Frequently Asked Questions
As a pilgrim, you join Abraham, the Blessed Mother Mary, Paul, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Paul VI, and scores of others. They have made the yearning of Paul their own pilgrim’s prayer: “Father, I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have let go of all things, and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ...I continue my journey in hope that I may possess (Him) since I have been taken hold of by (him)...forgetting what lies behind but straining to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the heavenly prize which beckons, God’s call in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:8-14).
For Christian pilgrims, Jesus is our companion to the holy places, and He is also the goal of the pilgrimage. Luke’s Gospel depicts the Lord’s whole life as a journey to Jerusalem. The Letter to the Hebrews describes how, having completed his own earthly pilgrimage, the author beckons those who are still on theirs: “...let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race [read pilgrimage] that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the Father” (Heb. 12:1-3)
A pilgrimage is a means of following the Gospels, which were written to expand and amplify the words of Jesus: “Come follow Me.” This is a personal invitation to enter into His holiness and is dependent upon the pilgrim’s acceptance. God’s call may vary but the purpose remains consistent: to know God more fully. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John probably never thought they were providing us a road map, but instead, were extending to us the same invitation which they had received.
In addition, we have local offices who are truly in touch with the places where we pilgrimage, providing on-the-ground and up-to-date information on the sites and activities in these places. This allows for the flexibility to make minor but crucial in-the-moment adjustments to provide the best experience possible for our pilgrims.
The exact details of what is included will vary based upon the personalization of each pilgrimage. Since every pilgrimage is personally designed to the needs of the priest, parish or religious organization, it can be very difficult to compare “apples to apples” and the competition most often wants to show “the lowest price possible”. Although price is important, it is NOT the only factor – perhaps not even the most important factor! Specific airlines, flights schedules, hotels all affect the final pricing.
We believe our prices are very competitive based upon what is included in our pilgrimages and the services we offer. Many other companies do not include all the amenities in their base pricing, nor do they offer the level of service we provide. Therefore, the advertised price may not reflect the total price. In many ways, it makes it difficult to compare but we are committed to help.
sWe aim to be totally transparent in all of our pricing, as shown on our brochures. In addition, because we are a smaller organization, we are able to maintain personal relationships with our priests and pilgrimage leaders, as well as our tour managers and guides. This allows us to provide a level of faith-filled service that you cannot put a price on. Simply put, our truly CATHOLIC office is committed to the best pilgrimage experience for you.
Registration and Payments
Alternatively, you can either look on our “Upcoming Pilgrimages” (link) page and click the red “Register Now” button or go to the specific location page and find your desired pilgrimage, then click the red “More Details” button to read more about the pilgrimage. On this page, you can then click the “Register for this Pilgrimage” button. Either of these last two procedures will automatically enter the destination and dates for you when you click the pilgrimage-specific registration link.
Sometimes there may be other exclusions, which will be noted in the brochure. For example, if the priest who helped plan the itinerary has requested dinners out on the town on a couple of the evenings, those would also not be included in the price.
Flight Arrangements And Airline Tickets
Once you have confirmed your decision to purchase your own ticket, you will be designated as a “Land-Only” pilgrim and will therefore receive a reduction on the cost of your pilgrimage in the amount equal to the price of the group airline ticket.
If you are making your own flight arrangements, we will give you the flight numbers/times of the group flights for you to work around. Please do not book your personal airline tickets until we have confirmed with you that the minimum group size has been met. In order to use the group transfer from the airport upon arrival, you must arrive prior to the group. The motor coach will not wait for late pilgrims. Likewise, upon departure, the motor coach will not leave early for those pilgrims not on the group flight, so please book your flight to depart at the same time or after the group.
Occasionally, the group flights may change before departure. In the instance that you miss connecting with the group, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements (at your personal expense) to connect with the group.
There will be a packing list included in your final packet. In general, it is best to “pack light” and dress for comfort – especially in regards to your choice of shoes. You are limited to one checked bag, plus one carry-on that can fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane. In addition, you can also pack a small backpack, bag, or purse that can fit under the seat in front of you on the airplane and is easily carried on and off the bus.
Click here for a more detailed suggested packing list.
In addition, you may want to look at the weather for your destination right before leaving to determine any last-minute packing needs. If, for example, your pilgrimage destination is experiencing unseasonably low temperatures, you’d want to be prepared with warmer layers.
The amount of walking will vary depending upon the destination and the activities of the day. You can certainly expect at least a little bit of walking every day, and some days, in some locations, you may walk upwards of 3-4 miles!
There will be varying levels of terrain as you explore and encounter the various sites. You may experience cobblestone roads, dirt and gravel paths, and uneven surfaces. Some of the sites were built hundreds of years ago, which adds great depth to the experience of our faith as you grasp the magnitude of the history of our Church, but also lends itself to rough and uneven ground. In addition, there may be areas with many stairs and no elevator. If this may be a challenge, consider packing a walking stick, or just make plans to take things at your own pace.
Some destinations, such as the Holy Land and Italy, have days where adaptations can be made if you feel you are unable to walk very far. On those days, there may be opportunities to sit in a church or at another holy site for a while while the rest of the group continues walking or explores around the area. Your tour manager/guide is well aware of the physical demands of each day/location and can more accurately answer your questions in the moment or perhaps the evening before, in order to prepare you for what is to come.
A pilgrimage is not a race. Please walk at your own pace, and inform your guide/tour manager if you are struggling to keep up. While there are certain activities that are scheduled (such as Mass times, certain tours, and public transit), others have a little flexibility, so spending a few moments longer walking between sites is permitted, as long as you are not wandering off from the group and getting separated.
We always recommend bringing a comfortable pair of walking shoes and ensuring they are broken in before departure. It will be no fun to end up with blisters on the first day of a much-anticipated pilgrimage!
With all destinations, we do suggest bringing a credit card for larger purchases, as this adds a layer of protection on your purchases and you receive the best exchange rate this way. Please call your credit card companies and/or your bank prior to travel to let them know you will be using your card overseas, so they do not suspect fraudulent activity.
There will be further details about money specific to your pilgrimage destination in your pilgrimage packet, which you should receive approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
Troubleshooting and Insurance
There is also a spiritual response to any challenges that may arise. One of our priest leaders, who has led multiple pilgrimages with us, sent this reminder to his pilgrims: “Remember that part of a pilgrimage is actually GOING on pilgrimage. That means that when you leave your house on pilgrimage, it’s all in God’s hands. Whatever happens, God will be with you and He will be actively working in your heart and soul. So, if there are flight delays or the like, that’s all part of the pilgrimage experience. Offer it to the Lord and be confident that He is at work in all circumstances. I’ve experienced delays on a couple of my personal pilgrimages, even to the point of missing a day of pilgrimage, and looking back, it did not have an effect on the power of the pilgrimage at all. It’s frustrating in the moment, but continue to trust that God is in charge of your pilgrimage experience. The purpose of our pilgrimage is to meet Him and to be very open to Him. You can do this just as much during travel as you can on the ground.”
While not required, it is recommended. Greater detail about information requested by the insurance application will be sent out with the final invoice (approximately 3 months prior to departure). The total cost of your trip insurance will vary based upon the amount of insurance needed and the age of the traveler.
For more information, please see our page on travel insurance.