Catholic Shrines of Poland, Prague & Germany

A 12-Day Pilgrimage including the Holy Relics of Aachen
June 2014 (Aachen Relics are exposed June 20-30, 2014)

Pilgrimage Tour Through Central Europe

Read the sample itinerary below of our 12-Day Pilgrimage to Catholic Shrines in Central Europe, including the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and the birthplace of Bl. John Paul II in Poland, historical sites and magnificent churches in Prague, and important cathedrals and shrines in Germany.

 

Day 1: Transatlantic flight to Krakow

Board your transatlantic flight to Krakow, Poland.

 

Day 2: Krakow

Late afternoon arrival into Krakow. Upon arrival, meet your tour escort and board your private motor coach. On the way to the hotel, enjoy a panoramic sightseeing of Krakow. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers. (WD)

 

Day 3: Krakow

This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Krakow’s historical center. The first visit will be to the Basilica on the Rock; the center of veneration of the bishop and martyr, St. Stanislaw of Szczepanow. This was the very place where the saint suffered his martyrdom at the hands of King Boleslav the Bold (1079). St. Stanislaw is the main patron saint of Poland and the city of Krakow. Next, visit the Cathedral, one of the most important churches in Poland; it contains the royal tombs, the remains of St. Stanislaw, the bishop of Krakow to whom the cathedral is dedicated, the remains of St. Hedwig, queen of Poland in the 14th century, and the relics of the Roman martyr, St. Florian, patron saint of fire fighters. Next to the Gothic Cathedral, visit the Wawel Royal Castle, at one time the hub of cultural and political life in Poland. Continue to the Dominican Church which houses the mortal remains of St. Hyacinth, the first Polish Dominican. In the Rosary Chapel there is a notable image of Our Lady of the Rosary, known for its divine graces and crowned with the Papal Tiara in 1921. Then, visit the main market square and the Church of St. Mary, with its great Gothic polyptych. Dinner and overnight in Krakow. (BB, D)

 

Day 4: Excursion to: Czestochowa – Auschwitz – Wadowice 

Begin the day with a visit to Czestochowa, home of Poland’s greatest pilgrimage shrine, Our Lady of Czestochowa – the Black Madonna. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the monastery and its Treasury, with an impressive collection of precious gifts given to the Monastery throughout the years. Continue to Auschwitz, the Nazi’s largest concentration camp. For the Poles, Auschwitz is a particular symbol of their own suffering and martyrdom. This is the place where St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) faced martyrdom and St. Maximilian Kolbe died in the Death Block from starvation after volunteering his life for that of a fellow prisoner. Finally, stop in Wadowice, the birthplace of Bl. John Paul II, to visit the house were he was born and the local church where he was baptized and received his First Communion. Return to Krakow for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 5: Excursion to: Shrine of Divine Mercy – Kalwaria Zebrydowska – Wieliczka Salt Mine

Today’s visits begin at the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow’s district of Lagiewniki. It was here that the message of Christ’s Divine Mercy was passed on to St. Faustina (1905-1938). Visit the Sanctuary that houses the image of Merciful Jesus as well as St. Faustina’s convent chapel, the Shrine of Divine Mercy and St. Faustina’s tomb. Next, drive out to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the oldest Calvary in Poland. From far away one can see the monastery complex of the Bernardine Fathers, with the early Baroque church of Our Lady of Mount Calvary. South of the monastery, in an area of 300 hectares are the famous Calvary paths with churches. Pray before the marvelous picture of the Zebrzydowska Blessed Mother. Afterwards, travel to Wieliczka Salt Mine, the oldest and longest salt mine in Europe. Your journey will take you 54 floors underground to see the many chambers and churches cut out of rock. Your visit will include the magnificent Church of St. Kinga with altar pieces, chandeliers, and sculptures made of salt. Return to Krakow and enjoy a dinner accompanied by music and folklore dancers. (BB, D)

 

Day 6: Krakow – Olomouc – Prague

Depart Krakow and head West to Prague, with a stop along the way in Olomouc, the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia in the Czech Republic. On its outskirts, visit the monumental pilgrimage site of Our Lady of the Holy Little Hill, built in the late 17th, early 18th century in the Baroque style. Then, enjoy a tour of Olomouc’s main sites and magnificent churches. Afterwards, continue to Prague for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 7: Prague

Today enjoy a sightseeing of Prague. Begin with a visit to the miraculous Holy Infant of Prague at the Church of Our Lady Victorious. Afterwards, visit the Premonstratentian Strahov Monastery founded in 1149, housing the remains of St. Norbert the founder of the order. Continue with a visit to Prague Castle with its churches, chapels, halls, and towers from every period of its history. Visit Prague’s Cathedral dedicated to St. Vitus, 3rd century martyr of the Christian persecutions. The remains of King St. Wenceslas, the first Czech saint, and of St. John Nepomuk, martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, are enshrined in the cathedral. Next, visit the Royal Palace, seat of Bohemian princes. Outside the palace is St. George’s Basilica, housing the remains of the martyr St. Ludmilla, grandmother and tutor of St. Wenceslas. On your way out of the castle, walk through the Golden Lane, named after the goldsmiths that lived there in the 17th century. Continue your sightseeing crossing the famous Charles Bridge, Prague’s only crossing over the Vltava River until 1741, decorated with statues of saints. On the other side of the Vltava, walk through the Old Town with its historic monuments, buildings, and churches. (BB, D)

 

Day 8: Prague – Dettelbach – Wurzburg 

Leave Prague this morning towards Wurzburg, Germany. Close to Wurzburg, visit Dettelbach to render homage to the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Vineyard at the spectacular parish church of Maria im Sand, a popular place of local pilgrimage in central Germany. Built initially as a farmer’s particular sanctuary, it became so popular for her healing powers that a larger chapel was built. After a short drive, arrive at Wurzburg for your sightseeing that includes a visit to the Neumunster-Kirche to render homage to the patron saint of Wurzburg, St. Kilian, and his fellow Irish apostles and martyrs, St. Kolonat and St. Totnan. Afterwards visit the Residenz, the Bishop’s palace, with its court chapel richly decorated. (BB, D)

 

Day 9: Wurzburg: Excursion to Fulda & Bamberg

In the morning travel to Fulda, one of the great Catholic sites in Germany. It was here that St. Boniface, patron saint of Germany, founded a monastic mission in the 8th century as his main base from which to train and send missionaries throughout northern Europe. Your visit includes Fulda’s imposing pilgrimage cathedral, its crypt with the tomb of St. Boniface, and the Dom Museum with a remarkable collection of Christian art and information about St. Boniface and his mission. Afterwards, travel to Bamberg with its splendid preserved Old Town. Visit the majestic cathedral of St. Peter and St. George, one of the great cathedrals of Europe. It is the burial place of the only beatified German king, St. Henry II, and his wife St. Kunigunde. Bamberg was the center of evangelization of eastern Europe in the 11th century and numerous crusading parties left from Bamberg to fight against Moslem invaders. Walk through the Old Town with its loveliest squares and magnificent buildings. Return to Wurzburg for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 10: Wurzburg – Bingen – Rhine Cruise – Cologne 

Travel to the Rhine river and stop at Rudesheim, a charming German town. Visit the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard to render homage to her remains. St. Hildegard was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, and visionary. Afterwards, embark on a cruise along the most beautiful section of the Rhine River. Disembark in Koblenz where your motor-coach takes you to Cologne. There, visit Cologne’s Cathedral and two of the Romanesque churches that survived World War II. The cathedral was built to house the relics of the Three Magi, and immediately became a major pilgrimage site. Included in your visit is the Cathedral Treasury that contains the staff that belonged to St. Peter. Nearby is the Church of St. Andreas containing the remains of St. Albert the Great, teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. The last visit will be to the Church of St. Ursula, which houses the remains of St. Ursula and 11,000 martyrs, all killed in Cologne at the hands of the Huns in the 2nd century. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. (BB)

 

Day 11: Cologne: Excursion to Aachen and Kornelimunster

Travel to Aachen and visit the cathedral and its treasury. The cathedral was built as Charlemagne’s palace chapel. Consecrated on the feast of the Epiphany in 895, it has been the place of coronation of 32 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. It is in this cathedral that every seven years, the holy relics collected by Charlesmagne are exposed to the public; the cloak of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the swaddling-clothes of the Infant Jesus, the loin-cloth worn by Christ on the Cross, and the cloth on which lay the head of St. John the Baptist after his beheading. The treasury is the richest in Northern Europe. Next, drive six miles south of Aachen to the beautiful town of Kornelimunster. In its former Benedictine abbey is the well-preserved Church of St. Cornelius, housing relics from the relic treasury of the imperial palace of Charlemagne: Linteum Domini, the piece of cloth which Our Lord wrapped around Himself as He washed His disciples’ feet at the Last Supper; Sindom Mundo, the cloth on which the body of Our Lord was placed after being taken down from the Cross; and the Sudarium Domini, the piece of cloth which covered the face of Our Lord in the tomb. The head and arm of Pope St. Cornelius are also housed in this magnificent church. Travel back to Cologne, for a farewell dinner at a typical German restaurant. (BB, FD)

 

Day 12: Transatlantic flight back to the US

After breakfast, transfer to Cologne’s airport for your homebound flight. (BB)

 

 

(BB) Buffet Breakfast; (D) Dinner; (WD) Welcome Dinner; (FD) Farewell Dinner

 

 

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