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Pilgrim route of JOHN PAUL ||
 

Pilgrim route of JOHN PAUL II

Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius  SJ endorses and blesses “Pilgrim route of JOHN PAUL II“  in Lithuania. The president of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference wishes all the best to pilgrims, traveling to the holy places around Lithuania!

 

Pilgrim route of JOHN PAUL II

The Pilgrim Route connects the places which for long ages Lithuanians have cherished and considered holy. It has been named in honour of this great Pope and great pilgrim as a token of gratitude and respect. Just as John Paul II once helped the world hear the voice of the “silenced Church”, we hope that his intercession will help pilgrims from many different lands discover Lithuania’s living treasures of Christian faith...

 

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As the 15th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic visit to Lithuania approached, ways were sought to mark the occasion and reflect on the memory of this Servant of God. The bishops of Lithuania proposed joining together the main shrines in Lithuania and that are connected with this Pope to form a Pilgrim Route of John Paul II. The Lithuanian government approved the plan for such a route on August 8, 2007. It currently includes 16 prominent pilgrimage sites. During his visit in 1993, Pope John Paul II gave valuable guidance for the life of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and for the nation as a whole. In homilies and speeches, the Holy Father presented the sources of spiritual regeneration and the principles on which a free life must be built to this people that had only just delivered itself from the yoke of totalitarianism. The Pilgrim Route of John Paul II aims to remind people of the universally valid foundations for a true and complete life which the pope so emphasized: Christ, the Cross, the Holy Spirit, and Mary’s example of faith and virtue. In light of this purpose, the route includes not only the sanctuaries which the pope visited in Lithuania, but also other sites of pious renown which received the Holy Father’s attention.

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Day 1

Arrival in Vilnius. Meeting with local pilgrims. Lithuanian pilgrims will introduce you to the pilgrimage in Lithuania

and it’s importance to believers. You will be invited, together with the dearly loved Holy Father John Paul II, to

visit Lithuania’s most important shrines...

I come, o Lord, as a pilgrim of peace and hope, ... to preach faith in you, and in our own resurrection...
John Paul II, Lithuania

 

 

Day 2

Morning for visiting the Cathedral Basilica of Sts Stanislaus and Vladislaus, the Chapel of St Casimir. The Cathedral

Basilica of Sts Stanislaus and Vladislaus is the main symbol and spiritual centre of the Lithuanian capital as well as a monument to the Baptism of Lithuania. The basilica, built in the very heart of the city at the base of the castle hill, has witnessed many important historical events. Here Lithuanian rulers were crowned, here nobles and bishops were buried. Even today, Holy Mass celebrated in Vilnius Cathedral marks the high point of many national and religious feasts and commemorations. The sanctuary’s rich spiritual and cultural treasures are a magnet for all visitors to the city, but it is especially cherished by Catholics as the place where the relics of St Casimir, Lithuania’s patron saint, are venerated. On September 4, 1993, Pope John Paul II prayed here by the remains of St Casimir and held a meeting in the cathedral with priests, religious and seminarians.

Daily Mass at the Cathedral Basilica.

Later visit to the Gate of Dawn chapel, with its venerable painting of Mary the Mother of Mercy, is one of Lithuania’s most important religious, historical and cultural sites. This is the foremost Marian shrine in the Vilnius archdiocese and a destination for pilgrims from many countries, not only Catholic but also Orthodox. Devotion to the Mother of God is especially strong and vibrant here, as shown by the crowds that gather each November for the Indulgenced Feast of the Mother of Mercy, and by the ever growing number of votive offerings, tokens of pilgrims’ sincere gratitude for graces received.

Second part of the day for visiting Vilnius Calvary. Vilnius Calvary is a holy place which for long ages has been offering consolation and strength to those who are burdened by misfortune. In times past, people would travel hundreds of kilometers on foot to pray about Christ’s sufferings and earn God’s blessing by making the Way of the Cross here. Large numbers of devout souls still come today for the same reason. During Pentecost, in particular, thousands gather and, intoning poignant hymns, prayerfully climb the steep hills. Vilnius Calvary suffered more than some other shrines from the cruel trials which, historically, Lithuanian Catholics have endured. The Soviet authorities blew the site up in

1962, and a year later completed demolition of the shrine’s chapels and gateways. Reconstruction of Vilnius Cavalry began in 1990. Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis stressed that the shrine’s rebirth “was not only the recreation of sacred art, but a gift to believers and to the entire nation after its experience of great sufferings and losses.” The Church of the Invention of the Holy Cross is one of the most beautiful and well preserved sacred art monuments in Lithuania. Pilgrims can pray before a relic of the Holy Cross that is displayed under glass in the church at the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows. Overnight in Vilnius.

Mother of Mercy, we fly to your protection!

 

 

Day 3

Day in the ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Trakai. Visit the 15th century Insular Trakai Castle housing an exhibition on prehistoric findings and the 17-18th century applied art, the way of life of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, and the Karaites, brought to Lithuania from the Crimea.

The main visit to the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, standing atop the highlands of the Trakai peninsula, today seems to lie somewhat off the beaten track. However, a bird’s eye view reveals Trakai’s medieval structure, including residential areas among which the church clearly dominates. It marks the spiritual centre of the town, equal in significance to Trakai Castle. The church is exceptional not only for its size, but also for its history, having never been closed, turned over to non-Catholics or used for other purposes. The Trakai church is a unique monument to Lithuanian culture and faith, which embodies an ecclesiastical and artistic legacy of six centuries. But what draws pious visitors is not so much the church’s artistic and historical value as the fame for special graces of its painting of the Virgin Mary and Child. This is the oldest image of the Mother of God in Lithuania. Late afternoon drive back to Vilnius for overnight.

Mary, Protectress of Lithuania, watch over us, we beg you!

 

 

Day 4

Intensive day for visiting Pivašiūnai and Marijampolė cities. Pivašiūnai, a small village in the picturesque lowlands of Dzūkija. Pivašiūnai has long been known not only for its beautiful nature, but also – and even more so – for its church with a miraculous painting of the Mother of God and Child. In 1988, Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius adorned the famous image of Our Lady of Pivašiūnai with crowns blessed by Pope John Paul II and bestowed her with the title of “Comfort of the Afflicted”. The church of Pivašiūnai is among the most important sanctuaries in the archdiocese of Kaišiadorys, whose borders its renown exceeds by far. It hosts an annual feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the main indulgenced feast in the diocese.

Marijampolė is located at the centre of the region of Sūduva on the banks of the Šešupė River. In the mid 18th century, the Marian Fathers built a monastery whose name – Marijampolė – thereafter was also applied to the village established in the place some 200 years earlier. It is the only Lithuanian city to bear the name of a monastery and to have a name directly referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The body of the holy archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis (1871-1927) is enshrined in Marijampolė at theBasilica of St Michael the Archangel. Jurgis Matulaitis, who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987, is so far the only Lithuanian of modern times who has been declared “blessed”. The figure of Matulaitis attracts pilgrims from both Lithuania and abroad. Many gather in Marijampolė each July for the indulgenced feast of Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis. After day tour drive to Kaunas for overnight.

Mother of God and our Mother, Comfort of the Afflicted – Pray for us!

 

 

Day 5

Day for visiting holy places in Kaunas – second largest city and the capital of Lithuania between the World Wars.

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul is one of Lithuania’s oldest and largest sanctuaries, and the country’s only gothic church of basilica form. The building‘s monumental and rather severe appearance is the result of a mixture of gothic and renaissance architectural traits. In fact, the style of the current basilica is transitional between gothic and renaissance. Pilgrims are drawn by a 16th century painting of Our Lady of Sorrows as well as a 17th century image of the Most Gracious Virgin Mother, both associated with special graces.

Daily Mass at the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica.

Second visit to the Christ’s Resurrection Church in Kaunas is a symbol of the Lithuanian nation’s spiritual revival and regained independence. The edifice invites believers to cherish their homeland and their Christian roots, and reminds them that Jesus Christ is the only sound foundation for the life of a nation. Christ’s Resurrection Church is one of the most expressive modernist- style churches in Lithuania, characterized by generalized bulk composition, sharp rhythmic verticals and a distinctive staircase silhouette, in the centre of which a 70-meter-high tower rises up toward the heavens.

On the outskirts of Kaunas, on a hill in Pažaislis by the shore of the Kaunas Reservoir, stands theChurch of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with its monastery. The ensemble is one of the finest late baroque masterpieces in all of Northeast Europe. Kristupas Žygimantas Pacas (1621–1684), the chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, built this sanctuary for the Camaldolese monks in the 17th century. But the Pažaislis church and monastery complex did not gain fame just for the piety of its monks and the artistic value of its buildings. The pilgrims who throng here each year, especially for the shrine’s July 2 indulgenced feast, are also drawn by a painting of the Virgin Mary known as the Camaldolese Mother of God, which was given to the hermits by the patron of the complex and is renowned for special graces. The monastery’s dramatic history, spanning more than 300 years, touches on numerous traditions of spirituality as well as wars, fires and other disasters. Today the monastery is cared for by the Lithuanian Congregation of

the Sisters of St Casimir, who seek to revive and continue traditions of divine worship while also opening the doors to new

expressions of social life and culture. Overnight in Kaunas.

Hail Mary, Mother of Fair Love!

 

 

Day 6

Trip to the most important place among pilgrims in Lithuania – Šiluva. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared

here 400 years ago in one of Europe’s first Marian apparitions, and probably the only in which she spoke to a non-Catholic Christian. From the oldest of times to the present, a steady stream of pilgrims has been flowing to Šiluva. The feast of the Nativity (or “Birth”) of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated here for nearly 500 years, each time drawing many thousands of pilgrims from all of Lithuania and beyond. Pious visitors throng to the Chapel of the Apparition of Our Lady of Šiluva, which stands in the exact place where 400 years ago Mary appeared. Nearby, in the shrine’s Basilica, they pray before a painting of Mary and Jesus that has been renowned for special graces since the early 17th century. Altogether, about a quarter of a million pilgrims pass through Šiluva each year. The largest groups gather in early September during the annual eight-day indulgenced feast known as Šilinės.

Daily Mass at the Shrine of Šiluva.

Later drive to Tytuvėnai Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Monastery. Tytuvėnai is a small town on the scenic plateaus of eastern Samogitia that is famous for the monuments to baroque culture it contains. Tytuvėnai’s Church of Our Lady of the Angels and Bernardine monastery complex are among Lithuania’s largest and most significant specimens of 17th and 18th century sacred architecture, reflecting as they do a multi-layered harmony of the gothic, mannerist and baroque styles. The ensemble consists of a church, a courtyard with the Holy Steps Chapel, and the stone wall of a two-story monastery. The main altar of the church features a painting of the Mother of God and Child which is famed for special. After all day tour drive to Šiauliai for overnight.

The Son of God is worshipped here eternally.

 

 

Day 7

First visit to the heart of the Šiauliai diocese, which Pope John Paul II created in 1997 – theCathedral of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. The church is Lithuania’s most prominent example of renaissance-mannerist architecture. From whatever direction you arrive in Šiauliai, you are sure to see its 70-meter-tall graceful white tower. The majestic edifice has some unique architectural details. Bay windows on the main façade, and churchyard gate towers with firing holes, give the impression of a defensive fortress.

The main visit of the day to the Hill of Crosses. The Hill of Crosses is unique and inimitable, both for its size and for its history. At present, some 200,000 crosses of various sizes adorn the hill. In erecting crosses here by the thousands, people manifest their devotion to Christ, pray for his help and consolation, and mark Lithuania as a Christian land. The site, an expression of the nation’s spontaneous religiosity, is probably the place in Lithuania that pilgrims most visit. The Hill of Crosses gained immense significance in the lives of Lithuanian believers during the Soviet era as a place of anonymous yet remarkably persevering resistance to the totalitarian regime. After independence was regained, the hill quickly became a symbol of the nation’s unshakeable faith, of its past suffering and of its hope. The Hill of Crosses gained fame throughout the world in 1993 when Pope John Paul II visited and celebrated Holy Mass for a gathering of 100,000 people. A cross that Pope John Paul II donated was erected here in 1994. Overnight in Šiauliai.

Hail, o Cross, our victory and our hope!



 

Day 8

Day trip to the Samogitian Calvary. Samogitian Calvary (or “Žemaičių Kalvarija”) – is the main shrine in the diocese of Telšiai and a focal point of pilgrimages in western Lithuania. It is located in the region of Plungė, near the Mažeikiai-Tauragė highway. The town’s fame began to spread after a Way of the Cross with 20 stations was created here in 1639. Pilgrims also come for a painting of Mary and the Child Jesus, brought from Rome in the first half of the 17th century and known for special graces, which now hangs at the church’s main altar. Every year more than 70,000 people take part in the Great Indulgenced Feast of Samogitian Calvary. Walking along the Way of the Cross and singing 400-year-old hymns specific to this shrine, they meditate on the meaning and significance of Christ’s passion and death on the Cross. After drive back to Vilnius for overnight.

O gracious Queen, who at Calvary works wonders, to your protection we entrust our families!

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Day 9

End of the tour. Departure.

Do not be afraid, my friends, to open the door to Christ! He knows the human heart…

John Paul II, Lithuania

 

 

The tour package includes:

  • Accommodation in economy, standard or superior class hotels with breakfast
  • Car/minibus transfers on arrival / departure
  • Tours with car/minibus and English (or other requested language) speaking local pilgrim-guide as per itinerary
  • Three Masses
  • Daily lunches
  • Reference material of the famous places

The package price410 EUR/ per person*

(*offered price is valid for a group of 20 persons)

Half-day tour to Trakai

Trakai (4 hours tour) is one of the oldest Grand Duchy of Lithuania residence and capitals. Trakai is the second capital of Lithuania.

Tour to Kernave

Kernave village (4 hours tour) located on the banks of the river Neris (35 km from Vilnius) has been known as the capital of Lithuania before Trakai and Vilnius. 

Country life museum in Rumsiskes

Country life Open Air Museum of Lithuania (6 hours tour) is a unique and one of the largest (195 ha) open-air ethnographic museums in Europe.

Fly & Lease of campers in the Baltic.

Camper on the road

Take a tour and discover Baltics by yourself!

You will be able to travel comfortably throughout Baltic Sates in our campers, as passengers really may feel themselves like home and take any necessary stuff with them, even their most loved cup for coffee.
A virtue of motor homes is the possibility to be in the cabin in all companionship while going from place to place.
Moreover, you will be free as you will be independent from hotels and every evening you will be able to spend in any place you wish!

Prepaid individual transfer :

no trouble with money exchange upon arrival,
no need to take care oftaxi search,
no language problems !

The driver will wait for you at arrival hall with your name on the card, will help you with luggage and will safely transfer you to agreed place.
Please fill in the Transfer Reservation and we will contact you within 24 business hours with confirmation

KIA CARNIVAL  25 EUR (max 5 persons)                                                
MERCEDES-BENZ VIANO  35 EUR (max 7 persons)

per car only!