Day 1. Monday, April 18: Transatlantic flight to Warsaw
Depart today on a journey to Poland to follow in the footsteps of Pope St. John Paul II.
Day 2. Tuesday, April 19: Warsaw
Upon arrival into Warsaw, greet your tour escort and board your private motor-coach for an orientation tour of the city. Afterwards, walk along the streets of the Old Town. Admire the Castle Square with its Royal Castle, the Old Town Market Square, and the Barbican and City Walls. Visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Warsaw’s oldest church, and the Church of St. Anna, where Pope St. John Paul II celebrated a Mass for the young people of Poland. On the way to the hotel, admire Lazienki Park with a glimpse of Imperial Poland. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner with your travel companions at the hotel. (WD)
Day 3. Wednesday, April 20: Warsaw – Niepokalanow – Swinice Warckie – Czestochowa
Drive to Niepokalanow, one of the youngest Polish Sanctuaries. This Franciscan Monastery was founded in 1927 by St. Maximilian Kolbe, a martyr from the death camp in Auschwitz, and in 1980 Pope St. John Paul II gave the church the title of basilica. A statue of the Immaculate Conception was placed in a niche in the front wall of the basilica. Visit the Niepokalanow Sanctuary and the museum of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Continue to Swinice Warckie for a visit to St. Casmir parish church where St. Faustina, who spread the devotion of the Divine Mercy, was baptized. Then to Czestochowa, home of Poland’s greatest pilgrimage shrine, Our Lady of Czestochowa – the Black Madonna. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel and enjoy dinner. (BB, D)
Day 4. Thursday, April 21: Czestochowa – Auschwitz – Wadowice – Zakopane
This morning at Jasna Gora Monastery (“Mountain of Light”), enjoy a sightseeing tour of the monastery and its Treasury, with a splendid collection of precious gifts given to the monastery throughout the years. Its impressive Way of the Cross is a touching presentation of the last moments of Jesus. Pope St. John Paul II was known to make frequent visits to the monastery throughout his life. Afterwards, en route to Zakopane, stop at Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp in which St. Maximilian Kolbe gave up his life for another man. Then visit Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope St. John Paul II, and visit the house where he was born and the local church where he was baptized and received his First Communion. Continue to Zakopane. Nestled high up in the Tatras Mountains, it is a combination of beautiful landscape and quaint shopping areas. It was a favorite getaway spot for Pope St. John Paul II. Dinner and overnight in Zakopane. (BB, D)
Day 5. Friday, April 22: Zakopane
This morning, visit the Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Fatima, a chapel constructed in 1999 in gratitude for Pope St. John Paul II’s survival of an assassination attempt. Continue with a cable car ride to the heights of Mt. Gobuwlka for a stunning view of the Tatras Mountains and the town of Zakopane. On your return to Zakopane, visit the Jaszczorowka Chapel which has been visited several times by young Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II), as it lies on the walking paths where he often finished his walks for prayer and reflection. Then make your way to the colorful Krupowki Street, the central mall lined with restaurants, cafés, boutiques, and souvenir shops. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Zakopane. (BB, D)
Day 6. Saturday, April 23: Zakopane – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Wieliczka Salt Mine – Krakow
Today, leave Zakopane and head for the city of Krakow, where then Karol Wojtyla served as Archbishop prior to being elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Along the way, stop in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the oldest Calvary in Poland. From far away you can see the monastery complex of the Bernardine Fathers, with the early baroque church of the Our Lady of Mount Calvary. South of the monastery, in an area of 300 hectares, are the famous Calvary paths, with churches, chapels and wayside shrines. As Pope St. John Paul II was born in Wadowice close to the Kalwaria, he often walked the Calvary paths and prayed before the marvelous picture of the Zebrzydowska Blessed Mother. Continue 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. Dinner awaits at your hotel in Krakow. (BB, D)
Day 7. Sunday, April 24: Krakow: Old Town
Visit Krakow in the footsteps of the Holy Father John Paul II. There are so many places connected with St. John Paul II, such as St. Florian’s Church where he was a vicar; the beautiful Franciscan Church, his favorite praying place; Franciscan Street with the famous Pope’s window where Pope St. John Paul II used to show up to talk with Cracovians during his pilgrimages to Poland; Collegium Novum, the main building of Jagiellonian University, where after WWII, Karol Wojtyla lectured in theology; and the Archbishop’s Palace, which was his home for a number of years. Visit the Market Square, one of the largest and best preserved areas in all of Europe. Enjoy a leisurely paced walking tour featuring St. Mary’s Altar, the largest gothic altar in the world, the Town Hall Tower, the Cloth Hall, the burghers’ houses, and Wawel Cathedral, including St. Leonard’s Crypt where Pope St. John Paul II said his first Mass. The balance of the day is at leisure. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner at a typical restaurant with Polish folk dancers. (BB, FD)
Day 8. Monday, April 25: Krakow: Lagiewniki Divine Mercy Sanctuary – Warsaw
Today visit the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow’s district of Lagiewniki. This Sanctuary was consecrated by Pope St. John Paul II. It was at Lagiewniki 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 and the relics of St. Faustina. Also visit St. Faustina’s convent chapel, the Shrine of Divine Mercy and St. Faustina’s tomb. Afterwards travel to your hotel in Warsaw for your last night in Poland. (BB, D)
Day 9. Tuesday, April 26: Transatlantic flight back to the USA
Transfer to Warsaw airport for the homebound flight. (BB)
Buffet Breakfast (BB); Dinner (D); Welcome Dinner (WD); Farewell Dinner (FD)
* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.
For more information on this pilgrimage or to register, please contact Mike Bannio, Group Coordinator, at (864) 395-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Catholic Heritage Tours.