WASHINGTON, December 3, 2014 — Pope Francis will declare Popes John Paul II and John XXIII saints on April 27, 2014 in Rome, and millions of visitors and heads of state are expected to be on hand for the event.
Some travel companies are including the Rome ceremony in tour itineraries running seven days and longer, promoted as pilgrimages to holy sites throughout Europe.
Tour operators, such as Regina Tours (www.reginatours.com) and Select International (www.select-international.com), are well known for their expertise in Catholic faith-based travel packages. There are options for group departures and customized itineraries that include Rome’s many Christian sites. Stops at the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica, plus the Marian shrines at Fatima and Lourdes and other stops in Italy are included. Globus Faith (www.globusfaith.com) tours also include segues to Florence, Siena, Venice and Assisi in the multi-day journeys surrounding the Rome event.
“Throughout the week in Rome, pilgrims will tour the city’s many splendid sites,” said Eva Dilmanian, a spokeswoman with Regina Tours. “They will enjoy escorted tours of the Eternal City’s most important basilicas, including St. Mary Major; St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome; and the Holy Stairs. We will also visit sites like Capitoline Hill, the Coliseum, the Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, and Trevi Fountain.”
Those who opt for the Regina two-day visit to Fatima will have the opportunity to join in the moving Candlelight Rosary Processing that begins in the Chapel of the Apparitions. They will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and also journey to Capelinha, where Our Lady appeared to shepherd children. The main canonization and pilgrimage tour is available for $2,598, double occupancy, including round trip air fare form New York City to Rome, plus hotels, two meals daily, and a tour escort. The Rome and Fatima pilgrimage is available for $3,099.
Pope Francis elected April 27 - Divine Mercy Sunday - as the date for the canonization of the two popes. That Sunday was instituted by Pope John Paul as a time to emphasize God’s mercy and readiness to forgive those who recognize their need for pardon.
Read more of Ruth Hill’s columns at Contemporary Christian Travel in the Washington Times Communities.
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