A 12-Day Pilgrimage following in the Footsteps of St. Maximilian Kolbe
August 8-19, 2016
with Fr. Mark Stafki

Day 1. Monday, August 8: USA Departure

 

Day 2. Tuesday, August 9: Warsaw

Welcome to Poland! Upon arrival into Warsaw, enjoy an orientation walk along the Old Town with a visit to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Warsaw’ s oldest church. Walk along the Market Square and the New Town. Enjoy a welcome dinner featuring typical Polish dishes. Overnight in Warsaw. (WD)

 

Day 3. Wednesday, August 10: Warsaw – Niepokalanow – Gniezno – Poznan

After a short drive, visit Niepokalanow, one of the youngest Polish Sanctuaries. This Franciscan Monastery was founded in 1927 by St. Maximilian Kolbe, a martyr from the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, who established the Militia of the Immaculate and through his printing press promoted the devotion to the Mother of God. Also, visit the museum of St. Maximilian Kolbe. In Gniezco, visit the 14th-century Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption with its bronze doors depicting scenes from the life and martyrdom of St. Adalbert, whose relics were kept for some time in Gniezco. Drive to Poznan for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 4. Thursday, August 11: Poznan: Excursion to Lichen

Travel to Lichen, to visit the famous sanctuary with a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Due to the influx of thousands of pilgrims, a new sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen was built. Return to Poznan for a sightseeing of the historical capital of the emerging Polish state in the 10th century. Visit its cathedral, the first church built in Poznan in 966, shortly after Poland became Catholic. Next to it, visit the Archdiocesan Museum. Stop at the Hill of St. Adalbert, the spot where 1,000 years ago, St. Adalbert gave a sermon before departing to evangelize Prussia. Then walk along Poznan’s downtown and visit its most significant churches and the Old Market Square. Tonight enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Poznan. (BB, D)

 

Day 5. Friday, August 12: Poznan – Czestochowa – Krakow

Depart Poznan towards Krakow, stop at Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, Poland’s premier pilgrimage site known as the Black Madonna Shrine. The Pauline Monastery founded in 1382 houses its priceless treasure, the miraculous Icon of the Mother of God. Visit also the Treasury, with its artistic and historical collections. Afterwards continue towards Krakow for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 6. Saturday, August 13: Krakow

Today your first visit in Krakow will be to the Basilica on the Rock; the center of veneration of the bishop and martyr, St. Stanislaus of Szczepanow. This was the very place where the saint suffered his martyrdom at the hands of King Boleslav the Bold (1079). St. Stanislaw is the main patron saint of Poland and the city of Krakow. Next, visit the Cathedral, one of the most important churches in Poland; admire the impressive St. Stanislaus Shrine, Sigismund Chapel, Holy Cross Chapel, Cathedral Treasury and the Royal Crypts. The relics of St. Stanislaus, bishop and martyr and the first native Polish saint, and St. Hedwig, queen of Poland in the 14th century, are also venerated here. Afterwards, embark on a walking tour of the city’s downtown. Start at the Dominican Church which houses the relics of St. Hyacinth, the first Polish Dominican. In the Rosary Chapel there is a notable image of Our Lady of the Rosary, known for its divine graces and crowned with the Papal Tiara in 1921. Continue to visit the main market square and the Church of St. Mary, with its great Gothic polyptych. Afterwards, visit the Basilica of St. Francis, which St. Maximilian Kolbe used to visit when he was professor of Theology at Krakow’s Franciscan Seminary. Rest of the day is at leisure; tonight dinner is on your own. Overnight in Krakow. (BB)

 

Day 7. Sunday, August 14: Krakow: Excursion to Auschwitz, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, and Wieliczka Salt Mine

This morning make a visit to Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp to render homage to St. Maximilian Kolbe at the place where he suffered martyrdom. Continue to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, called the Polish Jerusalem. It is the oldest Calvary in Poland and one of the most impressive Passion and Marian sanctuaries in the country. It consists of 40 chapels, set on the surrounding hills and built in the 17th century. From far away one can see the monastery complex of the Bernardine Fathers, with the early baroque Church of the Our Lady of Mount Calvary. South of the monastery, in an area of 300 hectares are the famous Calvary paths, with churches, chapels and wayside shrines. The Zebrydowski Chapel houses the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Kalwaria. Afterwards, travel to Wieliczka, famous for its ancient salt mine which was opened 700 years ago and is still being exploited today. The visit will take you to the ancient underground chambers, saline lakes, wooden mining machines and underground buildings. The most impressive of these is the Chapel of St Kinga, with altarpieces, chandeliers and sculptures made of salt. Return to Krakow for dinner and overnight.  (BB, D)

 

Day 8. Monday, August 15: Krakow – Piekary Slaskie – Gora Sw Anny – Wroclaw

On your way to Wroclaw, visit Piekary Slaskie – situated on the northern rim of the Upper Silesian Mountain Basin. The local devotion to Our Lady goes back to the 15th century. Since the 17th century it has been associated with the picture of Our Lady of Piekary, which then became famous for remarkable miracles. At that time the plague was decimating the population of Silesian cities. The people sought help from the Holy Virgin. After a procession with the picture, the plague stopped. A few years later, the plague afflicted the Czech population. At the request of Emperor Leopold, the picture was brought to Prague and carried through the streets. The plague subsided and the picture returned to Piekary. King John III Sobieski, great Polish king, prayed before the picture on his way with the Polish army to raise the siege of Vienna. At the end of the 19th century, the Piekary Calvary was built on Cerekwica Hill. The site consists of 39 chapels and the Church of the Transfiguration. Traveling southeast, stop at Gora Sw. Anny (St. Ann’s Mountain). The origins of the sanctuary on St. Ann’s Mountain date back to 1657, when the reformed monks of the Franciscan order were brought to Chelm Mountain, as it was called then. They built a Calvary based on the model of Zebrzydowska sanctuary made up of 33 chapels of the Passion of Christ, which was later expanded with the paths of the Sorrowful Mother. For centuries the sanctuary stood there, while on the main altar of the gothic-baroque Church of St. Ann stands the statue of St. Ann (Samotrzec). This small statue (only 66 cm high) was carved in beech by an unknown artist, probably in the 15th century. It shows St. Ann holding her grandson Jesus on her right arm and her daughter the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on her left. The ancient devotion to St. Ann is combined with special services for Our Lady and the Passion of Christ. For centuries, pilgrimages have flocked to this most famous sanctuary of Opole Land. Numerous votive offerings testify to the thankfulness of the Silesian people for the numerous miracles bestowed upon them here. Arrive into Wroclaw for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 9. Tuesday, August 16: Wroclaw: Excursion to Trzebnica

This morning enjoy a short ride to Trzebnica to pay homage to St. Hedwig of Silesia, one of the most cherished heroines of Poland, for this saintly Bavarian princess was loved by the people for her great kindness and generosity.  Return to Wroclaw, the historic capital of Silesia. Here visit the Old Town, dominated by the gothic Town Hall dating back to the 14th century. The southwest of the square is bounded with the Salt Market Square lined with Renaissance burgher houses. Also visit the Aula Leopoldina, Wroclaw University’s exquisite ceremonial hall. Next, in Ostrow Tumski where the history of Wroclaw began, visit the Gothic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries; visit also the Archdiocesan Museum that contains an important collection of Gothic religious art from important churches. Dinner and overnight in Wroclaw. (BB, D)

 

Day 10. Wednesday, August 17: Wroclaw – Prague

Today cross over into the Czech Republic and arrive into Prague, to pray before the miraculous Holy Infant of Prague at the Church of Our Lady Victorious. Then, have a guided walking tour of the beautiful and historical Old Town. Time for leisure before transferring to your hotel in Prague for dinner and overnight. (BB, D)

 

Day 11. Thursday, August 18: Prague

This morning start your walking sightseeing with a visit to the Premonstratentian Strahov Monastery founded in 1149, housing the relics of St. Norbert the founder of the order. Afterwards, visit Prague Castle with its churches, chapels, halls, and towers from every period of its history. Visit Prague’s Cathedral dedicated to St. Vitus, 3rd-century martyr of the Christian persecutions. The relics of King St. Wenceslas, the first Czech saint, and of St. John Nepomuk, martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, are enshrined in the cathedral. Next, visit the Royal Palace, seat of Bohemian princes. Outside the palace is St. George’s Basilica, housing the relics of the martyr St. Ludmilla, grandmother and tutor of St. Wenceslas. Continue with a visit to the Loreto House, this Marian pilgrimage site with the Baroque Church of the Nativity and a replica of the Holy House is surrounded by cloisters and chapels. Next, walk through the Golden Lane, named after the goldsmiths that lived there in the 17th century. Continue your sightseeing crossing the famous Charles Bridge, Prague’s only crossing over the Vltava River until 1741, decorated with statues of saints. Rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner to end this memorable pilgrimage. (BB, FD)

 

Day 12. Friday, August 19: Fly back to the USA

Early transfer to Prague airport for your homebound flight.

 

 (BB) Buffet breakfast; (D) Dinner; (WD) Welcome dinner; (FD) Farewell dinner

* In case of unforeseen events, this itinerary is subject to change.

For more information or to register, please contact Regina Pilgrimages.

 

Saints of Poland & Prague