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

Help in financial trouble (A favour granted through the intercession of St Philomena the Wonder Worker)

page3The following story was told to me by a friend. Irene was in financial trouble and had debts of about $1,000 to pay off. She had no way of doing this and was very worried. Irene made a novena to St Philomena for a solution.  The bank sent her a statement on an old account which previously had a zero balance in it. She had not used this account in years. There was a balance of $1,000 in the account.  Irene was confused and telephoned the bank for an explanation.  They told here that someone had deposited the money into her account.  Irene wanted to know who that was, but no one at the bank knew! She was able to use this money to pay off her debts and to this day many years later, Irene still does not know who deposited the money into her account.

A wedding veil for St Philomena!

I had a church sized statue of St Philomena in storage. When I came to the shed that the statue was kept in there was a nice surprise.  Spiders had spun St Philomena a wonderful wedding veil !  It had a long train and also went over her face down to the floor.  The statue could be seen through the veil. It was a great sight. The veil was spun over the crown of roses on the statue’s head. I only wish that I had taken a picture of it.

How I came to know St Philomena the Wonder Worker

page3

In 1976 a Carmelite priest started up a club for singles. I was then twenty years of age. In early May of that year our club attended a dance some miles away. I met my husband Chris there. He joined our club. I liked him very much but he took no interest in me. He also thought that I was too young for him anyway. (There is an eleven year age difference). To make matters worse I was extremely shy. By September I had made no progress in getting his attention.

A novena was needed. I went down to a Catholic bookshop (in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta) during my work lunch hour. I asked the shop assistant for a novena to a good miracle working saint. She was very busy with customers who were picking out First Holy Communion gifts, so she pulled out a box full of prayer cards and leaflets and told me to go through it and select whatever I needed. I then found a leaflet on St Philomena the Wonder Worker. It had a novena, some sketchy information and a black and white picture on it.

The most important bit of information on it was that St Philomena was a wonder worker and that she worked miracles of every kind for people in every class of society.

I had never heard of her before, although I know now that my great aunty Rose’s second name was Philomena, so that implies that my Irish great grandmother (who had migrated to Australia) had known about St Philomena and my mother has since told me that the Church of St Brigid, which was built in the middle of the nineteenth century* which was near our home (on the corner of the street that we lived in) had at one stage had a statue of St Philomena in it. (This must have been when I was very little, or even before my birth because I had absolutely no recollection of it).

I made the novena to St Philomena in September 1976 for a boyfriend. I did not specify anyone in particular and Chris took me out to the pictures the following month on October 15. St. Philomena was fast!

We were married on December 3, the following year. In December 2007 we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  We have five children (three girls and two boys).

Since then St Philomena has done a great deal in my life and I have seen her work wonders for myself and for many others.

Mary Ann Matulis

(Australia)

*St Brigid’s Church at Prospect was demolished in 1975.

Some more St Philomena items

Novena to St Philomena the Wonder Worker for the healing of autism

St Philomena chaplet  

St Philomena’s intercession for mothers and babies

Many more St Philomena topics are listed here

Would you like to join a Living Rosary? Click here for more information.

Read my book: Help from heaven (Answers to prayer), free on-line.

The powerful intercession of the Holy Souls in Purgatory for their benefactors and ways to help them.

If St Philomena has granted you a favour, please let everyone know about it by putting a comment in the comments box.  Thank you.

A technology miracle (a favour of The Infant Jesus, St Philomena and St Anthony)

The following account was sent to me to use in my book;  Help from heaven (Answers to prayer) and to generally let people know about this great favour. 

My computer laptop adapter got burned one month ago due to power fluctuations in my home in India. Due to a sudden high voltage to the power line, the adapter of the laptop started smoking and the next thing I knew it was dead and would not work at all, so I purchased a new adaptor and today the thing happened; the voltage changed and my new adaptor started smoking. I thought; “not again! I cannot buy other adapter as they are quite expensive”.

I made a quick prayer to Miraculous Infant Jesus, St Philomena and St Anthony, asking them to make my adapter work in spite of all the smoke and burning. I felt a bit silly asking such a thing from the saints.

Believe it or not my adapter works today !!!!!! 

Want to read more stories of answers to prayer? Click here to read my book (free of charge), which is full of wonderful answers to prayer that will inspire you. It also has an article on the Rosary, about miracles, prayers and poems.

Novena to St Philomena

(composed by St John Vianney) 

O great St Philomena, glorious virgin and martyr, Wonder-Worker of our age, I return most fervent thanks to God for the miraculous gifts bestowed on thee, and beseech thee to impart to me a share in the graces and blessings of which thou hast been the channel to so many souls.

Through the heroic fortitude with which thou didst confront the fury of tyrants and brave the frowns of the mighty rather than swerve from thy allegiance to the King of Heaven, obtain for me purity of body and soul, purity of thought and affection.

Through thy patience under multiplied sufferings, obtain for me a submissive acceptance of all the afflictions it may please God to send me, and as thou didst miraculously escape unhurt from the waters of the Tiber, into which thou wert cast by order of Thy persecutor, so may I  pass through the waters of tribulation without detriment to my soul.

In addition to these favours, obtain for me, O faithful spouse of Jesus, the particular intention I earnestly recommend to thee at this moment.

(state your petition)

O pure virgin and holy martyr, deign to cast a look of pity from Heaven on thy devoted servant, comfort me in affliction, assist me in danger, above all come to my aid in the hour of death.

Watch over the interests of the Church of God, pray for its exultation and prosperity, the extension of the Faith, for the clergy, for the perseverance of the just, the conversion of sinners, and the relief of souls in Purgatory, especially those dear to me.

O great Saint, whose triumph we celebrate on earth, intercede for me, that I may one day behold the crown of glory bestowed on thee in Heaven, and eternally bless Him Who so liberally rewards for all eternity the sufferings endured for His love during this short life. Amen.

Oh St Philomena, virgin and martyr, pray for us so that through your powerful intercession we may obtain that purity of spirit and heart that leads to the perfect love of God.  Amen.

Learn about the powerful intercession of The Holy Souls in Purgatory for their benefactors

Novena to St Philomena the Wonder Worker for the healing of autism:

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

St Philomena’s help for an alcoholic

Concord statue
 
 
 
 

In the 1950’s a man left his wife and five children because of his alcoholism. His mother-in-law prayed to St Philomena to help him.  The Salvation Army found him in a very derelict state and took him in and rehabilitated him. In gratitude his mother-in-law whose name happens to be Philomena donated the statue of St Philomena pictured above to a parish in Sydney, Australia. St Philomena is powerful in her intercession for those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs and even cigarettes.  The account above was related to me by a friend, who personally knew the lady mentioned in the story above.

St Philomena and the doctor’s Bill

A lady told me this story which happened over eighty years ago in Ireland.  One of her relatives was very ill.  The family did not telephone the doctor to come to the house because they knew that if they did not have the money to pay him that he would refuse to come. They prayed to St. Philomena for help for the sick family member.  Later on in the day the doctor came to the house to see the sick girl.  They were stunned and asked him who had asked him to come.  He said that a tall girl with long black hair had come into his office and had paid the fee and asked him to come down to their home to visit the sick girl. The family had not talked about the matter to anyone except to St. Philomena in prayer. 

 Novena to St Philomena the Wonder Worker for the healing of autism 

Please visit the autism novena webpage for the details of how to enrol a person who has autism in the novena.

The healing of migraine headaches (Saint Philomena the Wonder Worker)

A lady came to my house. She was selling cleaning detergents in support of a charity. We had a chat.  She told me that she suffered from constant migraine headaches. I asked her if she would like a book and a novena card on Saint Philomena and explained that this saint is a great miracle worker. Even though the lady is a member of the Anglican Church, she willingly agreed. A year later the same lady returned and I recognised her and asked. “Aren’t you the lady that I gave a Saint Philomena book to?” “Yes” she replied.  I then asked her if she had prayed to Saint Philomena. The lady told me that she had prayed to the saint and that her migraine headaches were healed. In addition she said that she had asked Saint Philomena to improve her ten pin bowling score and this was also granted.

Useful links 

Novena to St Philomena the Wonder worker for the healing of autism

Each person who is enrolled in this novena will be prayed for regularly by a priest at Lourdes, in France.