Sat, Mar 9th 2019 03:00 pm
EAST AURORA — "The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page." That proverb, attributed to St. Augustine, the great fifth-century philosopher and theologian, holds much truth. Travel is often an eye-opening, mind-expanding experience that cannot be duplicated. For those who have been blessed with the opportunities to visit foreign lands and cultures, their journeys end up changing them for the better and increasing their understanding of the beauty and diversity of the world and the Church.
It is with the intention of offering that possibility of life-transforming encounters that Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora is continuing its European Travel Series for 2019 and 2020. Msgr. Richard W. Siepka, director of Spiritual Formation, is announcing plans for two excursions in the next two years that attempt to combine aspects of Catholic Pilgrimage with exciting vacations to various countries of Europe. After several successful journeys to Italy and many of the great shrines of the continent, the Christ the King Travel Society has set its sights for the Best of Catholic Spain for June 2019 and the world-famous Passion Play of Oberammergau and the Splendors of Eastern Europe for May 2020.
Spain has a rich history and culture, and yet it is often neglected by tour groups from the United States. The seminary's itinerary attempts to correct that by visiting the major sights of Catholic Spain along with the most notable cultural and historical attractions the country has to offer. The 12-day pilgrimage will run from June 10 to 21, and is being offered at the cost of $3,899 per person in double occupancy, which includes air (departure from Buffalo) and land packages, government taxes and fees, and airline surcharges. Single occupancy is available for an $895 extra charge. The trip is designed to highlight the great saints of the Spanish Church with visits to Avila (St. Teresa of Jesus) and Segovia (St. John of the Cross) along with important holy sites such as the famed monastery of Montserrat, included with stays in the major cities of Madrid, Cordoba, Seville and Barcelona, and stops at the cultural centers of Toledo, Granada and Valencia. There is a solid faith dimension with Mass celebrated at the appropriate places, and yet it is combined with the cultural entertainment and culinary encounters that one seeks on journeys to new lands.
While this tour offers great possibilities, it is not the only one being planned. 2020 is only two years away and it is the year for the next Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, performed every 10 years in fulfillment of a pledge made by the town in the 17th century. Because of the typical high demand for tickets, the 2020 12-Day Splendors of Eastern Europe Pilgrimage including the Passion Play is being announced now for May 18 to 29, 2020. The cost for this excursion is $4,139 per person in double occupancy, which again includes air and land packages, government taxes and fees, and airline surcharges, as well as a guaranteed First Class (Category 1) ticket to the Passion Play. Single occupancy is available for an extra $900. Before the play, the trip's itinerary includes two-night stays in Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria, with a similar stay in Munich, Germany after the visit to Oberammergau. It is not too early to reserve a spot for this journey.
Msgr. Siepka is a veteran traveler who makes a point of helping those who may not be as experienced in the challenges that European travel may offer. There is an orientation meeting held prior to each trip to offer tips and valuable hints to ensure successful travel. Each trip provides an opportunity for those participating to form a community with fellow tourists while still allowing time for individual pursuits. Both tours are being planned through NAWAS International, a company with decades of experience in arranging Catholic tours. They specialize in providing good value for each tour utilizing at least four-star hotels and the very best of tour directors who accompany the group throughout their sojourn in Europe. Bill and Trish Hoppe, who have traveled four times with Msgr. Siepka and NAWAS had this to say, "All our tours have been enjoyable and memorable. Each trip was filled with things to see beautiful European churches as well as numerous points of interest specific to the locations being visited. The days are busy, but time is also allotted to explore on your own. Hotels are always clean and comfortable and meals reflect the cuisine of the country or city. NAWAS tours are all inclusive - airfare, hotel, tour guides, admission fees, and most meals along with a comfortable coach transporting guests from one destination to another. People with whom we have traveled have always been congenial. Msgr. Siepka provides a well-organized tour and is a pleasure to be with."
For more information on either trip, contact Nadine Oates at 716-655-7092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.