Poland & The Shrines of Italy
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.
Your trip includes
- Lunches, 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 - Lagiewniki (Shrine of Divine Mercy) - 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 - Rome
Following breakfast, we leave Krakow for our flights to Rome. Welcome to Rome, one of the most magnificent and interesting cities in the world, also known as the “Eternal City”! You will be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon our guide will introduce us to our fellow pilgrims and our priest who will be with us for the rest of the journey. We will make our way to Mass, followed by a welcome dinner with wine. This evening we will walk to St. Peter’s Square for Rosary (optional).
Day 10: Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Stairs - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with attending the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit the oldest of the four major Basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where the Pope is installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate’s palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ’s agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Day 11: Rome: St. Peter's basilica- Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter’s Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. It is here that you will view Michelangelo’s Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 12: Rome - Montecassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Montecassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Montecassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint St. Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in the restaurant, and overnight.
Day 13: San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angel
This morning, after breakfast we will visit the Old Church. After Mass we will tour the sanctuary, it is here you will view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, a shrine consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to the grotto, enjoy free time. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo view breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Upon arrival you will have time for devotion and reflection. Dinner and overnight. *Candlelight Procession – Between May and October attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and are guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
Day 14: San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, you we leave for Assisi. On the way we stop in Lanciano for private Mass at the Convent/Church of Saint Francis built on top of the antique Church of St. Longinus – the site of a Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the miracle, there was a Basilian monk, who struggled with the belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the words of consecration and the bread and wine transformed into physical flesh and blood. Leave for Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. Tradition holds that this is the house in which Mary first prayed the Magnificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived, before it was transported several times by angels, to its current location. End the day in Assisi, hometown of St. Francis and St. Clare, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Day 15: Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the “Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment.” Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and an inspiration to all by preferring to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint’s possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own – you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the “Porziuncola”, which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the “Capella del Transito”, which is the place of St. Francis’ death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 16: Assisi - Orvieto – Bolsena - Assisi
This morning, you will ride through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Orvieto. This incredible town sits on a volcanic high rock formation. Here we visit one of the most beautiful and most renowned Cathedrals in Italy. Because of its strategic location, it’s Christian history officially started in 1004, but Orvieto was built over preexisting Etruscan era cave tunnels dating back 2,500 years, which some historians believe Christians used to celebrate Mass when Christianity was forbidden. Next, we visit the nearby town of Bolsena and the Cathedral housing the corporeal of the Miracle of the Eucharist which took place in 1262. Here we celebrate Mass. Continue to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis and St. Clare. Upon arriving, check-in to your hotel. Dinner and overnight. Retire to your room for a restful night’s sleep. Return to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
Day 17: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.
*206 Tours Disclaimer:
Occasionally local religious and national holidays, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of events or the missing of certain events/places. Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of events and places to be visited.
Special Clergy Discount
A Clergy Discount is available to all members of “Clergy” within the Catholic Church. This includes Seminarians, Deacons, Brothers and Sisters, Priests, Monsignors, Bishops, Cardinals, and His Holiness.
About your trip
About Krakow & Saint John Paul II:
Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II) was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on May 18, 1920. He moved to Krakow with his father in 1938, where he attended Jagiellonian University and began studying for the priesthood. He was ordained as a priest on November 1, 1946 and went on to continue his studies in Rome until 1948. He returned to Poland that same year for his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowic, which lasted seven months. He then was transferred to the parish of St. Florian in Krakow, where he also spent time hiking in the mountains and canoeing with young people.
Rome has been one of history’s most powerful and important cities, along with home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter’s Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter. Contained within is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, glory and awesomeness of God.
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