In the footsteps of Pope John Paul II: Poland

12-Day Sample Itinerary

Religious Tour of Poland

Find a sample itinerary below for a Catholic pilgrimage to Poland, taking in the centuries of Catholic history in one sweeping tour of this European nation.

 

Sample Itinerary:

 

Day 1: Transatlantic flight to Warsaw

Depart today to Poland.

 

Day 2: Warsaw

Welcome to Warsaw! Upon your arrival, your tour escort will greet you and you will start your sightseeing with an orientation tour of the city. The first stop will be at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, where Father Jerzy Popieluszko was brutally murdered by militant security police in 1984. Afterwards, walk along the streets of 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 John Paul II celebrated a Mass for the young people of Poland. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner as a pleasant way to make acquaintance with your fellow pilgrims and plan on the days ahead. (WD)

 

Day 3: Warsaw

Start your day with a visit at the Church of the Holy Cross; Frederic Chopin performed here and there is an urn containing his heart. Afterwards, visit the Polish Military Museum containing a collection of Polish arms and armor spanning more than 1,000 years. The most interesting aspect of the permanent exhibition is the collection of armor of the Early Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century. Then continue to the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy for a short visit. This is the house where the Congregation started. Your next visit will be to the Wilanow Palace, built at the end of the 17th century as the city residence of the illustrious monarch King John III Sobieski, most famous for the victory over the Turks in 1683 at the very gates of Vienna. On the return to the hotel, admire Lazienki Park for a glimpse of Imperial Poland. (BB, D)

 

Day 4: Warsaw – Swinice Warckie – Niepokalanow – Czestochowa

Morning departure for Czestochowa. Drive to Swinice Warckie to visit St. Casmir parish church where St. Faustina, who spread the devotion of the Divine Mercy, was baptized. Continue 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 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 museum of St. Maximilian Kolbe. 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 5: Czestochowa – Krakow

You may start your day with a morning Mass at Jasna Gora Monastery (“MountainofLight”), followed by a sightseeing tour of the monastery and its Treasury, with an impressive collection of precious gifts given to the monastery throughout the years. See the impressive Way of the Cross painted by one of the most famous Polish artists, Jerzy Duda-Gracz; it is a touching presentation of the last moments of Jesus. Afterwards, travel to Krakow to enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. (BB)

 

Day 6: Krakow

Visit Krakow in the footsteps of the Holy Father John Paul II. There are so many places connected with John Paul II, such as the Archbishop’s Palace where Karol Wojtyla used to live; 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 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 WW II Karol Wojtyla lectured in theology; and the Archbishop’s Palace, which was his home for a number of years. Visit theMarket 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, where, in St Leonard’s Crypt, John Paul said his first Mass. Explore the Coronation Chapel and the Royal Chambers, home to an extraordinary collection of Arras tapestries. (BB, D)

 

Day 7: Krakow – Lagiewniki – Wieliczka – Krakow

Today visit the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, consecrated by John Paul II, in Krakow’s district of Lagiewniki. It was here that the message of Christ’s Divine Mercy was passed on to St. Faustina.  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. In the afternoon travel to Wieliczka Salt Mine, the oldest and longest salt mine inEurope. Your journey will take you 54 floors underground to see the many chambers and churches cut out of rock including the magnificent Church of St. Kinga with altar pieces, chandeliers and sculptures made of salt. (BB, D)

 

Day 8: Krakow – Auschwitz – Wadowice – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Krakow

Today is a full day of excursion; your first stop will be 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. Afterwards, drive to Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II where you will visit the house were he was born and the local church where he was baptized and received his First Communion. The last stop will be at 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. Pope John Paul II was born in Wadowice close to the Kalwaria, so in his youth he often walked the Calvary paths and prayed before the marvelous picture of the Zebrzydowska Blessed Mother. Tonight enjoy dinner with folklore dancers and music. (BB, D)

 

Day 9: Krakow – Piekary Slaskie – Gora Sw. Anny – Wroclaw

Drive through Piekary Slaskie and Gora Sw. Anny to Wroclaw. Visit to Piekary Slaskie – situated on the northern rim of the Upper Silesian Mountain Basin. The local devotion to Our Lady goes back to the 15th century. Since the 17th century it has been associated with the picture of Our Lady of Piekary, which then became famous for remarkable acts of grace and was recognized as miraculous. At that time the plague was decimating the population of Silesian cities. The people sought help from the Holy Virgin. After the procession with the picture, the plague stopped. A few years later, the plague afflicted Czech.At the request of Emperor Leopold, the picture was brought to Prague and carried through the streets. The plague subsided and the picture returned to Piekary. King John III Sobieski, great Polish king, prayed with the Polish army before the picture on his way to raise the siege of Vienna. At the end of the 19th century, the Piekary Calvary was built on Cerekwica Hill. The site consists of 39 chapels and the Church of the Transfiguration. After visiting Piekary Slaskie, drive to Gora Sw. Anny (St. Ann’s Mountain). The origins of the sanctuary on St. Ann’s Mountain date back to 1657, when the reformed monks of the Franciscan order were brought to Chelm Mountain, as it was called then. They built a Calvary based on the model of Zebrzydowska sanctuary made up of 33 chapels of the Passion of Christ, which was later expanded with the paths of the Sorrowful Mother Mary. For centuries the sanctuary stood there while on the main altar of the gothic-baroque church of St. Ann stands the statue of St. Ann (Samotrzec). On the main altar stands a small statue (only 66 cm high) of St. Anne, carved in beech by an unknown artist, probably in the 15th century. It shows the grandmother of Our Lord holding her grandson Jesus on her right arm and her daughter the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on her left. The ancient devotion to St. Ann is combined with special services for Our Lady and the Passion of Christ. After visiting Gora Sw Anny, drive to Wroclaw. Check in at the hotel and dine at a local restaurant. Overnight in Wroclaw. (BB, D)

 

Day 10: Wroclaw – Wambierzyce – Trzebnica – Wroclaw

Today’s excursion is to Wambierzyce, a beautiful village at the foot of Stolowe Mountain. Admire the monumental basilica housing the wooden statue of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, called Wambierzycka. This gothic statue famous for miracles, carved in linden around 1380, shows the Blessed Virgin Mary in full figure with the Child in Her arms. The infant Jesus is raising one hand in the gesture of blessing while in the other He is holding a dove. The figure of the Madonna is on a throne over the main altar. The entire chapel is filled with votive offerings that have been given to the Wambierzycka Lady over the centuries. According to tradition, around 1200, the blind John of Raszew, master of nearby Ratno, regained his sight at the feet of the statue of the Madonna with Child, hanging on the linden tree. In thanks, he built the stone altar under the tree. Later a chapel was built here and then a small church. Towards the end of the 17th century, the rebuilt church became the center of mass pilgrimages from Czech, Moravia and Silesia. In the 18th century, the new basilica was built surrounded by the most precious Calvaries of the time, where 130 figures in 92 chapels portray specific events from the life of Christ, His Passion, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. For this reason, Wambierzyce has been called the Lower Silesian Jerusalem. On route to Wroclaw, stop at Trzebnica to pay homage to St. Hedwig, one of the most cherished heroines of Poland, for this saintly princess was loved by the people for her great kindness and generosity. (BB, D)

 

Day 11: Wroclaw – Warsaw

After breakfast, embark on a sightseeing tour of Wroclaw, the historic capital of Silesia. It began as a large Slav settlement in the 10th century and today is an industrial, cultural, and academic center.  Despite large damages through wars, the city has preserved much of its historical architecture. Visit the Old Town of Wroclaw, dominated by the gothic Town Hall dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, which today houses the History Museum and the Museum of Medals.  The southwest of the square is bounded with the Salt Market Square(Plac Solny) lined with renaissance burgher houses. Nearby is Wroclaw University dating back to the 18th century with the marvelous Leopoldina Auditorium. Admire Ostrow Tumski, the residence of cardinal archbishops and princes in the early Middle Ages. The main spot is the enormous gothic cathedral of St. John the Baptist dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries.  In addition visit: the Church of St. Peter and Paul, the Church of the Holy Cross, the baroque Archdiocesan residence and the Church of St. Gilles. Continue to Warsaw for a farewell dinner and overnight. (BB, FD)

 

Day 12: Transatlantic flight back to the US

Transfer to Warsaw airport for the homebound flight. (BB)

 

 

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

 

 

It’s an amazing feeling to go on this religious pilgrimage, to take in these sights and feel the centuries of Christianity in such a dense package. If you want to truly immerse yourself in this experience, let us handle the details like booking travel, lodging, and Holy Masses. Call us now at (800) 290-3876.

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