Catholic Shrines with Holy Relics of Christ

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

European Religious Travel

If you want to see the best of Europe’s Catholic Shrines, including the Aachen Cathedral, which contains the Holy Relics of Aachen, this is the tour for you. Catholic Heritage Tours takes you on a 12-day pilgrim tour to London, Bruges, Brussels, Aachen and more to see Catholic Shrines and Holy Relics while the Aachen Relics are exposed in late June of 2014. See the itinerary below for details.

 

Day 1: Transatlantic flight to London

Depart today on your journey to London, England. Meals will be served during the international flight.

 

Day 2: London

Welcome to London! After meeting your tour escort, take a private motor coach to visit the Tower of London. Its construction was initiated in 1070 by William the Conqueror, shortly after his victory at Hastings in 1066. Today the Tower of London is best known for its Crown Jewels, but it used to be notorious for the many political opponents of the kings that were locked, tortured and killed in the Tower. A vast number of Catholic martyrs suffered the extreme penalty for maintaining the unity of the Church and the supremacy of the Apostolic See. Afterwards, visit Tyburn Convent. For many centuries, the name was synonymous with capital punishment, having been the principal place for execution of London criminals and convicted traitors, including many religious martyrs. The Foundress, Marie Adele Garnier, made Tyburn Convent the home of the famous shrine of the English Reformation Martyrs of Tyburn. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with fellow pilgrims. Overnight in London. (WD)

 

Day 3: London

After breakfast, the first stop will be Westminster Abbey. An architectural masterpiece of the 13th to 16th centuries, Westminster Abbey also presents a unique pageant of British history – the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, the tombs of kings and queens, and countless memorials to the great and famous. It has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066. Today it is still a church dedicated to regular worship and to the celebration of great national events. Then, take a cruise to view the many sights along the River Thames. Tonight dinner is on your own. Overnight in London. (BB)

 

Day 4: London – Aylesford – Canterbury – Crossing the Channel – Bruges

This morning, on the way to Bruges, your first stop will be at the English village of Aylesford. Visit an ancient religious house of the Order of Carmelites founded in 1242, when the first Carmelites arrived from the Holy Land. Here the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Simon Stock bringing him the brown Scapular of Mount Carmel. “This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites,” she told him, “that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.” Next stop will be Canterbury Cathedral founded by St. Augustine in 602. It became a major pilgrimage destination after the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket in 1170. Now it functions as the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Next, cross the English Channel by ferry and continue to the magnificent Belgian city of Bruges, where a large part of the medieval heritage has remained virtually intact. Dinner and overnight in Bruges. (BB, D)

 

Day 5: Bruges

Today your first visit will be the Basilica of the Holy Blood which houses a venerated relic of Our Lord: His very blood, collected by Joseph of Arimathea. The Holy Blood relic is embedded in a rock-crystal vial. The relic is carried through the streets during the Procession of the Holy Blood held on Ascension Thursday every spring. Next, visit the Church of Our Lady that houses the Madonna of Bruges, a marble sculpture by Michelangelo of the Blessed Virgin with the Infant Jesus. The work is also notable in that it was the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime. Afterwards, visit Kantcentrum (Lace Center), a museum dedicated to the making of Flemish lace, where one can see skilled artisans still making lace by hand. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy this magnificent medieval city. Dinner is on your own. Overnight in Bruges. (BB)

 

Day 6: Bruges – Brussels – Banneux – Aachen 

After breakfast, leave Bruges. En route to Aachen, the first stop will be Brussels to visit the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. This beautiful Gothic Cathedral is the national church of Belgium and it is here that royal weddings and funerals take place. A chapel dedicated to St. Michael, patron saint of Brussels, is believed to have existed here since the 8th century. In 1047 the relics of St. Gudula where transferred here, thus it became the church of St. Michael and St. Gudula. Next visit is to Notre-Dame au Sablon, founded by the crossbowmen in 1304, to house a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later, the church was used by the monarchs, including Emperor Charles V. The church has impressive and colorful stained-glass windows. Next stop will be Grand Place, the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city’s Town Hall, and the Bread house. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in the city. A short drive will take you to Banneux, where in 1933 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared eight times to 11 year-old Mariette Beco and asked her to dip her hands into the spring, which is “reserved for all nations, for the sick.” Today the healings continue at Banneux as thousands of pilgrims come here every year to be spiritually and physically renewed by “Our Lady of the Poor.” Cross over into Germany and arrive into Aachen for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 7: Aachen – Kornelimunster – Cologne – Aachen

This morning in Aachen, visit its cathedral and 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 Charlemagne are exposed for public veneration: 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. In the afternoon, travel to the great historic city of Cologne for a visit to its cathedral. The city became an outstanding center of medieval pilgrimage, when Cologne’s Archbishop Rainald of Dassel gave the relics of the Three Wise Men to the cathedral in 1164. The Three Magi are honored for being the first pilgrims of Our Lord. Enjoy free time in Cologne before returning to Aachen for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 8: Aachen – Trier 

This morning journey south to Trier, one of the oldest towns in Germany. During the third century, Trier became the center for the evangelization of northern Europe. Visit the oldest cathedral and treasury in Germany containing the Holy Robe of Trier, the seamless garment of Jesus Christ, for which the soldiers cast lots at the Crucifixion. At the Church of St. Matthias render homage to the remains of St. Matthias the Apostle and St. Eucharius, first bishop of Trier. Enjoy free time to explore this beautiful city. You may want to visit the Imperial Roman Baths once frequented by Emperor Constantine, which have stood for over 2,000 years. Dinner and overnight in Trier. (BB, D)

 

Day 9: Trier – Verdun – Reims – Champagne tasting – Paris 

Cross over into France and travel to Verdun, where the greatest battle ever took place in 1916. Never before or since has there been such a lengthy battle, involving so many men, situated on such a tiny piece of land. The battle, which lasted from February 21, 1916, until December 19, 1916, caused over an estimated 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and missing). Afterwards, in the city of Reims visit Notre-Dame of Reims, which was the site of the coronation of French kings. The original church on this site was the basilica where King Clovis was baptized by St. Remi, bishop of Reims, in 496 AD. Then, visit the Abbey of St. Remi founded in the 6th century, which has conserved the relics of the saint since 1099. He was learned and eloquent, and had the gift of miracles. His piety and charity were boundless, and in toil he knew no weariness. He died in 533, after an episcopate of seventy-four years, the longest on record. Traveling through this rich area of vineyards, enjoy a champagne tasting. Continue to Paris for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 10: Paris

This morning’s sightseeing starts with a visit to the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. Pray before the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Labouré, whose guardian angel led her to the chapel where the Blessed Virgin displayed a vision of the miraculous medal and later the green scapular. Nearby, pray before the relics of St. Vincent of Paul, patron saint of all charitable associations and father of those in misery. Next, visit the Paris Foreign Missions Society that houses a permanent display called “Room of the Martyrs”. Numerous artifacts are on display, mainly remains and relics of martyred members of the missions, depictions of various martyrdoms endured during the history of the missions, and objects related to the Catholic faith in the various countries of Asia. Last visit will be to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre, built at the site of the martyrdom of St. Denis and his companions. Tonight there is an optional dinner-cruise on the Seine River for breathtaking views of the city. Overnight in Paris. (BB)

 

Day 11: Paris

Today’s sightseeing includes visits to the historic Cathedral of Notre Dame, where Our Lord’s Crown of Thorns is now kept and exposed once a year on Good Friday; to the Sainte Chapelle built in 1248 by King St. Louis IX to house Our Lord’s Crown of Thorns and fragments of the True Cross; and to St-Etienne-du-Mont burial church of St. Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. Rest of the day at leisure; tonight enjoy a farewell dinner in company of your fellow companions. (BB, FD)

 

Day 12: Transatlantic flight back to the USA

After breakfast, transfer to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport for your homebound flight. (BB)

 

 

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

 

 

This opportunity is not to be missed! It’ll be an unforgettable experience you’ll talk about for years and years. Contact Catholic Heritage Tours today at (800) 290-3876, or contact us online.

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