DAY 1: DEPART USA
We depart USA en route to Warsaw, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2: ARRIVE WARSAW
Upon arrival in Warsaw we are met by our Catholic Travel Centre tour escort, who will accompany us throughout our journey, and transfer to our hotel for dinner and the evening. (D)
DAY 3: WARSAW: EXCURSION TO NIEPOKALANOW & LOWICZ
We begin our sightseeing tour of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, including the Old Town with Zamkowy Square and its King Sigismund’s Column, the first non-ecclesiastic statue, and the Royal Castle, originally a Gothic castle dating back to the 15th century. It was here that the Third of May Constitution was promulgated in 1791. The Market Square has many restaurants, galleries and gift shops. In the New Town is the house where Maria Sklodowska-Curie was born. Then we visit St. Kostka Church, where martyred Solidarity priest Fr. Popieluszko worked and is buried. Here we celebrate Mass.
We see as well the Monument of the Warsaw Uprising and the Ghetto Memorial. This afternoon we drive to the village of Niepokalanow, home to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a Franciscan monastery founded by St. M. Kolbe, at present one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Poland. Here we enjoy a short break for tea/coffee and cake. We continue on to Lowicz to see the beautiful 15th century collegiate church. This evening we return to Warsaw for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 4: WARSAW/ CZESTOCHOWA
Czestochowa is a city which has been for the last 600 years the principal centre of Catholic religion in Poland and is a shrine for pilgrims. We visit the Jasna Gora Monastery which has religious, historic and artistic value. Our guide is a local Pauline priest. The oldest building is the Gothic Chapel of Our Lady in which hangs the famous Black Madonna icon on a magnificent silver and ebony altar. We celebrate Mass at the Shrine, then tour the Treasury. Dinner and the evening are in Czestochowa. (B, D)
DAY 5: CZESTOCHOWA / AUSCHWITZ / KRAKOW
After Mass this morning, we make our way to Oswiecim, the Nazi Concentration Camp of Auschwitz where we visit the cell of the martyred St. Maximiliam Kolbe. We will view an audio visual presentation and tour the grounds, with a special prayer at the cell of the martyred St. Maximilian Kolbe, who voluntarily surrendered his life so that another prisoner might live. We arrive in Krakow for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 6: KRAKOW: ST. FAUSTINA SITES
We begin with morning Mass and a visit to the Convent of Sisters of Mercy in Lagiewniki, where Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, lived and died. Afterward, we begin our tour of Krakow starting with a visit to the Gothic Royal Castle and Cathedral remodeled in the beginning of the 16th century according to the new Renaissance taste. After the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596, the importance of the town declined but Polish Kings were still crowned and buried here.
Later we drive to the Old Town area including a visit to St. Mary’s Church, famous for its wooden altar by Wit Stwosz, plus we see the ancient Market Square and Cloth Hall built before 1349, and later altered in the 16th century. Inside the Hall are many shopping stalls. Time permitting, we take a short break for coffee at the famous coffee shop, Jama Michalika. This place lives on in the many stories about its history and biographies of its most famous patrons – the artists. The artists have decorated the walls of the coffee shop with paintings, drawings, and caricatures, as well as its stained-glass windows. Tonight we have dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
DAY 7: KRAKOW: WADOWICE, KALWARIA ZEBRZYDOWSKA & WIELICZKA
This morning after Mass, we begin our day at Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtla, who would become Pope John Paul II. His museum is in his family house. We then continue to a place that was a popular pilgrimage place for the Pope when he was a young man: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Here, in the beginning of the 17th century, the Palatine of Krakow founded a Franciscan monastery. The church has very rich Baroque decorations. On the slope of the hill and in the valley is an architectural ‘Way of the Cross’ comprising 42 Mannerist and Baroque chapels and some small Calvary churches.
This afternoon we drive to Wieliczka to see the oldest salt mine in Europe, a world-class tourist attraction. It is a unique place where many generations of Polish miners have created an underground world of underground salt lakes with a rich interior of decorated chapels including the famous Blessed Kinga Chapel, plus other galleries and workings made of salt. Wieliczka salt mine is listed by UNESCO as an object of World Cultural Heritage. Dinner is on our own this evening in Krakow. (B)
DAY 8: KRAKOW / VELHRAD / PRAGUE
After Mass, we depart Krakow this morning en route to Prague. We stop in Velhrad to visit the Shrine in memory of St. Cyril and Methodius, who brought Christianity to the Czech lands. Here we celebrate Mass. We arrive in Prague in time for dinner. (B, D)
DAY 9: PRAGUE: VISIT OF THE CITY
This morning our visit will begin in Mala Strana (Little Quarter) with Mass at the Church of Our Lady Victorious, where we will view the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. Nearby is the Church of St. Nicholas, one of the city’s finest. The famous Charles Bridge, lined on both sides by religious statues, leads us out of the Little Quarter into the Old Town. This neighborhood includes the Renaissance Town Hall with its animated astronomical clock. This afternoon is at leisure for shopping and browsing. Dinner will be at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 10: PRAGUE: VISIT OF THE CITY
We start our day with a visit and Mass at St. Vitus Cathedral. We continue with a visit to the Old Town including “The Loreto”, an important place of pilgrimage since 1626. The heart of this complex is a copy of a house believed to be the Virgin Mary’s house that was miraculously transported from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy in 1278. This afternoon is at leisure for shopping. Dinner will be at our accommodations. (B, D)
DAY 11: PRAGUE / DRESDEN
After breakfast we depart for Dresden. Called the “Florence of the North”, Dresden is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany and is famous for its art collection and the jewels of the Green Vault. Upon arrival, we celebrate Mass at the Cathedral. We’ll visit the old town with the Zwinger Museum and the ruins of “Our Lady Cathedral”. (Of course there will be time to purchase some of the famous Dresden porcelain!) Dinner and the evening will be in Dresden. (B, D)
DAY 12: DRESDEN / BERLIN
This morning is at leisure for browsing the many shops or just enjoying the stunning beauty of Dresden’s many Baroque palaces, museums and churches. Early this afternoon we visit Semper Opera House and continue on to Berlin for dinner and the evening. (B, D)
DAY 13: BERLIN: VISIT OF THE CITY
This morning we tour the ever changing city of Berlin. We see the glittering Kurfurstendammerstrasse, one of the great shopping streets of the world. We visit the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, bombed during World War II. We’ll also see the Reichstag with its glass dome, the Brandenburg Gate, symbol of the Wall, the Tiergarden (animal park), with its many faceted gardens, and the Olympic Stadium (where Jesse Owens brought honor to the United States). We celebrate Mass at a local Catholic Church.
This afternoon we take a relaxing boat ride along the banks of the Spree, the river that helped build Berlin. Tonight, we enjoy a festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
DAY 14: RETURN TO USA
We transfer to the Berlin airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)
NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.