The Way. The Truth. The Life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Catholic Pilgrimages & Spiritual Journeys to the World’s Holiest Sites with 206 Tours.
Celebrating 35 Years of Pilgrimage Memories
In 1985, at just 27 years old Milanka Lachman founded 206 Tours after a life-changing Pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Milanka set out to build a company that would help others to experience the powerful and transformational experience that is Catholic Pilgrimage to the world’s Holiest Catholic sites. In 206 Tour’s first 35 years, we have served almost half a million Pilgrims.
On October 1, we celebrate our Anniversary – a celebration shared with the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who continues to be a strong source of guidance and inspiration for Milanka and the company. Our 35th Anniversary comes during a period of disaster unlike any the travel industry has ever seen. Since March, we have been unable to send Pilgrims to the Holy sites they so desire to visit. All the while, we have been sustained and uplifted by prayers from all those Pilgrims, priests, guides, and staff in our 206 Tours family. We know Who is in control, and we know pilgrimages will resume. While we may be physically distanced from the beautiful Cathedrals and Shrines we love to travel to, we are blessed to remain closely connected to our clients both through technology and in prayer.
To celebrate our anniversary this year, we asked our Pilgrims to share some of the favorite pilgrimage memories. We are elated to have received so many wonderful reflections and delighted to share them with you!
PILGRIMAGE MEMORIES FROM PILGRIMS & PRIESTS
Fr. Philip Tah:
Over the last two decades, I have participated and provided spiritual guidance to pilgrims on over 16 occasions. From Holy Sites of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Jordan, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy to the beautiful plains of Mexico, we have shared some of the most spiritually life-changing moments with a bunch of incredibly wonderful pilgrims around the world. We are one BIG family and 206 Tours is more than a business. At its core, it is a Vocation, a Service, and a Ministry with the most outstanding teams around the world. If you ever consider a pilgrimage in the future, look no further. 206 Tours is your place to start. Thank you Milanka and Congratulations to our 206 Tour family at 35. Love and Prayers!
Fr. Tim Farrell:
It was All Saints Day and my pilgrimage group was having Mass in Sacré Coeur Basilica in Paris, France. I was told by the sacristan that there were hosts only for my pilgrimage group and not to give Communion to anyone else. Our little side chapel was open to the faithful and when I came down to give communion to my people a crowd surged and so I thought, “Well, I will break up the hosts very small because these poor people are hungry for our Eucharistic Lord and I cannot deny them. I saw the faces of the elderly and the middle-aged and college-aged and teenagers and I gave each one a tiny piece of Our Lord. They were all so reverent. I came to my last tiny piece of Communion and looked up and there was just one man left. With the few hosts I was given, I was able to give communion to every person who desired to come forth, close to 100. The last man who received thanked me profusely in English. God always provides. When I finished two Paris policeman came up to me and started speaking to me in French and I thought I was in trouble but a young French woman translated that they were looking for the Rector and was I the Rector? I quickly replied that I was not and they smiled and walked on. I was so relieved! I was able miraculously to give communion that was meant for my 10 pilgrims to 100 people. God is amazing!
I have many favorite moments but this is probably the most moving…Mass in the Holy Sepulcher.
Msgr. Alfred C. Culmer:
The Bahamas Pilgrims have enjoyed every pilgrimage organized by 206 Tours. These pilgrimages has been highly organized, professional, enjoyable, prayerful and truly a wonderful opportunity to deep our faith. The Pilgrims from the Bahamas speak very highly of their experience with 206 Tours and look forward to the next opportunity to travel. As we have adopted as our model, it is not a trip but a journey of faith. We are grateful to the management and staff for your kindness, professionalism, outstanding organizational skills and for your guidance in organizing the pilgrimage. You and your families will always be in our prayers. The group favorite pilgrimage is the Holy Land but in near future we hope to do Rome and other parts of Italy. Blessings and peace.
My favorite memory is Father Calloway’s powerful sermon at Gethsemane. It made me cry and I won’t ever forget it.
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR:
May the Lord give you peace!
Among the great graces granted on pilgrimage is the grace of renewal. I will never forget our beautiful Holy Land pilgrimage with 206 Tours. Starting in Nazareth where the Word was made flesh we followed the life of Jesus as we traced his sacred steps while on earth.
Many of our pilgrims were celebrating significant marriage anniversaries. They had planned and saved for this special celebration. There were tears of joy during our ceremony of marriage renewal in Cana. There is no other location so special as they commemorated the presence of Jesus and Mary at a wedding, inviting them to be present once again in their spousal relationships. This was the perfect place for remembering and renewing sacred bonds of love.
The grace of renewal continued to flow as from a fountain. Much to my surprise, we had a chance to pray in the Upper Room where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and Priesthood during the Last Supper. We priests had the privilege of renewing our priestly commitments while praying in that sacred space! One priest was overheard telling another, “This is where we priests were born!”
Finally, we were enthralled as we listened to Dr. Scott Hahn explain the sacrament of Baptism while standing upon the bank of the Jordan River in the same area where St. John the Baptist baptized Jesus. All of us were able to renew our baptismal promises in a very profound moment of prayer and reflection. I gathered some water as a memento of this important sacrament and to add to the waters I would use in future baptisms back home.
The graces of renewal did not stop when our pilgrimage was concluded. As I continue to pray, worship and read the Bible I am constantly remembering those sacred places we visited. The fountain is still flowing!
We Love Poland!, Our Lord & Our Lady, & St. Joseph! & all the Saints of Poland! & we miss our 206 Tours Family!!! ???✝️
Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land in April/May of 2019 was life-changing. God bless you and continue to bless all you do for others??????We will be going back to the Holy Land with you as soon as you begin the trips and also Medjugorje ????????Happy, Blessed Anniversary!
Fr. Robert Hughes:
Milanka, I cannot say enough about the Pilgrimages that I have made with 206Tours…to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal…and my favorite to the Holy Land. I have made the Holy Land Pilgrimage so many times, I can calm pilgrims looking for a bathroom because I know where everyone is located along our pilgrimage routes. From the serenity of the Sea of Galilee to the hustle and bustle of the Jerusalem bazaar…my faith is deepened with each and every visit and I am filled with joy when I look into the eyes of a first-time pilgrim and see again how amazing God is! What He has done for us in Jesus is beyond words…but it can be so easily felt and experienced in the Holy Land. I can’t wait for the Holy Land in 2022 – may God bless Milanka and the staff of 206 at home and abroad on this 35th Anniversary!
I have special memories from the pilgrimages that I’ve been blessed to organize…I never knew how much I wanted to organize pilgrimages until I began working on my first – to Lourdes and Fatima – in 2016. I was planning “next year’s journey” before I made it home! This photo is from the 2018 journey to several Holy shrines in France. It was my last pilgrimage to Lourdes with my Mom (she passed away on March 5 of this year). Lourdes is my favorite place on earth and I look forward to returning soon.
My mom was a great supporter of my pilgrimage-organizing effort…she was a pilgrim on most pilgrimages, including 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. She set such a wonderful example of faith. She had my rosary assembly and helped me put together packages for the pilgrims on our journeys and was always encouraging me to “go for it.”
I loved seeing her awe of the sites we visited. Last October, we were in San Giovanni Rotondo and she said she couldn’t “explain it,” but she was at peace and knew everything was going to be alright. Padre Pio was Mom’s favorite saint. Together, we visited our favorite saints…thanks to 206 Tours.
Jeanette Coppola Nichols:
I would have to say that it was the Camino del Santiago, because it was the first. With that most wonderful trip, you gained two fervent fans.
Fr Jeff Woolnough:
So Blessed and indeed privileged to be invited as a 206 tours SD priest in 2013 January Holy Land with The Hahn’s- Yellow Bus rocks? Made life-long friendships since then via Facebook and a couple of years later leading a Pilgrimage to Poland.
Love you guys??? And thank you for making the pilgrimages truly Catholic, universal experiences. To Milanka and the team- Many Congratulations – ride the current storm – St Michael the Archangel is on your side! Love, your U.K. Priest-friend, Fr. Jeff Woolnough
Father Charlie Samson:
Last year just after Christmas, I led a group of transitional deacons from our archdiocesan seminary (Kenrick-Glennon, St. Louis MO) on a three-week’s long Holy Land tour, which I taught as a graduate course in biblical archaeology. 206tours handled all of our arrangements, and archaeological audibles (!), wonderfully. One day, I brought the men to Nazareth to study and pray over the Incarnation with the Holy Family, and we spoke at length about St. Joseph, to whom the seminarians have a strong devotion as a good, meek, strong, and pious father—which our men in formation for the priesthood already strive to be, and hope to be as future priests. After the touring and Mass, we traveled to Sepphoris/Tsipori, to visit the ruins of the economic-capital city near to Nazareth where Joseph and Jesus would sell their handiwork as carpenters (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). While walking down the main road (the Roman Cardo), one of the deacons, who is himself a carpenter/handyman, stopped and reflected out-loud: “Fr. Samson! This is where the child Jesus walked with his dad when his dad took him to work, to show his son where he worked and sold his goods. This reminds me of whenever I’d go visit, as a child, my own dad at his work. I remember walking around just plain BEAMING with pride at my dad, who was the BEST at what he did! To everyone I encountered, I pointed out my father and said: ‘That’s my dad, he’s the best carpenter ever!’ And then suddenly I realized–what if the child Jesus did the same thing, right here?! Walking down this road with one hand in Joseph’s hand, smiling broadly for all to see, Jesus was so proud of his dad, so happy to be his son. Wow–I have never identified like this with little Jesus, to whom I will be confirmed as a priest. I feel him near in a new and endearing way: a son proud of his father. I pray to St. Joseph to show me how to work well as a priest, to be able to be proud of the work of my hands in the souls of those whom I will serve.” I was stunned by this reflection, which moved a few of the men in the group to tears…and which helped me identify with Jesus in a way that I had never done before–thanks to St. Joseph, thanks to this archaeological/historical place, and thanks to 206 Tours!!
Socorro Bernard: Photos from a Pilgrimage to Medjugorje – It’s really hard to choose! I have so much more!
We were blessed to go on our very first pilgrimage to Medjugorje over Divine Mercy weekend with Wayne Weible in 2011. That was the first of three consecutive pilgrimages to Medjugorje. Without question, my husband, Chuck and I were abundantly blessed in so many ways – deeper prayer – Adoration – Slavenka – fellow pilgrims – and God’s incredible peace. So blessed to go on pilgrimage with my husband, mother, and aunt to the Holy Land! Chuck and I loved our Camino together – so powerful! And then we found Saint James in the salt mines of Krakow on our pilgrimage to Poland! Back to the We even went back to the Camino again with old friends!
I will not forget how special my birthday was on October 1st celebrating in LOURDES, France on pilgrimage with Alessandro (“f a m i l y”)! HAPPY 35th to all in Hauppauge who share a passion in Faith & Hospitality
Fr. Eric Bowman:
Having the amazing privilege of working with so many amazing tour guides, like Fede, Mary & Ivan.
Daisy Sanares & Precy Dela Rosa:
El Camino, the Way of St. James October 2019 – from beginning to end! Happy 35th Anniversary 206 Tours! We are thankful for every step of the way! P.s. Thanks Javier! ?
I have (so far) only been on one 206 pilgrimage: to the Holy Land in 2019. I live it every day. It weaves in and out of my day adding colour, comfort, and consolation. The memories of that week are very special and greatly treasured. Thank you 206.
Memories from September 25, 2019: What an extraordinary day for Marlene and me! We took a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee! I’m still in awe that we had this experience! We had the opportunity to visit a museum that houses the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus.
We then visited the Church of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount. The grounds are breathtaking! Next we visited the site in Tabgha where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 from five loaves and two fish. Marlene and I had a chance to touch the water in the Sea of Galilee. We celebrated Mass outside, under a canopy of trees with the Sea of Galilee in the background, and with birds singing. Words cannot describe how moving this was.
We stopped in Capernum and saw the remains of the Synagogue where Jesus taught. We also saw the ruins of St. Peter’s Mother-in-law’s house. A beautiful church has been built over these ruins.
Our last stop was to Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene. In 2009, excavators discovered the ruins of The First Century Synagogue. Some of the mosaics are still intact, and a coin minted in 29 CE was found inside, too. A church was built in 2014, using stones found while excavating. It is breathtaking! The altar is in the shape of a boat. Plans are underway to build pilgrimage guest houses here, too.
There has been so much biblical and spiritual experiences today that have left us teary-eyed and humbled
Rebecca Martin: Visionem Dei Photography
A few favorite memories from our Pilgrimage to France.
Fr. Jason Brilhante:
Happy 35 Anniversary 206 Tours! Traveling with 206 Tours is an amazing experience! My first pilgrimage was to Portugal, Spain, and France in 2015. My experience was a prayerful, joyful, rejuvenating one. Every segment of the pilgrimage was well thought out. We stopped at all the major pilgrim sites with a guided tour, so we missed nothing that was very important. We participated in the candlelight procession and had fellow pilgrims lead public prayers with thousands of visiting pilgrims from all over the world. That was exciting! Mass was scheduled every day at shrines and holy places and private prayer time was given for personal prayer. Prayer is what bonded the pilgrims. We met as strangers the first day but by day three, we bonded like a family because of the unique experience we shared. Mass daily and group prayer enhanced the pilgrimage. It was a joyful pilgrimage given the friendly pilgrims and professional tour guides, bus drivers, and especially the tour escort. Everyone we met was hospitable and welcoming. Personally, the pilgrimage rejuvenated me. At that time, I was assigned to a community hospital providing 24 hours of priest coverage 5 days a week. Hospital ministry is spiritually rewarding and physically exhausting! Being in the same place where our Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima and Lourdes revitalized my strength when I returned to my ministry as hospital chaplin. I’m wholeheartedly thankful for the dedication of 206 Tours’ staff for planning and carrying out a prayerful, joyful, and rejuvenating pilgrimage. Congratulations on your 35 anniversary and may the world return to pilgrimaging soon! God bless you!
The best Pilgrimage Tour company I have gone 6x… safe and worry-free. The best pilgrimage I had was Medjugorje and the Risen Christ and the Feast of Padre Pio, where we were blessed and prayed over with his own used gloves. Blessed to have seen his uncorrupted body – JMJ Bless You All ?
I went to Guadalupe Basílica in March 2020 and it was one of my most memorable Pilgrimages ever. Fr Calloway, tour guide Roberto and Francesca made it very special.
Penny Abbruzzese has been on 103 Pilgrimages with 206 Tours! Read more about her experiences here.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who sent memories and have helped us celebrate this milestone achievement. Please know, as always, you are all in our prayers! You are our family, and we miss you, yet know we will be together again soon. When the time comes, we will be here for you – we’re not going anywhere! Until then, stay safe & stay Pilgrims! God Bless!
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“To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself” – Pope Benedict XVI
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