Pilgrimage was often seen and used as a penance - but things have changed.
In times past the journey was long and arduous and stretched the pilgrim financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually as they walked through strange lands relying on the hospitality and generosity of strangers on a journey that might well take months.
That's not how things are for us - our trips are not a penance but a celebration of our faith, a chance to explore other cultures and expressions of our faith and a time to share together.
We fly to our destiantion and then travel by air conditioned coach to explore place of religious, historical and cultural importance. We are priviledged in that many beautiful basilicas, cathefrals and churches invite us to celebrate the Eucharist whilst visiting and there is plenty of time for reflection and prayer.
Our time together lasts only a week or two and during this time we share lots of fun and learn much.
Given the current uncertainties we are unable to plan our next (and overdue) pilgrimage at the moment but below are details of our past journeys together.
26th September – 1st October
Day 1: Fly Manchester to Catania, Sicily then transfer to Palermo and our hotel.
In the late early evening we walk to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul for a Eucharist at 7pm then to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Day 2: Walking tour of Palermo incl. the catacombs and the 11th century cathedral of St. Agatha we then celebrate Eucharist at the Anglican Church of The Holy Cross. Free time for lunch then on to Monreale and the cathedral and cloistered garden then back to Palermo and dinner in the evening.
Day 3: To Erice, free time then off to the Trattoria del Sale (near to Trapani) for lunch. After lunch we travel to Marsala and the Cantine Florio for a wine tasting tour then on to the Greek Temple at Segesta before returning to Palermo for dinner.
Day 4: The valley of Agrigento and its temples, then into the old town. We then travel to Catania and to the hotel where we remained for the rest of our stay.
Day 5: To Ortygia, the ancient district of Syracusa and a guided tour with time for lunch on the seafront.
Day 6: To Taormina and a guided tour including the Greek Amphitheatre, back to the hotel and some free time to spend in Catania with a last glass of wine and ice cream in a brioche bun before departing to the airport and return to Manchester.
10th-16th May 2016
Padua and Assisi
Tuesday 10th May: Fly Manchester to Venice then drive to Padua and check into our hotel.
Wednesday 11th: A tour of the Basilica in padua and of St. Anthony of Padua. Free time for lunch then a visit to Camposamperio where St. Anthony spent time in a hermitage.
Thursday 12th: A visit to the Capella degli Scrovegni built in 1303. A free afternoon during which many of us took the train for an afternoon in Venice.
Friday 13th: Leave Padua for a long coach journey to Assisi
Saturday 14th: A walking tour of Assisi, the Chiesa Nuova buolt on the sit eof Francis’ house and St. Clare’s Basilica. A guided tour of the twin Basilica of St. Francis.
Sunday 15th A ride to the hermitage on Monte Subasio then down to San Damiano and then the Basilica of St. Maria degli Angeli.
Monday 16th We return home
Spain – the Camino of Santiago de Compostela
Tuesday 6th May: Fly to Madrid then drive to Burgos to the hotel and dinner
Wednesday 7th May: Guided tour of the city and the Cathefral, Eucharist celebrated in the cathedral then lunch. Visit to the Convento de Santa de Las Huelgas then on to Fromista and the Church of San Martin then to our next hotel in Leon
Thursday 8th: Walking tour of the City of Leon then we celebrate the Eucharist in the Cathedral. Free time for lunch then on to Bodega Itarlegos for an afternoon of wine tasting. Back to the hotel for dinner.
Friday 4th. Leave Leon for Astorga, coffee and a tour of the Cathedral and the town then on to Villa Franca and lunch at choice and time to stroll in the countryside then on to O Cebreiro and time to explore then on to Santiago and our next hotel.
Saturday 5th. We celebrate the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Santiago followed by a walking tour of the city and free time for leisurey lunch. Drive to Monatrerio Cisterciense de Santa Maria de Sobrado then back to the hotel for dinner.
Sunday 11th A free day to explore Santiago and enjoy the experience.
Monday 12th We fly back home.
The Holy Land: 3-10th November
Thursday 3rd: Fly Luton to Tel Aviv and drive to Jerusalem.
Friday 4th: The Mount of Olives, the Paternoster Church, the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept) where we celebrated the Eucharist overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Dome of the Rock, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Orthodox Church site of Mary’s Tomb and on to Bethlehem for lunch and a tour of the Church of the Nativity and the birth-cave of Christ.
Saturday 5th: Mount Zion, the Upper Room, the Tomb of King David, the Dormition Abbey and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. In the afternoon the Church of St. Anne, the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Sunday 6th: Drive to Abu Gosh, one of the sites of Emmaus, and on to Ein Karem the place where eJohn the Baptist was born and where we celebrate the Eucharist. The afternoon of free time to explore Jerusalem and the wailing Wall and the Old City.
Monday 7th: Drive to Masada and Herod’s mountain top palace before bathing in the Dead Sea and on to our next hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
Tuesday 8th: A boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and liunch on the lakeside.
On to Tabgha and the site of the feeding of the five thousand, then a drive through the Golan Heights, Paneas the site of Caesarea Phillippi then through the Huleh Valley to the Church of the Beatitudes.
Wednesday 9th: Drive to Nazareth and the Basilica of the Annunciation and then to Mount Tabor and the site of the Transfiguration, then on to Yardenit and the River Jordan for a paddle at this famous Baptism site.
Thursday 10th: A visit to Caesarea Maritima from where Paul sailed to Rome, lunch in a kibbuz before returning to Tel Aviv airport and our flight home.
6th-13th October Rome, Subiaco and Montecassino
Tuesday 6th: Fly from east Midlands Airport to Rome Ciampino. Drive to our hotel a few hundred yards away from St. Peter’s. A visit to St. Peter’s followed by dinner.
Wednesday 7th: A tour of St. Paul outside the walls and then the catacombs of San Sebastiano with Eucharist in the Catacombe’s chapel. After lunch a walk from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona, S. Maria Sopra Minerva and the Trevi Fountain.
Thursday 8th. Coach to Piazza Venezia, the Campidoglio and Forum. The Church of St. Peter in Vincoli, the Coliseum and the Basilica of S. Clemente.
Friday 9th: Travel to Subiaco and St. Benedict’s monastery of Sacro Speco (Sacred Cave). Then the monastery of St. Scholastica and the Foresteria where we stay overnight.
Saturday 10th: Travel to Agnaniand its cathedral and lunch before continuing on to Montecassino.
Sunday 11th: The Abbey of Montecasino (where we celebrate the Eucharist) and the was graves.
Monday 12th: Pompeii and its ruins and then Vesuvius.
Tuesday 13th: Drive back to Rome stopping off at Casa Marie for a tour of the monastery before returning home to Rushall.
4th-12th October 2007
St. Paul’s Journeys in Greece
Thursday 4th October: Fly from London to Thessaloniki.
Friday 5th: Tour of Thessaloniki; the Pauline preaching stone, the Basilica of St. Demetrius, the museum and remains of Phillip II, the father of Alexander the Great.
Saturday 6th: Drive to Philipi, the prison where Paul was held and the river where Lydia was baptised and where Liz Roe our OLM at the time celebrated her First Mass with us having been ordained shortly before the pilgrimage. On to Kavala (Neopolis) and return to the hotel.
Sunday 7th &Monday 8th: Drive to Veria (Berea in Acts) and on to Meteora and the mountain top monasteries.
Overnight in Metorea before continuing to Delphi and another overnight stay.
Tuesday 9th: Delphi and the theatre and temple of Apollo followed by leisure time before continuing on to Athens.
Wednesday 10th: the Acropolis and the Temple of Athena and the Parthenon.
Thursday 11th: Drive to Corinth, the Temple of Apollo, the Agora and the Tribunal where Paul was accused, followed by Cenchrae harbour from where Paul sailed to Ephesus.
Friday 12th Fly Athens to London and return to Rushall
Florence, Siena and Venice. 6-13th October 2015
Thursday 6th October: Rushall to Stansted; fly to Pisa, lunch in Pisa then coach to Poggibonsi.
Friday 7th October: Florence, guided tour of the city with the cathedral and baptistry, the home of Dante then the church of Santa Croce.
Saturday 8th October: Sienna: a guided tour of the cathedral and the church of San Domenico and the Piazza del Campo. Then lunch and free time to explore the city.
Sunday 9th: Florence and the Eucharist in the Anglican Church of St. Mark. After lunch the Museo San Marco, the Pitti Palace and a walk through parts of the city.
Monday 10th: Coach to Ravenna and the Church of San Vitale and the mosaics for which Ravenna is famous. The Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo before travelling on to the Veneto region.
Tuesday 11th: Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica, then Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Friari then Santa Maria della Salute and the rest of the day exploring Venice.
Wednesday 12th: Verona, the church of San Zeno, the piazza delle Erbe and Juliet’s house.
Thursday 13th: Venice airport and return to Rushall