Want to learn a foreign language? Everyone knows the best way is immersion. Put yourself where that language is spoken, experience the culture of the people, and pick it up by osmosis.
The same thing is true about the Catholic Tradition. I learned this lesson as a college student. I had rediscovered my Catholic faith at age 16, and begun daily prayer and mass, spiritual reading, and even enrolled in a Catholic college and took some theology. I grew a lot, learned a lot.
But in my junior year, I hit a spiritual road block, and needed some special help. A group of friends were going to Rome on pilgrimage and persuaded me to come along, holding before me the prospect of a spiritual breakthrough. I did not have the funds, but decided to go, pray hard and beat the bushes. I could not have anticipated what happened.
Yes, I received special graces that transformed stubborn attitudes that I’d been unable to change.. That would have been enough. But Mass at the catacombs, praying in St. Peters, and gaping in amazement at Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel bonded me to the Catholic Tradition in an extraordinary way that is impossible to put into words. I was immersed in Catholic heritage and “caught it.” Things that I had just previously read about now came alive, and the experience created a zeal to learn more that is still there now, after thirty years.
That’s why I’m leading a pilgrimage to Rome in this special year of the Eucharist–I want others to have the experience I had! And this pilgrimage will take the special form of a Catholic Heritage Cruise from Barcelona to Rome and back again, with stops in Avignon, Nice, Florence, and Naplesalong the way. Why a cruise? Because the calm of the ship and the beauty of the sea provide a wonderful respite from the exciting land excursions I’ve planned to the palace of the Popes in Avignon, the museums of Florence and the Churches of Rome. Because it’s wonderful to be in a different city every day without having to pack and unpack! Because the conference room aboard the ship gives us a comfortable, cool place for the unique seminars that I’ll be giving during this special week. As we sail from Spain we’ll learn about the great religious orders and saints that were born there–St. Dominic and his friars, St. Ignatius and the Jesuits, St. Teresa of Avila and the Carmelites. As we approach France we’ll learn about the great Father of the Church Irenaeus who was bishop of Lyon, and we’ll discuss why the Popes lived for 100 years in Avignon France. As we sail to Toscany, we’ll examine Michelangelo, the Catholic Art of the Renaissance, and the Theology of the Body. And on the way to Rome, we’ll explore the meaning and history of the Papacy, the story of the Peter, Paul, and the martyrs, and the purpose and meaning of Vatican II.
With daily Mass, prayer, and wonderful ship-board entertainment, this cruise will combine pilgrimage, conference, and vacation in one unforgettable week that will change the lives of the 100 passengers who will joining us from the UK and all across the US.
We sail from Barcelona on Saturday, June 11, 2005 and arrive back at that port on Saturday, June 18th. You can join us from dock to dock only, or arrive a day early for a special tour of Barcelona and stay an extra day for our concluding visit to the Marian shrine ofMontserrat. You can arrange your own air, or take advantage of the special discount air offered by our travel agent. All ages are welcome, and discounts are available for children, priests, and religious.
For more information or pricing, email us firstname.lastname@example.org, check out our cruise webpage atwww.crossroadsinitaitve.com/cruise.html, or call Sam toll-free at 1 (800) 554-4556.