Visit the holiest places in Poland, Germany, and Vienna and experience the unforgettable Oberammergau Passion play on this summer pilgrimage. Led by international tour guide and theological historian Marcellino D’Ambrosio aka “Dr. Italy,” this 11-day trip will take you to the cities of Krakow, Warsaw, Salzburg, and more. Explore places where Pope John Paul II and St. Faustina lived. See ancient basilicas, visit the notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz, and pray at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland. Enjoy daily Mass with the pilgrimage chaplains who will accompany this very special tour. Dr. Italy will be our principal guide, providing expert commentary on saints, sites, and shrines as well as on the historic Oberammergau Passion Play which will be culmination of our pilgrimage.
August 3 – 13, 2020
NOTE: Mass for our group will be celebrated daily by our pilgrimage chaplains in some of the most amazing sites in Europe!
Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and his wife, Susan
Known on Catholic radio and TV as “Dr. Italy,” Dr. D’Ambrosio is a NY Times best-selling author and a renowned commentator on Catholic issues appearing on Fox News’ “Geraldo Rivera At Large” and Bill O’Reilly’s radio show. A doctoral student of the renowned Jesuit theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles, Marcellino is an expert on the history of the Church in Europe and has a special familiarity with the shrines we will be visiting on this very special pilgrimage. Dr. Italy will be our principal guide, providing expert commentary on saints, sites, and shrines of Germany, Vienna, and Poland as well as on the Oberammergau Passion play.
Depart on an overnight flight from the USA to Warsaw, Poland. Dinner and breakfast are served on the plane. Gateway airport will be either Newark or JFK and DFW. Individual add-on rates are available upon request from all major airports. Group fares require a minimum of ten passengers to be traveling together from any one airport.
Welcome to Poland! Upon arrival, we are greeted by our English-speaking tour guide and assisted to the motor coach where we head into Warsaw’s city center. We have a walking tour of the Old Town with a visit to Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Warsaw’s oldest church. We celebrate Mass at St. James church, where St. Faustina went on her first trip to Warsaw. We also see Lazienki Park with the Palace on the Water (exterior view), the summer residence of the last Polish King. Settle into our hotel for a well-deserved night of rest. Dinner and over- night in Warsaw.
Time permitting this morning we visit St. Stanislaw Kostka Church to see the special exhibition devoted to Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko, who was murdered by the communists. In the year 2010, the beatification of Father Popiełuszko took place in Warsaw. Our drive takes us to Niepokalanow to see the Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe, and visit Niepokalanow Sanctuary and the Franciscan Monastery. In the afternoon, we arrive Czestochowa, one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in Europe where we tour the Jasna Gora complex that withstood the repeated onslaught of overwhelming Swedish Forces during the religious wars of the 17th century. Since then its Black Madonna is venerated as the “Queen of Poland” and has become the country’s national symbol. We visit the Pauline Monastery with its priceless treasures, including the Miraculous Icon and celebrate Mass here. Saint John Paul II was known to make frequent visits to the monastery throughout his life. We will have time to venerate the priceless treasures contained within, including the Miraculous Icon. Dinner and overnight in the area.
Today we begin our day with a visit to Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi concentration camp where unspeakable atrocities occurred. We will see the cell of St. Maximillian Kolbe and the Martyrdom Museum recalling the horrors of the Holocaust. Continue to Wadowice, the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. Visit his childhood home, now a museum and the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary where he was baptized. We have time to stop at a local bakery where St. John Paul loved to have his favorite dessert. We arrive at Krakow for dinner and overnight.
We explore Krakow, one of the oldest cities in Poland and its first capital city. The entire Old Town area is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. See the amazing Wawel Hill with the first Polish royal residence, the Wawel Castle (exterior view) and the Cathedral, as well as the majestic St. Mary’s Church. We will also see the Cloth Hall, City Hall Tower, Kanonicza Street, where Pope John Paul II resided while living in Krakow and the Collegium Maius where he was a student. After lunch, on our own, we will visit the Divine Mercy Shrine in Lagiewniki, where Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, lived and died. Celebrate Mass at the Shrine. We also visit the Have No Fear Center built in honor of St. John Paul. Dinner at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Krakow.
This morning we celebrate Mass at the Shrine in Kalwaria, also known as the “Polish Jerusalem.” We stop for lunch (on our own) in Olomouc, located in the heart of the Haná mountain region. The main square is among the country’s most beautiful, surrounded by historical buildings and protected by UNESCO. The central streets are dotted with beautiful churches, testifying to the city’s long history as a bastion of the Catholic Church in central Europe. We arrive in Vienna, Austria for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of imperial Vienna, home of Strauss and Mozart and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We see the spectacular St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Votiv Church where we celebrate Mass. At St. Stephen’s, we’ll see the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mariapocs, tour the Cathedral and its catacombs. We also visit Karlsplatz with its Church of St. Charles Borromeo and Otto Wagner’s Stadtbahn pavilions. Enjoy exploring the city on our own in the afternoon and be sure to taste the famous Vienna pastries such as Sacher cake. Dinner is at leisure tonight. Overnight in Vienna before we continue our pilgrimage to Bavaria for the Oberammergau Passion Play
Following breakfast, we depart for Salzburg, Austria, a jewel set on the banks of the Salzach River, and the birthplace of Mozart. This afternoon we celebrate Mass at Maria Plain Shrine before arriving the city of music. Salzburg is compact and best explored on foot. Narrow, winding lanes and secluded passageways are evidence of its medieval roots. The heritage of the Catholic Church is evident in the Archbishop’s Residence and the decoration of the State Rooms, available for viewing. Visit the mighty Romanesque Cathedral, the Nonnberg Convent of Benedictine nuns, and the Fortress Hohensalzburg. We stop at Hellbrunn Palace to enjoy its gardens and hidden trick fountains. We then continue on toward Oberammergau, where we have a restful night and dinner at the hotel before seeing the Passion Play.
Today is the highlight of our tour, the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play, staged every ten years and performed by the local Bavarian townspeople. Started 367 years ago, the Oberammergau Passion Play is still an authentic portrayal depicting the last week of Christ’s life. The play takes place upon an outdoor stage, and the actors are people from the village who have prepared for their roles for many years. Enjoy time at leisure to explore the woodcarver’s village and visit the Oberammergau Passion Play museum before the start of the play in the afternoon. We break for dinner before returning to the theater for the conclusion of the passion play. Mass will be celebrated in the morning. Overnight Oberammergau area.
Departing Oberammergau, we celebrate Mass at the magnificent Ettal Monastery (TBC) before driving to Munich, the capital of Bavaria for an afternoon city tour. Our visit includes Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) the symbol of Munich with its towering twin onion-domed steeples. We also see Asamkirche, the most famous church in Munich, and the Marienplatz with its whimsical clock. Tonight, we have a fun and festive farewell dinner to celebrate the completion of our pilgrimage.
After breakfast, we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight home.
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