France Pilgrimage Q & A

France Pilgrimage Q & A

Q. What will our guides be like on this Tour of France?

A.  A tour of holy and historical places is only as good as your guide.   Many local guides leave much to be desired in terms of their knowledge, their ability to comment on the spiritual significance of a particular site for Christians, and their command of English.  Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio has twin academic specialties make him an extraordinary guide to France—he is an expert in theology and church history.  Furthermore, his commentary, however informative, is always understandable and spiritually uplifting.  He will be assisted by local guides as well.   Their English is very good and clear.  It has taken us years to identify Catholic guides of this caliber — of the thousands of local guides available for tours, these are the cream of the crop.

Q. Will this be a tour or a spiritual pilgrimage?

A.  Both.  We will have wonderful times of prayer, liturgy & music daily, with Mass in one of the holy places that we visit each day!   Each person who wishes will have the opportunity to serve as a lector in one of our special masses.  If you are a properly authorized extraordinary minister of the eucharist, there may be an opportunity to serve in that capacity as well.  But the information and insight you will get into the places we visit as well as the biblical texts that talk about them will be extraordinary.

Q. Who is arranging all the practicalities of the tour?

A.  Select International Tours is our US Tour company and are available Monday – Friday to assist you.  They are a Catholic company that tithes with a special concern to support the Christian community in the Holy Land.  We have a dedicated tour manager for our pilgrimages – Jane Allison jane@select-intl.com 800-842-4842.

Q. What is the weather like in Paris in Mid-October?

A.  In mid-October, temperatures average 60 degrees during the day and can get down to the high forties at night.

Q. Is much walking required?

A. Generally much less than on other tours that I’ve organized, such as to the Vatican, for example.  Most of the time, our bus gets quite close to the sites we are visiting.   People with canes and needing some assistance have done fine on this tour but we regret that those requiring wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.  If you are in doubt whether your particular state of health is adequate to enjoy the pilgrimage, please call Jane at Select International Tours.

Q. Will daily Mass and Confessions be available on this pilgrimage?

A. Yes! Our group will have Mass daily in some of the most special and moving places in the Holy Land.  Since we will have a priest traveling with us, confession and the Sacrament of the Sick will also be available for our pilgrims.

Q. Can you recommend resources we can use before the trip to become more familiar with St. Joan of Arc?

A. There are many movies that have been made on Joan of Arc over the years. Some are bad, others dated. Here is a good recent one: “Joan of Arc”, the 2016 film starring Leelee Sobienski, Peter O’Toole, Shirley McLain. You can buy it from Ignatius Press for under $20. (Product Code: JATV2M; ISBN/UPC: 817531010633, Duration: 3 hrs). Also available from Ignatius is the best single thing to read about Joan of Arc – Mark Twain’s meticulously researched historical novel about her, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (the Ignatius edition is titled simply “Joan of Arc” – ISBN/UPC: 9780898702682). This is available in lots of editions and you can get it on Kindle or Audible audiobook.

Q. Can you recommend resources we can use before the trip to become more familiar with St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower?

A. On St. Therese, I would recommend her autobiography called The Story of a Soul. This is also available in a number of editions in either paperback, Kindle, or Audible audiobook.

Q. I heard that the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris had a disastrous fire over this past year. Are there any other Gothic Cathedrals that we will be seeing on this trip since we obviously can't tour Notre Dame?

Truly, the Notre Dame fire was a tragedy.  But France is full of magnificent Gothic Churches with amazing stained glass windows.  We actually plan to see a cathedral even more renowned than Notre Dame for its stained glass – that of Chartres, a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages similar to Satntiago de Compostela in Spain.  We will also see the gothic Cathedral of Rouen, a city with a special association with St. Joan of Arc, and a unique specimen of Gothic architecture and stained glass in Paris, Sainte Chapelle, the private chapel of St. King Louis IX and the royal family.  If you can spare an hour, I’d highly recommend that you watch this animated video on the construction of a Gothic French Cathedral written by David MacCauley.  

Q. Can you recommend resources we can use before the trip to become more familiar with St. Bernadette and the apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes?

A. Yes. For a good book on the subject get Elizabeth Ficocelli, Lourdes: Font of Faith, Hope, and Charity (NY: Paulist Press, 2007) with a forward by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel.

Have more questions? Just ask us!

Click the button below to ask us about travel, destinations, lodging, or anything else you’re wondering about.