ALLOUEZ -- Green Bay Bishop Emeritus Robert J. Banks will be the spiritual director for the second annual Catholic Compass pilgrimage. Slated for May 3-13, 2008, the pilgrimage will include visits to Rome, Vatican City, Paris, Chartres and Lisieux.
Last year's Compass pilgrimage, led by Bishop David A. Zubik, took area Catholics to religious sites in Poland, Austria and Germany.
Bishop Banks has agreed to serve as spiritual director on a trip that includes a tour of St. Peter's Basilica and a tentative papal audience with Pope Benedict XVI.
Amy Kawula, manager of advertising sales and marketing at The Compass and pilgrimage coordinator, said that having Bishop Banks as spiritual director for the tour is an added bonus. "I invited Bishop Banks to lead a tour sponsored by The Compass ... and was delighted when he said yes," she said.
Kawula said that Bishop Banks served as spiritual director on a pilgrimage to Rome in 2000, and he assisted in choosing religious sites for next May's trip. "I felt that people would be very eager to travel with Bishop Banks on this tour," she added. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many folks."
The pilgrimage itinerary is already set, according to Kawula.
Pilgrims will depart from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport May 3. (An optional $50 roundtrip bus from Green Bay to Chicago will be available.) They will then board an Air France jumbo jet for an overnight flight to Rome, via a stopover in Paris. Upon arrival in Rome May 4, a tour guide from Pentecost Tours will meet and direct pilgrims to their hotel for check-in and a welcome dinner.
On Monday, May 5, the tour of Rome begins, with a visit to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The next stop is a tour of St. Peter's Basilica, including a visit to the tomb of Pope John Paul II and the grave of St. Peter.
Other stops include visits to St. John Lateran Basilica, the cathedral church of the pope, and the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Pilgrims will board a bus May 6 for a trip to the city of Assisi, where they will enjoy stops at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, the Basilica of St. Francis, the Basilica of St. Clare, and the church of San Damiano.
The highlight of Wednesday's itinerary is the traditional morning papal audience, in which the pope addresses pilgrims from his apartment window at the Vatican. Due to the pope's schedule, this special event is tentative. The rest of this day is free for personal sightseeing and pilgrims will enjoy dinner on their own.
On May 8, the final full day in Rome, pilgrims will visit St. Paul Outside the Walls and continue on to the catacombs of St. Calixtus. A sightseeing tour will also stop at the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the Roman and Imperial Forum and conclude with a stop at the Colosseum.
Following morning Mass May 9, pilgrims will fly to Paris. On this day they will enjoy a scenic tour of famous sites such as the Eiffel Tower before checking in at their hotel for dinner.
Following morning Mass on May 10, pilgrims have the option of traveling to see the Cathedral of Chartres or visiting sites in Paris on their own. Cost for this optional day trip is $60. Pilgrims will spend the rest of the day sight-seeing and enjoying dinner on their own.
On Sunday, May 11, the group travels 130 miles northwest to Lisieux, home of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Pilgrims will visit Les Buisonnets, the family home of Therese, and the Carmelite Convent that she entered at age 15. Next the group travels to the basilica built in Therese's honor. Upon return to Paris, pilgrims will enjoy a dinner cruise on the historic Seine River, where they will enjoy the illuminated monuments of Paris.
Following breakfast on May 12, pilgrims will travel to Rue de Bac, where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830. Among the relics on exhibit are the incorrupt body of St. Catherine and the waxed body of St. Louise de Marillac, who, along with St. Vincent de Paul, established the Daughters of Charity. A visit to the chapel at the motherhouse of the Congregation of the Mission follows.
Visits to the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur and the Cathedral of Notre Dame conclude the day's sight-seeing.
Pilgrims will board motorcoaches from their hotel May 13 and travel to the airport for a return flight back to the United States.
The cost for the 11-day tour to Rome and Paris is $2,859 for those who register and pay the deposit by Jan. 28, 2008. After that date, the cost is $2,959. To register, contact Pentecost Tours, Inc., at (800) 713-9800. To request a brochure, contact Amy Kawula at (920) 272-8212, or click here for more information.
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