A pilgrimage to Italy and France (with a London extension) for people in Australia in May, 2010

Pilgrimage to Italy and France

(Package tour BBQD00515)

Day 1 – Saturday 15 May – Rome, Italy

After arrival check into your hotel. At 6 pm, meet your tour director, then enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday 16th of May – Rome

Attend the weekly general audience of the pope (subject to availability).  This afternoon, visit St Paul Outside the walls and the catacombs.  During the persecutions, the catacombs were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, visit St John Lateran Basilica and the Holy Stairs, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and consists of 28 white marble steps. As a favourite of pilgrims everywhere, these steps may only be ascended on the knees, then, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. (B)

Day 3 – Monday 17th of May – Rome

This morning, enjoy a guided visit of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and the Last Judgment. Continue to monumental St Peter’s Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber River and visit the Colosseum, one of the New 7 wonders of the world, and the Roman Forum where Roman legions marched in triumph (B)

Day 4 – Tuesday 18th of May – Rome – Mugnano Del Cardinale – Naples

Visit the Abbey of Montecassino, the first of the Benedictine monasteries founded by St Benedict around 529 Ad, and its museum. Then, continue south to the small town of Mugnano Del Cardinale to visit the sanctuary of Saint Philomena. Spend time here before spending your night in Italy’s most colourful city, Naples. (B)

Day 5 – Wed 19th of May – Naples – San Giovanni Rotondo.

Journey to Italy’s eastern coast and San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the beloved St Padre Pio.  Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon.  (B, D)

Day 6 – Thursday 20th of May – San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion to Monte Sant’Angelo

Visit the Friary of Padro Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional and the old church where he received the stigmata. Also visit the new church. Afterwards, visit the nearby shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St Michael the Archangel appeared in 490 AD, 492 AD and 1656 (B, D)

Day 7 – Friday, May 21 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Cascia – Assisi

Visit Lanciano and the church that is home to an 8th Century Eucharistic Miracle. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of St Rita of Cascia. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St Francis and St Clare. (B, D)

Day 8 – Sunday, May 23 – Assisi – Siena – Florence

Celebrate Mass this morning followed by a guided walking tour of Assisi. Visit the Basilicas of St Francis and St Clare. See the crucifix that spoke to St Francis.  Also visit the St Mary of the Angels Basilica and the  Portiuncula. On the way to Florence, stop in Siena and visit the Sanctuary of St Catherine and the Basilica of St Dominic.  (B,D)

Day 9 – Sunday, May 23 – Florence

Your walking tour with a local guide features a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s David, the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Balance of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 – Monday, May 24 – Florence – Padua – Venice

Depart for Padua and visit the Basilica of St Anthony to see the tomb and reliquaries of this miracle-working saint and patron of lost and stolen articles. Journey on to Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Enter by private boat and meet your local guide. Visit St Mark’s Square and its Basilica and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 11 – Tuesday, May 25 – Venice – Turin

First to nearby Vicenza for the included sightseeing which will take in the main highlights and inside visit of the famous Teatro Olimpico. Then continue on to Turin, home of the Shroud of Turin. (B)

Day 12 – Wednesday, May 26 – Turin – Lyon, France

Spend the morning visiting the Turin Cathedral where the Shroud of Turin is housed and can be viewed. Then cross the border and enter France. Spend the night in Lyon a UNESCO world heritage site. (B)

Day 13 – Thursday, May 28 – Lyon – Nevers

Continue your journey to Paray-le-Monial, home of the chapel of the apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Arrive in Nevers. (B, D)

Day 14 – Friday, May 28 – Nevers – Avignon

Visit St Gildard in Nevers, where St Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful incorrupt body of St Bernadette. Retrace your journey south and visit the St John Vianney Shrine. See the saint’s incorrupt body, walk through his home, and explore the church, where he preached and heard Confessions. Continue around Lyon and arrive in Avignon for overnight. (B)

Day 15 – Saturday, May 29 – Avignon – Carcassone – Lourdes

Enjoy a walk through this pretty town where the papacy resided in the 14th century. Head to Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO world heritage site. Finish your day in Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858 (B, D)

Day 16 – Sunday, May 30 – Lourdes

Your walking tour with a local guide includes visits to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine and St Bernadette’s birthplace and family home. You may wish to bathe in the healing waters or attend the ‘Blessing of the Sick.’ Also, you may wish to join this evening’s Rosary and candlelight procession. (B)

Day 17 – Monday, May 31 – Lourdes – Bordeaux

Skirt the sandy dunes and swamps of the Landes region in Gascony on the way to Bordeaux. An orientation tour on arrival acquaints you with this historic port. (B)

Day 18 – Tuesday, June 1 – Bordeaux – Paris

Travel through the Grand Champagne wine growing area, north through Saintes. Take the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine for a short stop in Tours. Pass the castles of Amboise and Chaumont for an afternoon arrival in Paris. (B)

Day 19 – Wednesday, June 2 – Paris

One full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food and joie de vivre. Included sightseeing with a local expert of many of the best known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opera, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides and the Champs Elysees. Optional excursions are also available. Celebrate the success of your tour with an optional French farewell dinner. (B)

Day 20 – Thursday, June 3 – Paris

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast with a group transfer to the airport for your homebound flight. (B)

Pilgrimage to Italy and France with London Extension.

(BBOD00515)

Day 1 – Saturday 15 May – Rome, Italy

After arrival check into your hotel. At 6 pm, meet your tour director, then enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2 – Sunday 16th of May – Rome

Attend the weekly general audience of the pope (subject to availability).  This afternoon, visit St Paul Outside the walls and the catacombs.  During the persecutions, the catacombs were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, visit St John Lateran Basilica and the Holy Stairs, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, and consists of 28 white marble steps. As a favourite of pilgrims everywhere, these steps may only be ascended on the knees, then, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. (B)

Day 3 – Monday 17th of May – Rome

This morning, enjoy a guided visit of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and the Last Judgment. Continue to monumental St Peter’s Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber River and visit the Colosseum, one of the New 7 wonders of the world, and the Roman Forum where Roman legions marched in triumph (B)

Day 4 – Tuesday 18th of May – Rome – Mugnano Del Cardinale – Naples

Visit the Abbey of Montecassino, the first of the Benedictine monasteries founded by St Benedict around 529 Ad, and its museum. Then, continue south to the small town of Mugnano Del Cardinale to visit the sanctuary of Saint Philomena. Spend time here before spending your night in Italy’s most colourful city, Naples. (B)

Day 5 – Wed 19th of May – Naples – San Giovanni Rotondo.

Journey to Italy’s eastern coast and San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the beloved St Padre Pio.  Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon.  (B, D)

Day 6 – Thursday 20th of May – San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion to Monte Sant’Angelo

Visit the Friary of Padro Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional and the old church where he received the stigmata. Also visit the new church. Afterwards, visit the nearby shrine of Monte Sant’Angelo, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St Michael the Archangel appeared in 490 AD, 492 AD and 1656 (B, D)

Day 7 – Friday, May 21 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Cascia – Assisi

Visit Lanciano and the church that is home to an 8th Century Eucharistic Miracle. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of St Rita of Cascia. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St Francis and St Clare. (B, D)

Day 8 – Sunday, May 23 – Assisi – Siena – Florence

Celebrate Mass this morning followed by a guided walking tour of Assisi. Visit the Basilicas of St Francis and St Clare. See the crucifix that spoke to St Francis.  Also visit the St Mary of the Angels Basilica and the Portiuncula. On the way to Florence, stop in Siena and visit the Sanctuary of St Catherine and the Basilica of St Dominic.  (B, D)

Day 9 – Sunday, May 23 – Florence

Your walking tour with a local guide features a visit to the Academy of Fine Arts to see Michelangelo’s David, the Cathedral and Giotto’s Bell Tower. Balance of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10 – Monday, May 24 – Florence – Padua – Venice

Depart for Padua and visit the Basilica of St Anthony to see the tomb and reliquaries of this miracle-working saint and patron of lost and stolen articles. Journey on to Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Enter by private boat and meet your local guide. Visit St Mark’s Square and its Basilica and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)

Day 11 – Tuesday, May 25 – Venice – Turin

First to nearby Vicenza for the included sightseeing which will take in the main highlights and inside visit of the famous Teatro Olimpico. Then continue on to Turin, home of the Shroud of Turin. (B)

Day 12 – Wednesday, May 26 – Turin – Lyon, France

Spend the morning visiting the Turin Cathedral where the Shroud of Turin is housed and can be viewed. Then cross the border and enter France. Spend the night in Lyon a UNESCO world heritage site. (B)

Day 13 – Thursday, May 28 – Lyon – Nevers

Continue your journey to Paray-le-Monial, home of the chapel of the apparitions and where Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Also, visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Arrive in Nevers. (B, D)

Day 14 – Friday, May 28 – Nevers – Avignon

Visit St Gildard in Nevers, where St Bernadette spent her life as a nun. See the beautiful incorrupt body of St Bernadette. Retrace your journey south and visit the St John Vianney Shrine. See the saint’s incorrupt body, walk through his home, and explore the church, where he preached and heard Confessions. Continue around Lyon and arrive in Avignon for overnight. (B)

Day 15 – Saturday, May 29 – Avignon – Carcassone – Lourdes

Enjoy a walk through this pretty town where the papacy resided in the 14th century. Head to Carcassonne, a medieval town and UNESCO world heritage site. Finish your day in Lourdes, one of the world’s most famous places of pilgrimage. Visit the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858 (B, D)

Day 16 – Sunday, May 30 – Lourdes

Your walking tour with a local guide includes visits to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine and St Bernadette’s birthplace and family home. You may wish to bathe in the healing waters or attend the ‘Blessing of the Sick.’ Also, you may wish to join this evening’s Rosary and candlelight procession. (B)

Day 17 – Monday, May 31 – Lourdes – Bordeaux

Skirt the sandy dunes and swamps of the Landes region in Gascony on the way to Bordeaux. An orientation tour on arrival acquaints you with this historic port. (B)

Day 18 – Tuesday, June 1 – Bordeaux – Paris

Travel through the Grand Champagne wine growing area, north through Saintes. Take the comfortable Autoroute L’Aquitaine for a short stop in Tours. Pass the castles of Amboise and Chaumont for an afternoon arrival in Paris. (B)

Day 19 – Wednesday, June 2 – Paris

One full day to explore the city that’s known throughout the world for its fashions, art and museums, delicious food and joie de vivre. Included sightseeing with a local expert of many of the best known Parisian sights: La Sorbonne, Arc de Triomphe, Opera, Madeleine, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid near the Louvre, the Invalides and the Champs Elysees. Optional excursions are also available. Celebrate the success of your tour with an optional French farewell dinner. (B)

Day 20 – Thursday, June 3, Paris – London

Drive through the French countryside by way of the fast autoroute to Calaise. Board your ferry for the UK and travel through the lush English countryside to London for the next two nights. (B)

Day 21 – Friday, June 4 – London

Morning sightseeing with a local guide includes all the famous landmarks: Knightsbridge with Harrods, the houses of parliament and Big Ben beside the River Thames, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.  The morning’s highlights are a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral and the ceremonial pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, if held.  The afternoon  is free for you to sightsee on your own or join an optional excursion to the Tower of London with its fabulous Crown Jewels. Tonight, we recommend our optional Taste of London excursion with dinner followed by a guided illuminations cruise on the River Thames. (B)

Day 22 – Saturday, June 5 – London

Your tour ends this morning after breakfast with a group transfer to the airport for your homebound fight. (B)

The prices of these two pilgrimages will reduce a fair bit, if there are thirty or more people.

For full details including pricing:

Contact: Felicity Tunhavasana (group organiser)

Mobile phone number 0412 437335

Email:    felicitastunhavasana@yahoo.com.au

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Saint Philomena The Wonder Worker (poem)

The king and queen no baby had;
They longed to be a mum and dad;
To pagan gods they prayed each day;
But still no baby came their way.

Then good advice was given them;
It proved to be a priceless gem;
Christians are what you should be;
Then a baby blessing;
You shall see!

When this was done;
The grace was granted;
And with little Philomena;
They were enchanted! 

When little Philomena had reached twelve years;
Bad news filled up their eyes with tears;
On their country small and poor;
The emperor of Rome;
declared a war !

Let’s go to Rome;
The King told wife and daughter;
To plead with the emperor;
to prevent this slaughter.

At the mighty
Emperor’s court;
They pleaded with him;
the war to abort.

The emperor had a new idea;
He said there’s nothing more to fear.
Give me your daughter;
To be my wife;
And I promise her;
A wonderful life! 

The offer took them
By surprise;
A refusal would mean;
Their country’s demise.

The king and queen were filled with gladness;
But Philomena was overcome by sadness.

To be a bride of Christ;
She’d already taken a vow;
No way would Philomena;
Let it be broken now. 
The answer was a steadfast no;
The emperor now his force would show! 

To the dungeon Philomena was deployed;
All manner of torture was employed;
It was all to no avail;
The emperor’s methods were doomed to fail.
Because God Himself defended her soul;
Philomena kept her eyes on her heavenly goal. 

The maiden Philomena;
Was strengthened by faith and grace;
Until the day she could behold;
God face to face.

Finally the maiden Philomena was beheaded;
And the onlookers wept;
For many centuries in the catacombs;
She silently slept.   

At last her relics were located;
And the excavators were elated;
When Philomena’s relics,
Were bought up to the ground;
Miracles started to abound !

Some folks thought that miracles;
Had stopped with the Bible;
With Philomena;
They had a revival.

The sneering cynics;
Who had announced God’s demise;
Were by Philomena’s miracles;
Dealt a surprise.

Saint Philomena’s fame;
Spread everywhere;
And people ran to her;
Pleading in prayer.

No one was forgotten;
No one was left out;
The cripples;
The dying;
The sad;
And the needy;
All of them found;
Her miracles speedy.
 
From heaven she surveys;
All of our needs;
And on our behalf;
With God she pleads. 

Say a prayer to Saint Philomena;
And light her a candle;
Because there is no problem;
That she cannot handle.

There’s one thing more;
We should not ignore;
From her grave of silent obscurity;
She has come back to teach us;
About goodness and purity. 

 by Mary Ann Matulis

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