A 12-Day Pilgrimage to Central Europe
Central Europe Pilgrimage Sites, Including:
Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Auschwitz, Krakow, Czestochowa, Warsaw and more.
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Day 1 Monday
USA / PRAGUE
Today we depart the USA for our overnight flight to Prague. Meals will be served in flight.
Day 2 Tuesday
Upon our arrival in Prague we meet our Pilgrimage Tours tour director who will remain with you until the end of your tour. Next we depart for downtown Prague where we see Christian Prague’s most beloved relic, the Holy Infant Child in the Church of Our Lady Victorious. At the shrine we see the Holy Infant of Prague statute and museum after celebrating Mass. We continue with sightseeing in the historic Old Town Square. This is the site of the famous 15th century astronomical clock that is a fascinating display of dials and hands and figures. Below the neo-Gothic Old Town Hall we see 27 marble crosses set into the ground. Nearby, we see the Church of St. Nicholas and the gothic Tyn Church dating from the 14th century. In this church you will find, among other interesting relics, the tomb of the astronomer, Tycho Brahe. Dinner and overnight in Prague.
Day 3 Wednesday
This morning we go to Prague’s most notable monument, the Prague Castle. Inseparable from the hundred-spired landscape, it creates a picturesque view. We enter the St. Vitus Cathedral for Mass and to see some of the most prized relics of Czech history including tombs of Czech kings, coronation jewels, and some outstanding artworks. At the castle gallery we see paintings of the most important masters of Renaissance: Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Breughel, Holbein, Dürer and many others. Within the Castle complex, we also visit the All Saints Church rebuilt in Renaissance style, the Romanesque St. George church and the old convent. The afternoon is free for exploration in Prague. Dinner and overnight in Prague.
Day 4 Thursday
PRAGUE / VIENNA
After breakfast, we depart for Vienna with a stop at the Klosterneuburg Abbey. We celebrate Mass at the Monastery Cathedral. Next we visit a holy mountain in the heart of the Czech Republic, the sanctuary of Svata Hora. The hilltop shrine features a renowned miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary and a spectacular basilica with a magnificent silver altar, frescoes and paintings. Next we stop at Melk Abbey along the Danube River. Over 900 years old, Melk Abbey is one of the finest religious sites in Austria where black robed monks still stroll amidst marble sculptures and frescoed walls. Here we will see its glorious gardens, the Emporer’s gallery, Marble Hall and the Library. Continue along to Vienna for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 Friday
The Hofburg Palace Chapel is our destination for a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir this morning followed by a visit to Vienna’s landmark, St. Stephen’s Cathedral where we celebrate Mass. While there, we’ll see the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mariapocs, tour the Cathedral and its catacombs, and those who wish may climb the 343 steps to the top of the Cathedral spire. Next, we’ll take a tour of the Imperial Palace, viewing the private rooms of Emperor Francis Joseph and those of his wife, Empress Elisabeth, as well as the Treasuries with the magnificent crown jewels. Back in the city center, we go to Karlsplatz with its Church of St. Charles Borromeo and Otto Wagners Stadtbahn pavilions. The remainder of the day is at leisure for sightseeing in Vienna. Dinner and overnight in Vienna.
Day 6 Saturday
VIENNA / BUDAPEST
This morning we depart Vienna en route to Budapest with a stop at the Pannonhalma Abbey, rich in religious and historical importance, sitting atop St. Martin Hill. In 1996, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the mountaintop to join the monks in their celebration for the 1000th anniversary of the monastery’s founding. Next we visit Our Lady of Remete, site of a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary. It was here that in 1991, Pope John Paul II kneeled and prayed before the image. We also take time to stroll through the outdoor Marian sanctuary located on the grounds. We continue on to Budapest for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 Sunday
This morning we visit the Basilica of St. Stephen. During his years as king, Stephen built churches, monasteries and hospices for pilgrims to help spread the Christian faith. Featuring magnificent works of art and architecture, the basilica’s greatest treasure lies in a small chapel to the left of the main altar. Here, in a glass casket you will find the country’s most sacred object, the mummified hand of St. Stephen. Next we visit the 13th century church of St. Matthias, officially named the Church of Our Lady. Later in the day we visit the Fisherman’s Bastillon and the new extension of the National Art Gallery in the Castle District. In the afternoon we enjoy a visit to Lajosmizse for the Puszta horse and carriage show and its old world atmostphere. Return to Budapest for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Monday
BUDAPEST / AUSCHWITZ / KRAKOW
This morning we depart Budapest for Krakow via Slovakia. Before arriving in Krakow, we will visit the favorite childhood shrine of the Holy Father, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. Known as “Polish Jerusalem”, the sanctuary is Poland’s second-most famous pilgrimage destination. Here we visit its hillside grounds and visit some of its many beautiful chapels and participate in some of its daily processions. Next we visit the Auschwitz concentration camp where St. Maximilian Kolbe spent the final days of his life and was martyred during World War II. Here we take a guided tour of the grounds prior to visiting the Auschwitz Museum. We continue on to Krakow for dinner and overnight.
Day 9 Tuesday
This morning we visit ancient Krakow, for centuries the residence of the Polish Kings. On Wawel Hill, we find both the Krakow Cathedral and the Wawel Royal Castle. We embark on a guided tour of the Cathedral to include a visit to the Shrine of Saint Stanislaus and the Cathedral Treasury and Museum. Next we visit the Shrine of Blessed Faustina at the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Our day in Krakow ends with a visit to the 14th century Gothic St. Mary’s Basilica, located in the heart of Old Town Krakow in Market Square. Inside we see the world-famous Altar of the Virgin Mary, the largest of its kind in Europe. Here we also find the Altars of Our Lady of Loreto and St. Stanislaus. Finally we explore its two most visited chapels, Our Lady of Czestochowa and St. Anthony.
Day 10 Wednesday
KRAKOW / CZESTOCHOWA / WARSAW
This morning we depart for Czestochowa and enjoy a visit to the monastery at Jasna Gora and one of the most famous Marian Shrines in Europe. It is here that the miraculous icon of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, also known as the Black Madonna, is located. Also venerated as the “Queen of Poland”, it has become the country’s national symbol. Here we celebrate Mass, followed by a visit to the library and the treasury where many valuable were hidden during the war. En route to Warsaw, we make a brief visit to Niepokalanow, the City of the Immaculata, and its Franciscan friary where St. Maximilian Kolbe lived and worked. Here we see the Franciscan Minor Basilica, a Statue of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the site on which John Paul II celebrated Mass in 1983. We depart for Warsaw for dinner and overnight.
Day 11 Thursday
This morning we get an orientation tour of the city, visiting Old Town with its local galleries as well as the Royal Way beginning at Castle Square and the excavations of the fortifications that once surrounded Warsaw, as well as the 14th century Gothic Bridge. Located on the left bank of the Wisla River, the historical quarter of the city has been restored to its pre-war condition. We visit the church dedicated to St. Stanislaus and also visit the convent where Blessed Faustina first joined the religious order. Next we visit the historical churches of St. John’s Cathedral, the Holy Cross Church and Popieluszko. We continue along the Royal Route to see the famous statues, aristocratic residences and Lazienki Park with its famous Chopin monument. Our day ends with a visit to the Royal Castle. Dinner and overnight in Warsaw.
Day 12 Friday
WARSAW / USA
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for the flight home. Though our pilgrimage has come to an end, the blessings of our encounters with the Lord, Our Lady, and the saints are certain to strengthen and encourage us throughout our lifelong pilgrimage.