  In Sopot we see the pedestrian area and the pier.  We enjoy some time at leisure on the shores of the Baltic Sea.  We return to our hotel in Gdansk for dinner and the evening.

DAY 5: GDANSK / MALBORK / TORUN This morning, after breakfast, we travel to Malbrok, for a visit to one of Europe’s largest medieval castles.  This Gothic Castle is the biggest brick fortress in all the land and has been made a World Heritage Site.  Malbork was once the seat of power and a formal capital of the Teutonic Order.  We enjoy a guided visit of the castle.  Later, we continue on to Torun, the home town of Copernicus.  After lunch on our own, we have a guided tour of the city, including Old Town, Market Square, Town Hall, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, where we celebrate Mass, as well as the Palace of the Bishops of Kujawy, the crooked tower and the house of Copernicus.  Dinner is at our hotel.

DAY 6: TORUN / GOLOGOWIEC / CZESTOCHOWA Today we depart Torun for Gologowiec, the birthplace of St. Faustina.  The devotion to Jesus known as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.  We will have some time to pray a divine mercy chaplet here.  After lunch on our own, we continue on to Czestochowa, a city which has been for the last 600 years the principal centre of Catholic religion in Poland and is a shrine for pilgrims.  Upon arrival, we will transfer to the Jasna Gora Monastery to celebrate Mass at the Gothic Chapel of Our Lady in which hangs the famous Black Madonna icon on a magnificent silver-and-ebony altar. Dinner is at our hotel.

DAY 7: CZESTOCHOWA / AUSCHWITZ / KRAKOW Early this morning we may wish to view the unveiling of the Black Madonna, returning to the hotel for breakfast.   After breakfast, we visit the Jasna Gora Monastery which has religious, historic and artistic value.  We celebrate Mass at the Shrine.  After Mass, we enjoy a guided tour by a local Pauline Brother or Sister.  Next, we make our way Oswiecim, the Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz where we visit the cell of the martyred St. Maximiliam Kolbe.  We will view an audio visual presentation and tour the grounds, with a special prayer at the cell of the martyred St. Maximilian Kolbe, who voluntarily surrendered his life so that another prisoner might live.   We drive by Birkenau, site of the martyrdom of St. Edith Stein.  We arrive in Krakow for dinner and the evening.

DAY 8: KRAKOW: VISIT OF THE CITY This morning we celebrate Mass at Stanislaw na Skalce “on the Rock”, Poland’s 2nd most important pilgrimage site.  After Mass, we have a tour of Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland.  Krakow has been settled since the Stone Age. In 1038 the city became the capital, and Polish monarchs took up their residence in its Wawel Royal Castle. We start the day with walk along Kanonicza Street, pausing at building number 21”Deanery”, where Pope John Paul II resided while living in Krakow.  We visit the Market Square and the Mariacki Church.  After lunch on our own, we visitthe Gothic Royal Castle and Cathedral remodeled in the beginning of the 16th century according to the new Renaissance taste. After the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596, the importance of the town declined but Polish Kings were still crowned and buried here. Dinner and Folklore Show included tonight.

DAY 9: KRAKOW: VISIT TO LAGWIENIKI / WIELICZKA This morning, we travel to the Convent of Sisters of Mercy in Lagiewniki, where Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, lived and died.  We enjoy a visit of the Shrine, including the Basilica and the newly dedicated Shrine of International Spirituality.  Mass is celebrated at the Shrine.  We will have some time at leisure for personal meditation and prayer.  Then we drive to Wieliczka to see the oldest salt mine in Europe, a world-class tourist attraction. It is a unique place where many generations of Polish miners have created an underground world of underground salt lakes with a rich interior of decorated chapels including the famous Blessed Kings Chapel, plus other galleries and workings made of salt. Wieliczka salt mine is listed by UNESCO as an object of World Cultural Heritage.  Dinner and overnight.

DAY 10: KRAKOW / WADOWICE / KALWARIA / ZAKOPANE This morning we visit Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtla on May 18, 1920.  We visit the museum in his family house. We see as well the parish church where he was baptized.  We then continue to a place that was a popular pilgrimage site for Pope John Paul II when he was a young man: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, where in the beginning of the 17th century the Palatine of Krakow founded a Franciscan monastery. The church has very rich Baroque decorations. We celebrate Mass at the Shrine.  On the slope of the hill and in the valley is an architectural 'Way of the Cross' comprising 42 Mannerist and Baroque chapels and some small Calvary churches.  We continue on to Zakopane for dinner and the evening.

DAY 11: ZAKOPANE / LUDZMIERZ / KRAKOW The combination of beautiful landscape and quaint shopping areas make this a favorite getaway spot for all the Poles. This morning we make our way to Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Fatima, a chapel constructed in 1999 in gratitude for Pope John Paul II’s survival of an assassination attempt.  Herewe will celebrate Mass.  We continue our tour with a cable car ride to the heights of Mt. Kasporawy for a stunning view of the Tatras Mountains and the town of Zakopane.  We will also walk by Villa Atma, once the home of the famous Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. Continue to in Ludzmierz to visit the Sanctuary of Ludzmierz with its magnificent icon of the Virgin, the Queen of Podhale, best known in the south part of Poland. In 1963 during the crowning ceremony, as the feretory bearing the figure was being carried, the sceptre fell from its hands. It was caught in mid-air by then the Bishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, later to become the late Pope John Paul II. This Virgin Mary "Ludzimirska" is hand made out of natural products.

DAY 12: RETURN USA After breakfast we transfer to the Krakow airport for our return flight to the USA.