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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Backyard garden shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes

LourdesPetions1

LourdesPetions2

My summary of the movie entitled: The Road to Lourdes

EWTN screened a movie entitled:  The road to Lourdes, which I recommend that you see if they screen it again.  It is a one hour drama staring Loretta Young. It was made in the 1950’s in black and white.  It is a very interesting story based on a real case of a rich American socialite, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  The doctor said that she probably only had a year to live. She had lost her faith years before this event and was afraid to die because she thought that death is the end of everything.  In addition her marriage was in tatters because of the infidelity of her husband, who appeared to be repentant, however she did not want him back, even to look after her when she was dying. She was talked into going to Lourdes. She witnessed a big miracle at Lourdes and her faith was restored and she was no longer afraid to die. She phoned her husband in Los Angeles and told him that she was coming home to him. He said that he would come to France and travel back to the U.S. with her. Their marriage was back on track. One of the good features of this movie it that it was shot on location in France (including the Lourdes Sanctuary).  It shows what happens in the baths at Lourdes.  I got to see exactly what happens there.  (I missed out on a “bath” at Lourdes in the miraculous waters. The queue was to long.)

The Devotion of the Three Hail Marys

backyardshrinelourdes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My backyard Lourdes Shrine

A severe cough  (The devotion of the Three Hail Marys)

During a long bus trip, Clare developed a very severe cough that was loud and prolonged. The lady who was sitting behind her took out a holy card of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and silently continuously prayed a devotion that is known as The Three Hail Marys, to ask for a healing of the cough. Later on another passenger came up to the lady and touched her with a relic of Saint Philomena. The next morning Clare was completely free of the cough. 

The Three Hail Marys Devotion consists of saying three Hail Marys followed by the invocation “O Mary my mother keep me from mortal sin”. This devotion is in honour the power, wisdom and love with which the Blessed Trinity has infused into the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many favours have been granted throughout the centuries to those who practice this devotion. 

This story comes from the book: Help from heaven (Answers to prayer), which can be read free-online by pressing  here.

The Hail Mary Prayer

Hail Mary full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus
Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Only a Taste of Lourdes Water

A Jesuit Father writes the following account to a religious paper :

 

The horse which was to have brought me to the railway station, fell on the slippery streets, and, so I missed my train. This was indeed very vexing as I had taken every precaution to be in time. We arrived at the station just as the train was moving off; regrets were useless, so I patiently submitted to my lot, and thought I would say my Office during the time which would elapse before the next train, which was due in about an hour. This was no easy task in a busy station, but if I went away, I did not know what to do with a large bottle of Lourdes water, which I had with me. To put it in the luggage room did not seem quite reverent, but I noticed in the corner of the waiting-room, a man, closely wrapped up, who, to all appearance, meant to sit there for several hours. So I walked up to him, and asked if he were going to remain there for some time. “Yes,” was the reply. This ‘Yes’ was uttered shortly, and signified, rather, ‘What does it matter to you?’  “Are you going to stay till eleven o’clock?” “Yes,” was the curt rejoinder. His voice sounded still gruffer. “If I leave this article here, will you look after it?”  “What is it”? he asked. “Oh, nothing very particular; but will you have, the kindness to take care of it?”

 

In a sulky voice, I at length got the reply- “Very well, leave it there.” I then went off to a quiet spot under some trees, near the station. Having finished my Office, I bought a newspaper, in order to pass away the remaining twenty minutes. Scarcely had I begun to read, when I seemed to hear a voice saying to me: “Go and see what has become of the bottle!” “Stupid bottle!” I could have said but the remembrance of its contents restrained me. I wanted to read, but the voice seemed to repeat: “Go and see what has become of your bottle!” I could stand this no longer, so I went; the man was still there, the man of the slow, rough and morose answers, but he sat with his face buried in his hands, and the tears welling through his fingers. “Oh, Father”, he said, “I will tell you all, yes all.” (How I wondered at this unexpected manner of address.) “You see that I am already an old man. I was born and baptized in the Catholic Church, and until the age of eleven, I practised my religion; then I lost my mother, and my father being already dead, I was left alone in the world.

 

Fortunately, I was in the hands of a good master, but he was a staunch Protestant, and he eventually constrained me to embrace his religion; and to please him, I became a Protestant. Later on I married, and God gave me a good Catholic wife who continually entreated me to return to the religion of my childhood; but I put it off from year to year. When you went away, leaving this bottle standing here, I was curious to know what it contained, and to try what a papist priest’s brandy tasted like, but I soon perceived that it was only water after all. As soon as I had taken a mouthful, a change came over me, I felt determined to become a Catholic once more; and I will do so immediately. So I beg of you, Father, to hear my confession.” This announcement was so strange that at first I believed the good man had been drinking something more than my water, and so I wanted to get rid of him. “We have not any time now,” I replied, “for the train will be here in a few minutes; besides, this is not the place for such things. Come to me at X.”

 

“Now, Father, now,” was the rejoinder. “I cannot come to X; do hear my confession and I promise you that I will go to church next Sunday with my wife.” “Do you know,” I asked, “where this water comes from?” “No” he replied. “It is from the miraculous spring of the Immaculate Mother of God at Lourdes.” “Well then, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who has obtained this grace for me,” he said. Thereupon I lost no more time and before the train left, I had reconciled this aged sinner to his God.

 

Help for people who are suffering from Panic attacks

Prayer is the most important thing to help the sufferer of panic attack. I have had firsthand experience of this unpleasant condition and have also given voluntary counseling, to people who have been sent to me, by a priest friend who did not know what else to do to help people who came to him, seeking prayers and help to overcome their panic attacks.

These people did recover from the condition.  When you add prayer to the equation things improve out of sight.

 

As well as prayer, I would like to recommend to your friend the following advice.  There are many books on panic attack, however the one which I would recommend to your friend is entitled: Living with It. The author of the book is Bev Aisbett. It is published by HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.

 

A search of the Internet  will quickly locate web sites which distribute the book.  What is different about this book, is that it is actually a cartoon book with captions.  The author of the book Bev Aisbett, is a professional cartoon artist, living in Sydney.  She wrote this book, after suffering and recovering from this debilitating condition.  The visual humour in the book is extremely valuable to the sufferer of panic attack, and instructs them in what the condition really is, and the techniques which you can use to overcome panic attack.

 

Briefly the symptoms of panic attack are caused by a release of a large flood of adrenaline into the blood stream, which ordinarily is meant to protect you in dangerous situations, such as when you would flee if you saw a violent person running toward you to physically attack you, or to help you to move with great haste out of the path of a speeding car, which was coming toward you. However in the case of panic attack the body releases a flood of these chemicals inappropriately, (when there is no real danger).  However you are not sunk in this matter. There are steps that you can take to deal with the situation and be healed of panic attack.

 

I will outline some of these for you now.  If you feel the condition of panic attack coming upon you with its unmistakable symptoms of heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, extraordinary fear that doesn’t match the situation that you are in, (for example you may be just simply shopping at the supermarket, where no real danger exists), there are special breathing techniques which can be used.  Another technique is that you dare your body to unleash the symptoms upon you.  The symptoms will abate or stop completely, if you adopt an attitude that says,  “I do not care if the body unleashes the symptoms of panic attack upon me”.  The release of adrenaline in panic attacks is not able to operate when this attitude is adopted.  The more often you get on top of this matter the sooner you will recover from this condition. 

 

It has been observed that consciously switching to a calm attitude, during a panic attack, somehow enables the brain to switch off further releases of Adrenalin, thereby minimising the severity of the attack.

 

The habitual use of relaxation techniques, such as lying down and listening to soothing music or using imagination techniques, such as the imagining yourself in a very relaxed calm place such as the beach, are also useful in the treatment and management of panic attack.  It is important to replace negative and fearful ideas with the calming and positive ones.

 

It doesn’t really matter what stresses in your life led to panic attack, the important thing is dealing with it, and recovering from it.

 

Is your autistic child non-verbal? I may be able to help you.

Do you have an autistic child who is non-verbal.  My oldest child was born with autism and she could not speak. She was already three and a half years of age and I was extremely worried, because my brother was also autistic and was non-verbal all his life, (except for two words, Mum and John.) 

I prayed hard for help and it came. I developed a simple method that cost next to nothing and was easy and enjoyable and  best of all very successful.

If you wish to learn how to do this for your own child, please visit the following link on my website. 

http://missionbell.homestead.com/teachingautisticchildrentospeak.html 

Here is a blog that might interest you from a chaplain at Lourdes, in France. Visit the autism page on his blog at:

http://immaculataconceptio.wordpress.com/prayer-petitions/autism/

 Novena for the healing of autism 

http://missionbell.homestead.com/novenaforautisticchildren.html