Poland – September 2011

14 September 2011 to 23 September 2011

About the Pilgrimage

Pilgrim Feedback & Pictures

  • Jo Ann & Deacon Ed Rademacher’s Photo Album.
  • Jim Schaaf’s journal about Pope John Paul II HERE. Also, their critique of the trip: “All in all it was an outstanding, memorable pilgrimage. Hope you see fit to do it again.” (Read the critique letter here)

Daily Youtube Videos

Day 1 Part 1 & 2

Welcome to the collection of daily videos from our wonderful trip to Poland. One of our first experiences upon arrival was learning of the life, martyrdom of Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. Great start to a wonderful pilgrimage.

Part 1

Part 2: Welcome Dinner, Music and dancing

Day 2 Part 1 & 2

Visit to the town built by St. Maximilian Kolbe where we had Mass and toured the city and the Kolbe Museum. Then tour of Warsaw with churches, war memorials, parks, Ghetto Walls, St. Faustina’s Convent, and much more.

Part 1: Kolbe

Part 2: Warsaw

Day 3: Our Lady of Czestochowa

From Warsaw to the Black Madonna in Czestochowa (fantastic time). Mass, tour of the largest pilgrimage site in Poland. Sometimes over 1 million people in one day. Tradition says the icon of the Black Madonna was painted by St. Luke on a table made by Jesus.

After this moving visit we drove to mountains if Zakepone where John Paul II vacationed throughout his life. Reminds me of Switzerland. Great day.

Day 4 Zakopane: JP2’s vacation spot

Wonderful day in the mountains of Zakepone Poland with it’s wooden churches, chalet-style buildings, devout and fervent Catholics, good food and a fun place.
We had a fun time of laughter and jokes after drinking the Highlander’s Tea! We also joined a Marian Procession through the forest. Great day!

Day 5 Parts 1 & 2

Fantastic day from train up a mountain to Mass and tour of “Poland’s Little Jerusalem to the Salt Mines – unbelievable! Then to Krakow.

Mountain to Little Jerusalem

Amazing Salt Mines

Day 6 Parts 1 & 2

Today was remarkable. Mass in the crypt under the Cathedral of Krakow where Pope John Paul II celebrated his first Mass as a priest on November 2,1946.

A rich day touring Krakow, Wawel Hill, Market Square, the Castle-Palace, and more.

Afternoon to the new John Paul II center with amazing paintings, relic of his blood and ever developing.

Then a highlight of our pilgrimage – the “Real” Center for the Divine Mercy – where we prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy at the Tomb of St. Faustina and then venerated her relics.

This was a favorite of all our pilgrims. One of the sisters here gave a nice talk to our group.

Day 7 Parts 1 & 2
We had a wonderful morning starting with a good walk to mass at St. Stanislaw on the Rock built on the site where the king killed the good bishop in 1079. He is now the patron of Poland. What an amazing thing to celebrate Mass in a church where a bishop was martyred over a thousand years ago. It is exhilarating to breath Catholic air in Poland!

Then to the “Perfect Communist City” which under Stalin was intended to be godless and churchless. However, the 250,000 Poles erected a cross in a field and came to pray. The Communists bulldozed it every week but the Poles defiantly replaced it. Eventually, with the help of Archbishop Karol Wajtila (later JPII), they received permission to build a church which they defiantly build with their own money and hands under the disapproving eye of the regime.

Auschwitz & St. Kolbe

Unbelievable! I was here 25 years ago during Soviet Communism. Hit’s me more today.
There is no way to describe the horrors of these concentration death camps. I tried to give a sense of the whole story as I took videos and pictures as my group toured the two camps: Auschwitz and Birkenau.

But a light shone in the stench and slaughter – heroism exemplified by the likes of St Maximilian Kolbe who gave his life in exchange for a family man.

Day 8, Parts 1 & 2

Home Town of JPII:

We end our pilgrimage through Poland at the home town of Karol Wojtyla – later to become their home town hero, Blessed Pope John Paul II. We had Mass in his home parish of Wadowice, saw his childhood home, and prayed at the baptismal font where baby Karol was baptized.

Many of the pictures you will see in this video were taken in the town’s JPII Museum. Very cool to see the rare pictures and mementos from his early life in his own home town where he lived his first 18 years.

After that we ate the Pope’s favorite “Creme Cakes”. The current parish priest gave us his blessing.

We stopped and prayed at the the tombstone of JPII. It was brought to Krakow from Rome after he was beatified. Interesting – today we started with his birth and ended the morning at his tombstone.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Day 8, fot the Comments, Farewell Dinner and Departure back to the USA.

Praise, Blessings, Comments on Final Day:

Our pilgrimage ended with blessing the religious items purchased, a delicious and bitter-sweet farewell dinner, an evening walk thru Krakow Central Market and farewells.

A lot of pilgrims offered comments and praise for this remarkable pilgrimage. Everyone was surprised by the cleanliness, friendliness, spirituality and enterprise of Poland. All said it far exceeded their expectations.

We plan to organize another Poland trip in the near future. Keep your eye on on our website for pilgrimages to Israel, Rome, St. Paul Cruises, Ireland, Lourdes & Fatima, Poland and more.