Pilgrimage to Poland: Day 6 & 7

The last two days have been a whirlwind! Yesterday began early as we left Krakow and began the drive to Zakopane.  On our way to Zakopane, we stopped at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Wadowice. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a beautiful monastery and a series of churches around the town.  In total, there are 40 churches within the town.  There are paths which people can walk to all the churches, which are set up like the Stations of the Cross for Jesus and for Mary.  If you would like more information regarding the history of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, please visit here.

Next we headed to Wadowice, the hometown of St. John Paul II.  We were able to visit the church where he was baptized, received his First Holy Communion, and Confirmation.  We also were privileged to be able to celebrate the Mass inside the church. The house that he grew up in has been turned into a beautiful museum where you are led through exhibits which guide you through his life, from childhood until death.  There was so much to St. John Paul II's life that it is amazing that they were able to fit it all into this museum.  We were also able to eat lunch in Wadowice and eat the delicious kremówka papieska or Pope's Cake.  Kremówka papieska is similar to a cream puff but in a cake form.  John Paul II was rumored to have eaten nine of these at one time as a school boy, but a friend beat him by eating 11.

We then began our beautiful 2 1/2 hour drive to Zakopane.  Rolling hills and mountains surrounded us.  When we arrived in Zakopane, these beautiful mountains were right in front of our eyes.  The Tatra Mountains are what separate Poland from Slovakia and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains.

Now for today, we celebrated Mass in the church in Zakopane and then headed up to the top of Gubalowka Hill for better views of the Tatras and shopping.  The rest of the day has been free for all of us to shop and enjoy the sights and cool, rainy weather of Zakopane.  

Tomorrow is our last full day in Poland and we get to sleep in (yay!) and will be celebrating Mass in the afternoon.  If you have any final prayers you would like to request before we leave, please make sure to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

Kristal

 

Pilgrimage to Poland: Day 5

I woke up this morning with "There is no greater love, says the Lord, than to lay down your life for a friend" stuck in my head.  What an appropriate lyric to wake up to when visiting Auschwitz and the starvation cell of St. Maximilian Kolbe (for more information on St. Maximilian Kolbe, click here).  He didn't give up his life for a friend though, he gave up his life for a complete stranger.  It was an amazing sacrifice and one that made several of us question whether we would be able to do the same.

The rest of Auschwitz and Birkenau were very emotional yet beautiful at the same time.  The camp is filled with large, lush trees that make it seem more like a suburb than a World War II concentration camp but any time you walk into a building, you are instantly reminded of where you are. For me, two of the most emotional times today were when we pray at the Shooting Wall and seeing all of the shoes that the prisoners gave up when they arrived at the camp.  As a Catholic, as a human being, it was difficult knowing that other human beings treated others in this matter.  

We had the evening we had on our own and it was a beautiful chance to take a walk along the Vistula River and take in the spectacular view.

If you have any prayer intentions that you would like us to pray for during our Masses the next three days, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Kristal

Pilgrimage to Poland: Day 4

Who would ever think that salt would be used to create chapels and statues?  The Wieliczka Salt Mine is just that.  Miles and miles of corridors lead you to historical scenes of Poland, chapels, statues, and even Polish stories and legends.  Of all of this, the greatest part of the day was being able to celebrate Mass in a chapel that was 135 metres below ground.  135 metres is 422 feet!  We celebrated Mass 422 feet below ground in a chapel made of salt.  It was just incredible.

Unfortunately, I will not have time to post the pictures from today's visit on here today due to an early wake up call tomorrow for our trip to Auschwitz.  I will post the pictures from today's trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine and tomorrow's trip to Auschwitz on here tomorrow.  In the meantime, click here are more information regarding the Salt Mine.

 

Pilgrimage to Poland: Day 3

After the many miles that were walked yesterday, it was nice to have an easier day. We started the day by visiting the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and the Shrine of Divine Mercy.  We were given the opportunity to venerate relics of Saint Faustina and say prayers in the chapel.  Next we went the basilica on the grounds and Fr. Mike celebrated Mass in Faustina's Chapel, which is located below the main sanctuary.  Following Mass, one of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy spoke to the group regarding the Divine Mercy.  She spoke about trusting God (something that the group did a lot during the flights to Warsaw) and loving God. It was beautiful to hear her words and to be reminded to trust and love. After sister's talk, we were given the opportunity to walk through the Holy Doors of Mercy and the basilica and receive a Plenary Indulgence for doing so. The rest of the day was at our leisure.  

Tomorrow we will be visiting the Jewish Quarter of Krakow and the Wieliczka Salt Mines and pictures will be posted then.

Pilgrimage to Poland: Day2

What a day! After walking over seven miles, I am exhausted.

We began the day with Mass at The Franciscan Church.  What an amazing experience.  When you walk into church, you are struck by the beauty and are overcome by God's presence.  Across from the church was the Archbishop's residence.  This is where Karol Wojtyla lived while he was Archbishop of Krakow and where he stayed when he visited Krakow when he was Pope.  Today there is still a picture of St. John Paul II looking out one of the window's of the residence.  When John Paul II would stay in Krakow, thousands of youth would sit in front of the residence to get a glimpse of the pontiff.  John Paul II would open that window and talk and sing with the youth who were there for him.

Next we began a tour of Wawel Castle and Old City Krakow.  Built during the 14th Century, Wawel Castle was the home of Polish Royalty.  The castle is amazing and the museum that has been made out of it is incredible.  Within the castle, there are hundreds on tapestries which were made for the kings that are over 600 years old! Attached to Wawel Castle is Wawel Cathedral.  Located in the cathedral are the remains on many kings, bishops, and St. Hedwig and St. Stanislaus the Martyr.  During our walk through Old City Krakow, we passed by many churches, including St. Andrew's which was built during the 11th century and is still being used for Mass today.  Once we arrived to the Market Square, we were in awe of the beauty of St. Mary's Cathedral.  On the outside it towers over everything and on the inside it is rich in beauty (no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the church; see here).  All of these activities were completed by 1 pm today and the rest of the afternoon was free for everyone to do their own activities.  

 

Pilgrimage to Poland: Day1

To all of you who have been patiently waiting for the pilgrimage updates - thank you!  After travel difficulties, which delayed 12 of us by at least 28 hours, all 17 of the parish pilgrimages are finally together in Poland.  

We started out our day in Warsaw with a bus tour of the city.  We were able to see many of the castles of the city, especially near Old Town, churches, and the tremendous architecture.  During the tour, we were able to hear stories of the history of Poland, dating back to the 11th century.  One of the highlights of the tour was being able to stop at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and see the memorials to Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko.  Fr. Popieluszko ministered to the working people during the the early 1980's and was a leader of the beginning of the uprising against Communism.  

After our bus tour, we began our two hour journey to Czestochowa and Jansa Gora Monastery.  The monastery was absolutely stunning!  Not only was the architecture amazing, it was wonderful being able to see numerous priests and religious walking around the monastery.  Fr. Mike was able to celebrate Mass for us in one of the chapels where an exact replica of the painting of the Black Madonna watched over.  After Mass, we were given a tour of the monastery, which included an up-close look at the painting of the Black Madonna (which is stunning!).  

Next we took the two and 1/2 hour bus ride from Czestochowa to Krakow.  One of the joys that we have had on this trip so far is that one of the pilgrims was a POW during WWII and has been sharing his stories with us during our bus rides.  The history that he has been able to share is unmatched and a true blessing.

Tomorrow we will be touring Krakow, including Old Town, Wawel Castle, and more!  If you have any prayer requests that you would like us to pray for, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Until tomorrow, take a look at the pictures that I took today below.

Kristal

 

Catholics Come Home

 

 Have you or someone you know been away from the Catholic Faith?  We invite you to take another look at the Catholic Church!  We have just the group to answer your questions about the Church and welcome you back home.  Catholics Come Home meets at Our Lady of Lourdes most Monday's at 4pm in Madonna Hall in the Vincentian Room and at 6pm in Madonna Hall in the Fr. McGivney Room (by appointment only).

If you have a desire to come back home to Christ's Church and do not know how to start the conversation, come and meet with us.  We are waiting to welcome you home with open arms and would love to hear your story.  We would love to have a laid back, honest conversation with you about your Faith journey.  God bless you!

For more information or to say that you would like to join us, please contact Will Wright, Director of Catechesis and Evangelization at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 623-344-7288 (feel free to leave a message). 

For more info on the international Catholics Come Home movement, visit catholicscomehome.org

 

I Want to Get Involved

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;

God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind."  Hebrews 13:16

Our souls were made to love as God loves, totally and freely.  When we serve God and one another, we receive the immense joy of Christ.  When we serve, we become a part of something greater than ourselves, we feel a sense of belonging.  If you are ready to answer the call and give of yourself to serve the parish, please feel free to fill out our Serving form by clicking here: Serving.

Now Available: Electronic Giving!

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish is pleased to announce a convenient new way to make your regular offerings.  With our new electronic giving program, you can easily set up a recurring giving schedule or make one-time contributions.  We encourage you to set up a schedule of recurring contributions.  It's convenient for you and provides much-needed consistency for our church.  If you are currently giving on a weekly basis, you will no longer need to write our 52 checks a year or prepare 52 envelopes.  Even when travel, illness or other circumstances prevent you from attending services, our church will continue to receive your contributions on an uninterrupted basis.  To become an electronic give, please click on the 'Give Now' button below.

 

 

iDonate

Your noncash items could represent thousands of dollars to our church - plus a garage you can park in, cleaned our drawers and no more monthly storage unit fees.  We have a new online giving system that allows our church to process and liquidate almost any kind of quality noncash donation - effortlessly!

 


SAINT OF THE DAY

  • In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under...