Day 1 – Depart for Warsaw
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Warsaw. Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 – Arrive Warsaw
Welcome to Warsaw, Poland! Upon arrival, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival’s Hall where you will be greeted by a tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. Following check-in at your hotel, your pilgrimage will officially begin with Mass. It will be celebrated at 3/9 Zytnia Street, the site where Helena Kowalska (St. Faustina) entered the convent (Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy). Following Mass, you will enjoy a rich dinner and have the opportunity to explore the city of Warsaw before retiring for a restful overnight.
Day 3 – Warsaw
Your day will begin with breakfast followed by Mass at St. James Church, iconic for its tower and square base. This church is where Helena Kowalska prayed extensively upon entering Warsaw. Also, it is where she confessed all that burdened her soul, and asked for the advice of Rev. James Dabrowski which eventually resulted in the Saint entering the convent. Following this prayerful morning, your day of sightseeing begins. Your group will explore the Old Town, comprised of beautiful mazelike cobblestone streets and picturesque architecture that are symbols of Poland’s successful rebuild following its destruction during World War II. Some of the sites will include the Market Square (the center of the city filled with restaurants, cafés and shops), the Barbican, defense-like structures that have been rebuilt following World War II, and the Warsaw Ghetto monument that commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 during World War II. You will also take in the Lazienski Park, a beautifully landscaped park, the Chopin Statue (a large bronze statue of musician, Frederic Chopin), and the Royal Castle (the official residence of the Polish monarchs). In the afternoon, you will visit the Stanislaw Kostka Church and view a special exhibit dedicated to Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko. This priest was a great personality of the Catholic Church, and killed by communists in 1984. In 1987, St. John Paul II visited here to pray in front of Fr. Popieluzko’s tomb. Your tour of Warsaw will conclude by returning to the hotel for a delicious meal, followed by an overnight at your hotel.
Day 4 – Warsaw – Niepokalanow – Swinice Warckie – Czestochowa
We transfer to Niepokalanow (approximately forty-five minutes). This Franciscan Monastery is in the community of Teresin, and was founded by martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe. This remarkable saint was arrested by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz, giving his life for the life of another prisoner. Following your visit to this Holy Monastery, you will transfer to the village of Swinice Warckie. In Swinice Warckie, you will visit the church of St. Casimir. This historically rich parish is the site of baptism for St. Faustin formally known as, Helena Kowalska). Little Helena received her first confession, and First Holy Communion, at this parish. Additionally,she and her family attended Sunday Mass and other services at this church. After visiting this simple, yet elegant church, you will continue your transfer to Czestochowa (approximately two and a half hours). Upon arrival in Czestochowa, you will check-in to your hotel, enjoy a magnificent dinner, and a restful overnight.
Day 5 – Czestochowa – Wadowice – Zakopane
Today, you will awake in the home of the grandest pilgrimage shrine of Poland since the 14th century! You will begin your day with breakfast and Mass at Jasna Gora Monastery. This hill-top monastery is home to the beloved icon of the Black Madona. Additionally, St. John Paul II have made frequent visits to this monastery throughout his life. Tradition tells us that this icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist, discovered by St. Helen, and later enshrined. While here, you will have the opportunity to venerate not only the Holy Icon, but also many other priceless treasures that are contained within. Following your prayerful visit to the Chapel of the Black Madonna, you will continue on to Warsaw (approximately two hours), the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II). While in the small city of Wadowice, you will have the opportunity to visit the church of where this beloved Saint was baptized, and attended Mass as a child. Following this historically captivating experience, you will continue your transfer to the resort village of Zakopane (approximately one hour and forty minutes). Upon arrival in Zakopane, you will enjoy dinner at your hotel before resting up for the next day of activities.
Day 6 – Zakopane – Krakow
We will take a cable car ride to the nearby mountaintop. At the top, you will truly experience God’s magnificent Glory when you look out at the magnificent panoramic view. Following the many photos captured top of the mountain, your group will head to the Jaszczorowka Chapel. This architecturally distinct chapel was visited many times by the young, Karol Wojtyla (St. John Paul II). As a young boy, Karol Wojtyla often used the walking paths surrounding the Jaszczorowka Chapel for much prayer and reflection. After you experience this beautiful site that assisted in St. John Paul II’s Holy journey, you will continue your tour to the colorful, Krupowki Street. While on this street, you will have the opportunity to do some shopping at the local bazaar before transferring to Krakow. On the way to Krakow, your group will stop at the Wieliczka Salt Mines (approximately one hour and forty minutes), where you will find magnificent chapels and religious sculptures that are carved in salt. Following this interesting visit, you will continue on to Krakow (approximately 25 minutes). Upon arrival in Krakow, you will enjoy a beautiful dinner and an optional stroll through the old city before retiring for the evening.
Day 7 – Krakow – Auschwitz – Krakow
After breakfast, you will explore Krakow’s Market Square as the sound of the silver trumpet from St. Mary’s Tower fills the air. The captivating beauty of this square is largely due to the fact that it has remained unchanged for almost 700 years. It contains a number of buildings that hold important historic value such as, the Town Hall Tower, the Cloth Hall, and the Burgher’s houses. Following your time in this longstanding square, you will make your way to Wawel Hill, where you will visit the beautiful Cathedral, and Coronation Chapel. These are among the most important sites in Poland as the Cathedral has been the coronation site of the Polish monarchs and has held numerous pieces of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Modern art. Also at this site, you will have the opportunity to pray at the tomb of the patron saint of Poland, St. Stanislaus. Your tour continues with a transfer to Auschwitz (approximately one hour). Auschwitz is notoriously known as a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Upon arriving at the former camp, you can feel the darkness and sorrow that overtakes the atmosphere as there were numerous unspeakable atrocities that occurred at this site. Additionally, while on this visit, you will have the opportunity to view the cell that imprisoned the Christ-like, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and visit the Martyrdom Museum. After this reflective day, you will return to your hotel in Krakow for dinner and a restful overnight.
Day 8 – Krakow – Divine Mercy – Lagiewniki – Krakow
On your last day of touring, you will depart for your excursion to Lagiewniki, the capital of the Divine Mercy (approximately three hours). Through the mediation of St. Faustina, Christ passed on the message of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki. While here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy that contains images of the Merciful Jesus, relics of St. Faustina, as well as, the Saint’s convent chapel and her Tomb. Also, you will visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Divinity, which was recently visited by St. John Paul II in 2002. Following Mass, you will pray by a relic of St. John Paul II before returning to Krakow for your farewell dinner and last overnight.
Day 9 – Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Krakow Airport for return flights home.