What Our Clients Say About 206 Tours... 2009
|mon - fri
9am - 5pm EST
From: patti henson
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 8:45 AM
Subject: Pilgrimage from OH
I know it's been a few months since I returned from Lourdes, but I will take this opportunity to tell you what a truly wonderful trip through your agency that I experienced. It was my first trip overseas and I was anxious, but EVERYTHING was lovely. The airline, lodging, food, and of course Lourdes itself will always be in my mind and heart.
Thank you so much for helping make my trip a remarkable memory.
Have a beautiful, blessed Christmas.
From: ellie porlares
Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 8:06 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land - November
Hello, 206Tours has meet beyond our expectations and you really defined well and fulfilled your mission!
Its been a week were home after that pilgrimage of a lifetime and its still in my mind. We were so Blessed with a perfect weather(60-70F),wonderful humble group, (we bonded easily), very smart T Guide (Jack H.) I had a lot of inquiries and he answers them all, Makhmoud our driver was excellent, very good accommodations from Nazareth to Jerusalem not to mention healthy food (enjoyed them all).
From our arrival at Tel Aviv till our departure- since we were separated from the rest of the group you took care of everything which eased our anxities as first timers in Israel I call it The Land of Emotions.
Many thanks to you 206 TOURS. May you'll be Blessed more so you can continue your Mission, taking care of Pilgrims.
May you and your families have the Merriest Christmas and the most Bountiful New Year.
November 20, 2009
Dear Mrs. Lachman,
First, I would like to bring to your attention the outstanding work of one of 206 Tours employees, Gaia Meuti. Gaia was our guide last month for a religious pilgrimage to Italy with our group from Walpole, Massachusetts. Gaia was perfect in every way. She was extremely knowledgeable, accessible, patient and helpful but as importantly, or perhaps even more so, Gaia was kind, friendly, fun and a joy to be around. Gaia was a very large factor in why we had such a wonderful experience. By the end of the trip we considered her a member of our group and a friend. What better compliment is there than this? Gaia has been invited to come and visit several of us in the U.S. and we certainly hope she will. I cannot say enough good things about her. 206 Tours is very fortunate to have such an amazing employee.
I also would like to bring to your attention the work of our bus driver, Luciano (I apologize I do not have his last name). Luciano, like Gaia, was exceptional and a wonderful addition to our group. He was an extraordinary driver, he was always helpful and attentive and he, too, was fun and a joy to be around. We had an individual in our group in a wheelchair and Luciano did everything imaginable to assist us with getting the person on and off the bus. He was just terrific. Luciano and Gaia also work extremely well together which is certainly to the benefit of everyone who travels with them.
Second, as you can see I have enclosed some of the items from our trip which are reusable. We are avid recyclers and hope that you can put these to use again. If you do not already have a practice regarding reusing/recycling items like lanyards, I would like to ask that 206 Tours consider encouraging its customers to return such items for reuse. While in Italy, we were each given several sets of earphones by the independent tour guides. Again, if there is any way to encourage travelers to reuse the first set of earphones for the duration of the trip, this would also cut down on waste. We are going to have a pilgrimage group reunion shortly and if you are interested I can round up more lanyards, ect. and send them to you. I do not want to be a pest, but this type of responsible behavior has immeasurable benefits for the environment, the company and ultimately all of us.
Kathleen P. Stubbing
From: Gina Faustin
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 10:33 AM
Subject: Holy Land Tour
Happy Thanksgiving to the whole staff of 206 Tours!
We had such a great time in Israel. Everything went well & the weather was wonderful. The choice of hotels was very good, the food was delicious and plentiful, I think we all gained something. The visits were well coordinated and our spiritual advisor " Father Charles" was a God-sent. Our guide George is simply superb, extremely knowledgeable, very patient and has a good sense of humor. We always felt safe and welcomed every place we visited. This was my third visit to the Holy Land and a very memorable one.
From: Brenda Reyes
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 11:01 AM
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: .....Tour 111, Holy Land, November 16 - 25, 2009
Dear Milanka, Rinda, Kristin, Stefanie and Cara,
With the help of our Lord Jesus and our Blessed Mother Mary, plus all the prayers from you and from family and friends, I was able to join the pilgrimage and stayed well throughout the trip. I am reminded of the Frank Sinatra song, "The Second Time Around", since I did the same 206 tour in November of 2008. It's a very special blessing to be able to revisit God's country. The second time around is "lovelier", " just as wonderful".......... It was another great and memorable spiritual experience!
I am again deeply touched by visiting all the places connected with Jesus and our Blessed Mother. It was an honor and privilege to do the reading at the Basilica of the Anunciation in Nazareth, where I did it also the year before. Since my husband Fred came with me for the first time, we had a marriage blessing at Cana, along with our friends, Art and Mely Lim. The daily Masses, whether it was done inside the Church, outside in a courtyard, or even in a hotel meeting room, were always so inspiring. It was great that Jack was able to get the 6 AM Mass for our group only at the Tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The experience of participating in carrying the Cross at the Via Dolorosa is unforgettable.
Fr. John is a gem! He is spiritual, humble, caring, helpful and friendly. Everybody loves him! His homilies were very inspiring. The day before we left for the United States, we had the usual Mass for the 24th, and we had another special Mass at 6 PM that day, plus the blessing of all our religious items. That was also when we received the gifts from 206 tours (beautiful cross-shaped pendant with the loaves and fishes plus the signed certificate of our visit to the Holy Land). Afterwards, we stayed in the same meeting room for a while, to view the copy of the Shroud of Turin, which belongs to co-pilgrim Joseph, who had it blessed at the Chapel of the Crucifixion at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Thank you, Joseph for sharing this with us.
Our tour guide, Jack is very knowledgeable, caring, passionate and sincere. He always asked Father John to do a short reading or a short prayer at most of the religious places we visited. One day, Jack had to take care of funeral arrangement for a beloved cousin, and we had a substitute guide named Hannah, and he did a great job. Despite the deep grief felt by Jack, he continued to do excellent work.
Mahmoud was an excellent driver. He always had a smile and a helping hand.
It's definitely great to travel with good friends. Meeting other people and making friends with them is the icing on the cake.
Ours was a very special group of pilgrims! Thanks to all my co-pilgrims for their love, kindness and generosity. May our paths meet again in the future!
The accommodations and food (breakfasts and dinners) at the hotel were also great. Every day, I enjoyed the tuna salad, the baked eggplant, the fresh pear and other fruits and the delicious desserts. For lunch, we had the St. Peter's fish once, falafel or chicken with salad and drink once, different foods at 2 kibbutz restaurants, and local dishes twice just outside Bethlehem.
Thanks to all of you for all the regular and special arrangements for this very special pilgrimage! The 206 tote bag is great, especially with the outside pockets. Thank God, we did not need the poncho you sent us. The Lufthansa flights between Washington Dulles, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv were OK. Coming in from Frankfurt, there was a long line (airline transfers) for customs, but everything ended up well, and we were all able to get on our plane for Charleston.
It was another blessed pilgrimage for me, and I thank you for it. I feel that if a person can take only one pilgrimage in a lifetime, the Holy Land should be their choice. I will definitely share my beautiful experiences with my family and friends. Although many of them are not able yet to join in the pilgrimages, they already know that a Catholic pilgrimage with 206 tours is the way to go.
You are all part of a most wonderful ministry, and may God continue to bless you and your company.
Love, joy and peace,
From: Andrea Thibodeaux
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 2:18 PM
To: Stefanie Meyer
Subject: Cyber Monday Special
I just wanted to say thank you to all of you. Our Honeymoon trip to Medjugorje was awesome. John and I had a wonderful time. We enjoyed Sister Isabel, Slavinca, and our host family especially Natasha.
Thank you again for all of the wonderful things you guys did to make our trip so special.
From: Mr. Gamboa
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 03:08:56 -0500
Subject: Medjugorje - Nov. 5-13
Thank you for a making the pilgrimage happen on such short notice.
Slavenka was an excellent guide and we had a large but very good group of pilgrims.
Please reserve two spots for the May 2010 pilgrimage.
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:41 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land - November
My pilgrimage to the HolyLand went on very smoothly thanks to the well planned arrangements by 206 tours. We had a very knowlegeable catholic tour guide and a very competent bus driver.My spiritual pilgrimage has strengthen my faith and spititual cinvections . l love the early morning Mass at the church of the Holy Sepulcher at the tomb of Jesus. l felt very blessed to be able to attend this Mass. Also we were privileged to have our spiritual director Fr. John with us giving us the opportunity to attend daily masses in different churches and giving confessions.
My experience with 206 tours had been excellent.
From: Mary and Paul
Sent: Nov 27, 2009 2:51 PM
Subject: The Holy Land - November
Our lives have been enriched by the wonderful experience of visiting the Holy Land of Israel. This is our second pilgrimage with 206Tours (Italy in 2007) and we will not use any other Catholic Tour groups for our future pilgrimages. 206Tours does a magnificent job of providing a deep spiritual journey with an educational perspective and a "see the country" experience. It was truly a blessed trip for us and the Bible came alive as never before.
We especially want to give praise to our Catholic tour guide, Nabil, who was energetic, informative and deeply spiritual. He carried and read from the Bible throughout the trip and brought together the history of each site in relation to our Christian heritage. Nabil kept our group moving and got us in front of crowds on several occassions. We especially appreciated getting out early for the Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He did a great job.
Our driver Raouf also was very professional and friendly. He did an excellent job getting in and out of all the tight places and was always there to greet us.
We feel especially blessed to have had the spiritual guidance of Fr. Charles Puthota. We can say enough good words in praise of our pilgrimage. Keep up the good work and we will pray for you, and recommend you, of course, to everyone considering a pilgrimage.
Mary & Paul
Nov 9-17, 2009
From: steve kaiser
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2009 06:22:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tour 37 2009
Dear 206 Tours,
We would like to thank you for your professionalism in setting up this tour package
for us. The tour guide, Jesus Garcia, did a superb job with the knowledge of the country
in communicating with the people to accomodate us even when things did not go right.
He quickly straightened things out for us. Also his religious training greatly helped us in our pilgrimage. We highly recommend him for his professionalism as a tour guide. He has a very good personality that made us all comfortable.
Thank you very much,
Steve & Vicky Kaiser
From: Lorraine Murphy
Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2009 12:05 PM
Subject: Lorraine Murphy's feedback...
My trip to the Holy Land was a beautiful experience and one that I will never ever forget. The accommodations, tour guides, bus rides - all were absolutely wonderful. I have recommended your tour to several friends because I feel certain they will be more than pleased.
Thank you for an everlasting trip!
From: Mark Princisvalle
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 12:04 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land - October/November
This was my first time to the Holy Land & I would like to thank 206 Tours for making it a life transforming experience. Prior to this, the places of the Bible were just arbitrary names, but (thanks to my pilgrimage experience) after having encountered them, for me, the Bible (the Rosary, Angelus) has come alive. I'll never look at Scripture the same way again!
Our spiritual advisor, Monsignor Kenneth Steffen, was brilliant in his organization and preparation in leading us every step of the way. He is a very holy priest whose love for Christ & souls is evident in his charity & zeal. We were also extremely fortunate to have Fares Saba (an Israeli Christian from Nazareth) as our guide. Fares is extremely knowledgeable & gifted at what he does and didn’t miss a beat in explaining A to Z about all the holy sites.
Great job 206 for organizing a great pilgrimage & co-ordinating a brilliant team!
From: Catherine Dollahite
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 2:02 PM
To: 'Billy Ryan'
Subject: Graceful Living Ministries Pilgrimage to Medjugorje
I want to thank you for all your support! Our pilgrimage to Medjugorje was absolutely wonderful. Every detail worked out smoothly. We all were blessed every step of our journey! I appreciate all that you set up for us and for handling all our questions and concerns with grace and ease.
Thank you so much. If the Blessed Mother calls me back to Medjugorje, I will contact you!
Holiday Blessings to you and your family.
Graceful Living Ministries
Rev. Catherine Dollahite
From: nick grasberger
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 3:26 PM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: Medjugorje - November
Our pilgrimage was very good, except for the weather which rained quite often. Our guide was Slavena, and she is above excellent!! She even interpreted at several talks by Ivanka and Fr. Danko.
Medjugorje gets in our blood, and this was our 4th trip. God willing, it will not be our last. There is simply no place on earth like Medjugorje, with its peace, serenity, lack of contact with the outside world, and the services at St. James with hauntingly beautiful music.
Thank you for arranging this most memorable pilgrimage !!
From: Barbara Muzzarelli [
Sent: Monday, November 16, 2009 3:59 PM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land - October
The accommodations were 4+
Meals great and more than enough
Ferris (our guide) was knowledgeable, courteous and patient
Mons. Steffen provided for our spiritual needs
Con: needed 3 plane changes both ways very strenuous on a 70 y/o esp. running to get next flight. Please, 1:30 min not enough time esp if plane late and had to go from domestic to international terminals and customs
Other than that very pleased with experience.
Barbara Muzzarelli, RN, CIC
From: Carl Pottorff
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 2009 13:35:42 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Our Pilgrimage
I just wanted to write a quick note to tell you how wonderful our pilgrimage was! It was spiritually everything I had hoped and prayed it would be. Our guides (Anne and Slavenka) were wonderful. Father Joseph was very kind, prayerful and his spiritual leadership was a huge help to me. I believe that since our group was so small that it truly made the journey even better.
I do plan on returning and I definitely will go with 206 tours again!
Thank you so much and please know that I came back spiritually recharged and ready to face every life.
Sent: November, 2009
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land
This was my first trip to the Holy Land and also my first pilgrimage. It really was a life-changing experience! I am especially blessed to have had Fares Saba as the tour guide. It was wonderful to learn from an Arab Catholic who was actually from Nazareth. He gave me insight into what it is like to be one of the few Christians in the Holy Land, and was very knowledgeable about every person/place we visited. He even went out of his way to arrange a visit with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. After listening to Fares and meeting other Catholics in the country, I now feel a strong solidarity with my fellow Christian brothers thousands of miles away. The Catholic Church truly is universal.
I also want to thank Msgr Steffen for leading our group. He celebrated beautiful daily Masses, prayed the Angelus and Rosary with us each day, and explained the biblical passages related to each site we visited. Without him, it wouldn't have been a real pilgrimage so thanks be to God for giving us a wonderful priest!
This pilgrimage reinforced my faith and was a blessing in every way. Thank you 206 Tours!!
From: Rosedita Parlanan
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:14 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Holy Land - November
Thank you. We arrive safely Nov. 10 in Boston. The Pilgrimage was excellent, this is my first time and I'm looking forward for future pilgrimage with friends, and I will higly recommend this to them 206 tours. the hotels where we stayed are excellent ( all hotels) the tour guide Fares Saba, he's excellent, very talented with good connections, hope you'll always take him as a tour guide, also the driver Ravea is also excellent so with Msgr. Steffan is also excellent. Again, thank you, hope you'll continue and keep up the good work. Regards.
From: The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 4:55 PM
To: Kristin Shea
Subject: Thank you!!
Dear Kristin (and all at 206 Tours),
Thank you for helping us to have such a blessed pilgrimage to Rome, San Giovanni and Medjugorje. We are so grateful to our Lord for all of the blessings and graces that He showered us with in each of these places. We were so surprised and EXCITED to receive the canonization tickets. On our way over to Rome we met so many people going to the canonizations and many thought that we were going for St. Damian because we had the Two Hearts patch on our habits. They thought that we were from his congregation. So to arrive at the hotel (which was lovely, by the way) and have 8 tickets waiting for us was a SUPER gift. (How sneaky of you!!!) What a gift it is to be a part of the church and to be able to visit such holy places! Thank you once again for all that you did to make it happen. Thanks also for the Magnificats and the ponchos. Both came in quite handy. ;)
May the Two Hearts continue to bless and guide your ministry!
Sister Teresa (on behalf of all of the members)
Sister Teresa of the Two Hearts, osihjm
The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary
48765 Annapolis Road
Hopedale, OH 43976
Dear Milanka M. Lachman,
Please accept my apologies for writing this letter so long after the Pilgrimage. Having computer problems and not the means to repair them. I’ve decided to personally write you the old fashion way…pen and paper.
This letter is in praise of the hard work our guide Xavier, did for Lorraine Echeveria’s Lourdes Pilgrimage in late July this year. Our needs were many and varied and he worked long hours answering them.
Xavier(sp?) was always professional and had a kindly smile in greeting us. It was apparent he lived and believed his Faith as we all try.
This was my 9th Pilgrimage to Lourdes. You could say I’ve made a “Nouvena” in Pilgrimages. Xavier was in my opinion our best guide and he had the most number of participants in his case. Xavier not only guided us through St. Berreditte’s footsteps but also shared his Faith always participating never only in our daily Masses and sharing his life’s Miracles as well as listening to ours.
There were many children in our groups to which he was so attuned. One day after noticing the children’s interest taken passing stores mean the Grotto he purchased personal souvenirs for them like a little pet(porcelain) on a small pillow. What smiles of surprise and delight he brought on their faces!
Xavier always answered our questions in understandable English. If he didn’t know the answer he always returned to us with the correct information when he traced it down.
As you can tell he has my highest respect because he shared and lived his Faith. I wish I could have had more time with him as our guide. IT was very difficult to say “ good bye” at the airport. He sensed my sadness and assured me “our paths would cross again in God’s plan.” Xavier chose the right words to soften the ache in my heart at parting that day.
Soon, we’re having a reunion with this year’s Pilgrimage group. I know there are many among us who may not write you but share my opinion of the wonderful work Xavier did to make this such a Blessing in our lives.
Respectfully and thank you for all your company has done in making
Joanna E. Norman
From: Rosalie from Fairbanks, Alaska
Sent: Wednesday, October 07, 2009 11:33 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: Fatima, Spain and Lourdes - September / October
Thank you for the trip. Mostly everything went as scheduled except for suitcase-related difficulty. I especially thank you for the birthday cake shaped like a mountain (Mount McKinley) and made of light chocolate and strawberry ice cream. It was delicious. The special cake served at the end of the trip was tasty, too.
Jesus, the Spanish guide, was courteous and excellent. Fr. Robert was very pleasant and nice. The other pilgrims were, likewise, wonderful…. meshed very well. We looked out for one another.
Of course, the places we visited were wonderful. I had strong connections with St. Teresa of Avila. Loyola, and Lourdes. The trip took me back in memory and, hopefully, forward in spirituality. I have both strong hearing limitations and increasing walking difficulties, so I did have trouble hearing everything that was spoken and did mind some of the hills we had to climb and the pace we, sometimes, went at. The climbs, steps, and pace were, however, less hectic than in Jerusalem.
Lufthansa is an excellent airline. United is not particularly good, but it got us there.
From: Theresa Weber
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2009 9:43 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: Italy & Medjugorje - September
The trip was awesome. What made it really special was the people that we toured with. In Rome, we also had Rev Msgr John Sabia. He was such a blessing to have with us, and we really learned so much from him. In Medjugorje, we also had a wonderful tour guide, and our host family was great. They really made us feel at home, and served some delicious American style meals, which I really appreciated.
I think what we were missing was not having our own priest with us in Medjugorje. There were several groups that did have priests, and with Fr Sabia with us in Rome, we were hoping we would have one with us in Medjugorje. I will always appreciate what you and your tour group did for us b/c we could not have done it on our own.
From: Charles Machado
Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 5:19 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: Feedback Portugal, Spain, France & Italy (48 Sep 2009)
My wife and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your entire team for the dedicated service that you give your clients. It was really a wonderful and spiritual experience that we had during our pilgrimage and I will surely recommend 206 to everyone of my friends because it is a once in a lifetime trip that we make and 206 did not leave out anything from it. The visits to the various shrines, the Masses in chapels and Churches specially selected, was something that we would only dream of, the excellent schedules as well as the wonderful tour guides that 206 provided us with, made our pilgrimage an experience out of this world. I would say that we were truly blessed to experience all that we did.
Fr. Franco and Msgr. John were excellent Spiritual Directors who made sure that all our spiritual needs were met, their Masses, homilies and rosaries as well as general information that they gave us regarding all the sites we visited was invaluable and we took with us a treasure trove of information and spiritual experience from them as well as from the unique sites that 206 specially selected for us.
I would also like to comment on the excellent hotels that 206 made arrangements for us to stay in. Every one of them was par excellance and all of them provided us with all the amenities and services that we would expect and there were no complaints at all, thanks to 206 Tours. What was also amazing was that during our last leg of the pilgrimage, our group was down to only 6 of us but 206 kept their commitments and went ahead with all their plans, at a loss to them, I am sure, but with high regards to their clients. The arrangement made for my wife and me from Assisi to Rome and the private transport from Rome station to the airport too will never be forgotten and all my wife and I can say is MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR TEAM FOR THE WONDERFUL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE YOU GAVE US AND MAY HE ALWAYS KEEP YOU ALL IN HIS LOVING CARE.
Thank you once again and whenever the opportunity arises again, be rest assured that we will always use 206 Tours for our pilgrimages.
Kuwait City - Kuwait
From: Fr Ray Orama
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 11:42 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: Medjugorje Pilgrimage – September 10, 2009
The trip went well; I was there last in November of 1998 and going back was an obligation since I have promised to the Blessed Mother that if she got me ordained I would go back. My vocation and priesthood as many others is a result of a visit to Medjugorje. I had to go back to give thanks to Mary. This trip was also my yearly retreat and although the place has changed quite a bit, it is still a placed where one finds peace and time to meditate. I am looking forward to be able to go back hopefully next year.
Thanks for all the help in making this trip possible.
From: Terry Hicks
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 9:39 AM
Subject: All Italian Shrines - September
The trip was more than I could have ever imagined!! We had Mass in places that are so sacred. I know that only a few pilgrims are blessed to have Mass in these places. Mass at St Peter's basilica near the tombs of the popes, St Michael's cave, St Francis' tomb, Chapel behind the eucharistic miracle at Lanciano, St Mark's cathedral just to name a few. I know that Vincenzo, our guide, is extremely good and made many of these arrangements. He always made sure we knew when and where to be. Anytime we asked for anything, he did his best to provide, usually successfully. He is very patient and has a great sense of humor. If we only learned one word in italian it was "Andiamo" let's go! Father John Struzzo was a huge blessing. His insight and guidance helped us each step of our journey. He helped us understand and grow in our faith and become closer to God in the process. 206 tours made taking a pilgrimage so easy. This is my first pilgrimage and I didn't know what to expect. The arrangements were perfect, the hotels amazing and the entire experience lifechanging. I hope to make another pilgrimage in the future and when I do, I'll definitely arrange it with 206 tours. Thank you.
As someone said to me in Assissi,
Go With God Today,
From: Fr. Joe Mundakal
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:05 AM
Dear Milanka, Linda,
Thank you very much for your quick and encouraging reply. I know when we go with 206 Tours, it is easy and enjoyable, as I always have experienced, that is reason I come to 206 Tours!
God Bless you all for your wonderful ministry!
Sincerely in our Lord,
From: Fr. Anthony Lopez
Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 8:14 PM
To: Milanka Lachman
Subject: Lisbon, Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, and Italy – August 09
I am still reveling for the blessed experience of a "dream come true"!! What an experience! It was unforgettable and truly a blessing from God!!
No doubt, from some of the feedback you've gotten, I can only say that our Tour Guide in Spain, Jesus Garcia, was absolutely marvelous. Please relay our thanks to him for all he did for us. All in all, 206 tours was incredible.
For me, the best part was being able to say Mass at all the beautiful, holy places!!
Thank you so much for the great communication. Rinda and all your staff were wonderful! I hope to someday again have the opportunity to serve with your company again.
May God Bless you all with every good grace!
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Lopez
From: Grisel Choter
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2009 9:29 AM
Subject: Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, and Italy-August
This was my first pilgrimage and for the most part exceeded my expectations. I had the most wonderful, awe inspiring time in Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, and Italy. I loved the fact that we landed up being a small group. This made it more intimate and gave us the opportunity to get to know one another. I do have to say if it was not for our "Fearless Leader" Jesus Vivas Garcia; it would not have been so. He was an extremely knowledgeable, friendly, attentive, patient, and caring tour leader who was just one of the pilgrims on this tour. He was with us every step of the way and participated in every aspect of the tour. There are not enough words to say what a lovely, spiritual human being he is. And I must not forgot our bus driver Juan who was able to beautifully manipulate those treacherous winding roads with great skill and ease.
I cannot say the same for the Italy portion of the tour. When we flew into Italy we had to search for our tour leader and after left pretty much to our own devices. The first two evenings he just dropped off our group at a restaurant a number of blocks away to cater to a friend of his that was in town. Many of our tour group were elderly, walked with canes and had a great deal of difficulty making it to the restaurant. Also a few members of our group had special needs for meals and our tour leader did not bother to make arrangements for their meals. He had to be told to do so. Thank heavens for Fr. Anthony Lopez, our spiritual leader, who took charge of the situation and also made the tour guide participate with the group.
All the all, the pilgrimage was a wonderful experience and I would definitely recommend it. I do plan on going on another pilgrimage in the future and it will be with 206.
I do wish to thank Rinda Kanidinc and the 206 staff for all their help, support and patience with the planning of this trip.
From: Justin Esser
Regarding: 206 Tours in August 2009 guide: Jesus Vivas Garcia
Date/ Time: 11 Sep, 2009 02:43
I took a pilgrimage through 206 Tours and part of it was run by a man from Okay Tours named Jesus Vivas Garcia. Jesus was an extraordinary tour guide leader. He was so attentive to details making sure things ran smoothly. I lost my luggage on the way over and he was relentless with the airport tracking down my luggage and ensuring that I got it in a timely manner. He made sure our luggage was taken care of along the way and that our needs with food and other things were being met. He really wanted to make sure our pilgrimage was the best. I was profoundly touched that he joined us for Mass. He showed great care for the priest who accompanied us and he wanted to make sure that Father Anthony had everything he needed to celebrate Mass. The second half of my pilgrimage was run by someone else and many people in our group commented how much they missed Jesus and his good work. In the future when I go on my next pilgrimage, I am going to inquire whether or not Jesus is leading the tour. If he is, I will definitely sign up for that one no matter where it goes! Please keep my address and send me updates to when he will be leading various pilgrimages because I'd like to start planning my next trip. You really should reward this man for his work because he did a fantastic job. He is certainly an asset to your company.
From: Theresa Goenner
Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2009 7:00 AM
To: Rinda Kanidinc
Subject: The Shrines of Italy - August
I am very happy with our 206 Tours, and if I was so blessed, I would choose you for another tour in the future. We carefully read the information booklet you sent us ahead of time and that had us prepared for the trip. Everything went as your schedule promised. Drivers picked us up promptly, tour guides were knowledgeable, and the hotels and food were excellent. Our local guide in Medjugorje took us to key places, praying with us as we climbed Apparation Hill, and she got us set up to know where to spend our free time for the rest of our visit. Our local guide in Rome was a walking encyclopedia and had us laughing along the way. Best of all was to experience Mass at some very holy places, like the tombs of St. Benedict and St. Francis of Assisi, at the Eucharistic Miracle and the Catacombs.
One suggestion I have is to ask the tour guide to allow 10-15 minutes after Mass for people to pray before having to move on to the next location. I wanted time after Mass in those beautiful places to make a prayer of thanksgiving.
Thanks for a great tour and God bless your ministry!
From: JOHN PIRRO
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 9:31 AM
Subject: The Holy Land - August
Just a quick note about our trip. It was fabulous, Spiritual rewarding etc. Our tour guide was the best and Fr Gary was the icing on the cake. He was rewarding and inspirational.
Downside of the trip: 5 am flight from Israel could have been later if possible and in your pre trip instructions you suggested shekels. Every item was priced in dollars.
Taking a trip with 206 tours again ABSOLUTELY.
Would I recommend 206 tours you bet I will.
Pax et Bonum
From: Den Todaro
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 10:19 AM
To: Kristin Ryan Shea
Back in March of 2009, I became very sick with intestinal problems. I thought it would pass in a few days since we were in the middle of flu season. This problem persisted for several weeks so I went to my doctor for some relief. It seemed that no medicine or home remedy appeared to help. I went back to my doctor after two more weeks and was scheduled for a colonoscopy to find out what the problem was. As it turned out I developed a severe case of ulcerated colitis and was literally living in the bathroom. Over the next two weeks I lost 30 pounds had no energy and began missing many days of work because of it. Well as you might expect, I collapsed and ended up in a Pittsburgh hospital. It became so bad that one doctor examined me and said "I've been a doctor for 28 years and can find no reason why you should be alive today". I told her I'm going to Medjugorje on May 31, so your job is to get me in shape to go. Well, that doctor and six others said traveling was definitely out of the question. To make matters worse my mother suffered four heart attacks in three days and had to be scheduled for heart by-pass surgery. As it ended up three day before our departure date my mother had her surgery.
By now I was still taking massive doses of medicine. I was still living in the bathroom, was concerned about my mother, and was scared to death to leave town. In fact on the way to the airport there was still a 50 - 50 chance that I would back out and not go. What was I to do, I had 29 others depending on me! To make a long story short, I called the hospital where my mother was and ask the nursing staff how her vital signs were. Thay informed me that she was stable and recovering well. I said to them, "Tell my mother I'll see her in 10 days". At the airport I said to Fr. Bill Kiel who was traveling with us, that if our plane was delayed one minute I was getting off, and I was dead serious. So I boarded the plane still very sick, thinking my worst fears would come true that when we arrived in Medjugorje I would have a message waiting for me to come home for my mother's funeral, and my heart was just not in it. At that last moment I just prayed and said "Jesus what are you doing to me, I thought it was my mission for you to take multitudes of people to Medjugorje? So I'm giving this trip to You, You take over, I'm just along for the ride! We finally departed. As I looked out the window I could hardly see from the tears in my eyes from feeling so guilty about leaving. At the same I was praying," Jesus I trust in you" please get me through this.
Well the trip went very well, and the 10 days seemed like 10 minutes. As we flew home, I realized I had just flown over the Atlantic 9 hours without getting up one one time to use the restroom! What's going on here?
Several days after we returned I had an appointment to see a physician in Pittsburgh, Dr. Fusko, a specialist dealing with conditions like mine, which I was now told by six doctors that this condition is for life, there is no cure, you just have to try and control it.
As you might expect I now had my third colonoscopy so he could see for himself what we were dealing with. Thirty minutes after the procedure Dr. Fusko came into the recovery room and said to me "who drove you here?" I said "My brother." He replied "wait here I want to get him." He brought my brother into the room and said to him pay close attention because you brother is not going to remember this conversation. Well, I remember every word of it. He said, "If I had not known your condition before from reviewing all the prior tests and reports, I would say to you go home, there is nothing wrong with you. I found no ulcers, no colitis, no Crohn's disease, no cancer, no polyps, no bleeding, no nothing! Just to be sure I did 12 biopsy's." A week later he called me and said to me, "Stop taking all your medicine, the biopsy's are all negative. You must have been mis-diagnosed I said to him, could 7 doctors before you have been wrong? It was then I said to him, no," It was Medjugorje." He had heard of Medjugorje but was not a believer. As it appeared, there were three others on that trip consisting of 30 pilgrims who had some type of cure other than myself.
Looking back I think sometimes God will test your faith then reward you when you least expect it. Over the years I've taken many people to Medjugorje. Some of them I know for a fact had only several months to live. Each one of them were cured and are alive today. I've seen this with my own eyes and can testify to that. Don't kid yourself. Medjugorje is for real, it's the most exciting thing going on in our lifetime. It's Mary's continuation of Fatima. Everyone need's to go to Medjugorje and experience what's happening there. When I tell people about it, I tell them it's not like a vacation, but it's a spiritual vacation in which your faith WILL be renewed, you will experience true peace and marvel at the daily occurrences going on there. I now have over 100 letters from past pilgrims who have accompanied me and they all say the same thing. They say, "this was the most incredible trip of my life." I can only agree with them.
From: Sister Bernadette Barrett
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:35 AM
Subject: Lisbon, Fatima, Spain and Lourdes - August
The pilgrimage was wonderful--the only fly in the ointment was not enough time in a few places (Salamanca, Avila, Burgos), but that's where the geography works against us a bit. I wouldn't have missed Mass at Alba de Tormes for anything! To have Mass in the chapel of the Carmel, with St. Teresa's relics above us & to receive from the chalice used by San Juan de la Cruz! There are no words for such joy. Juan was a super driver--I'm glad he was negotiating those tight spots and not me! The local guides were very good, especially in Lisbon & Avila. The real gem, however, was Jesus Vivas Garcia, our guide throughout. He was fun to be with, very caring and attentive, very knowledgeable...well, you get the idea. Superlatives sound pretty lame. What I especially appreciated was his arranging for those of us who were less mobile to gain access to spots we might not have seen if we'd had to walk very far(for example the apparition site of 19 August at Fatima). His evident delight in sharing the treasures of the trip with us was infectious. Thank you for the pilgrimage of a lifetime, and for letting us go even with a small group--that was actually a real plus for us, though undoubtedly not so great for the bottom line.
Yours in Christ,
Sr. Bernadette Barrett, OSB
From: marian Stankiewicz
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 3:33 PM
To: 'Rinda Kanidinc'
Subject: Poland - June
Tour Number 168 to Poland was wonderful. I recommend it to all your customers.
Paulina was an excellent, caring, knowledgable guide. I enjoyed learning all about Poland. I have relatives living there, and was able to speak to them by telephone, which means someday I will return to Poland to visit my relatives and do some of the things in Krakow I did not have time to do on this tour.
Two very special moments for me were: in the shrine of Jasna Gora, we were present at the time of consecreation of the Mass as we knelt before the painting of Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Then we were allowed to reenter the chapel of the icon a second time.
My time at the Divine Mercy Shrine was very special. I lectured at our morning Mass and the readings were very appropriate for that day. Some of us stayed behind when the group left and I spent time praying in the chapel and participated in the Divine Mercy hour at three o’clock.
The food was delicious and I was able to eat almost all my favorite Polish foods. I heard polish music which is not quite like our Polish music. From the hotel room in Krakow, you can hear the hoofbeats of the horses as they draw the carriages around the square of Krakow. Paulina kept telling us Krakow is the most beautiful city in Poland, I think she is right.
Thanks for a wonderful tour.
From: Martin J. Bancroft
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:51 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Italy and Poland
Greetings: A million thanks to all @ 206 Tours, especially to Milanka!
Italy- It was wonderful and the pilgrims were wonderful. Vincenzo was terrific. He lives in Rome and is very knowledgable and very polite.
Poland - The Divine Mercy, was unbelievable...as was Aushwitz. The Black Madonna was incredible...as was the Salt Mines.
We had great tour guides @ every stop. Thank you for allowing me the priviledge of being the chaplain for 206 Tours.
I will write again and visit.
From: Koch, Kathleen
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 5:04 PM
To: Linda Antonelle; Sandra Savic Lippold
Subject: Our Thanks
Dear Linda and Sandra:
Now that the dust is settling, I wanted to send a more formal "thank you" message for your many efforts to make our pilgrimage a blessed and memorable one. It was, indeed, the trip of a lifetime.
From the outset, this was a first-class experience, with a first class guide. When we arrived at the Lisbon airport, and were greeted by our guide, Javier Gomez, carrying "the best bottled water in Spain" -- putting my mother's mind at ease about finding tasty water abroad. Javier then proceeded to take care of every detail with grace and a smile. He patiently answered all of our (sometimes repeated) questions. He ensured that every meal met our needs. He freely shared his knowledge and his devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady. He cheerfully pushed my mother's wheelchair up precipitous inclines. He customized our activities so that we could gain the most from each day without overtaxing my parents.. He found ways that we could participate -- leading the Rosary in Fatima, singing in the choir at Lourdes -- that allowed us to experience our pilgrimage more profoundly. He "tuned in" to each concern and interest. He was patient, kind, and generous of spirit at every step. My father will never forget how Javier helped us to celebrate Dad's birthday on our last night, creating memories that we will always cherish.
The hotels were lovely and well-located. The transportation ran smoothly and exceeded our expectations. With Javier handling the translating, we felt welcomed at every turn. We were well-prepared for our adventures, thanks to the information provided by 206 Tours and your answers to our many pre-travel questions.
Thank you for your guidance, support, and service. Your advice was spot-on and I frequently found myself thinking "This is just as Linda had described." I could not imagine a more personal and extraordinary experience.
And thank you for your friendship along the way! I hope that you will keep me up on life in the north. My fingers remain crossed that our paths with cross one of these days.
From my entire family, our deepest thanks.
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 7:52 AM
Subject: Welcome Home from Medjugorje! with Michelle Lennon
What a wonderful trip! To walk in the mountains where our Lady appears is a magnificent honor.
The house where we stayed could not have been nicer. The family made you feel very much at home. The food was delicious and to be in walking distance of the Church and mountains was wonderful.