If you’ve ever considered making a pilgrimage to the ancient cities, pastoral country sides and mountainous islands of Greece, an upcoming pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul – offered by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Harrisburg – is a golden opportunity.
Presented by the Diocese of Harrisburg and arranged by Collette Travel Services, the “Discover Greece” pilgrimage is currently accepting reservations. Bishop Ronald Gainer will join pilgrims for the 11-day experience, October 8-18, 2024.
The excursion is a fundraiser for Catholic Charities, which is the social services arm of the Diocese.
“Pilgrimages are about growing in your faith, deepening your prayer life, journeying outside what is familiar,” said Kelly Gollick, Catholic Charities’ Executive Director. “There will be many opportunities for Mass, which Bishop Gainer will celebrate for us. Having the bishop celebrate these liturgies in such beautiful churches and landmark places is a wonderful blessing, and hearing his knowledge about the history of the faith is extremely special.”
Highlights of the pilgrimage feature places where St. Paul visited, preached and wrote several of his epistles; the house where the Blessed Mother spent her final days; and a three-day cruise to the Greek Islands. Among the sites are:
- Athens’ historic district, including the hill of Areopagus and the Acropolis
- Corinth, where St. Paul lived and preached
- A three-night cruise to the Greek Islands and Turkey, to include: the mountainous island of Mykonos with its renowned white buildings and chapels; the House of Mary; the cave where John the Evangelist wrote the Book of Revelation; and the islands of Crete and Santorini
- The hanging monasteries of Meteora
- Thessaloniki, where St. Paul preached and wrote two epistles; and the dungeon where he was held prisoner
Pilgrims will also have the opportunity to visit wineries, museums and shopping districts, or enjoy leisure time on their own. The pilgrimage is considered a level 3 for activity; pilgrims will be expected to walk up to several miles a day, up hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
“Being able to go to the house where Mary lived, and be in the towns where Paul lived and shared the Catholic faith is an incredible opportunity,” said Gollick.
“This pilgrimage supports Catholic Charities’ pro-life work in the community with assisting mothers in crisis pregnancies, people in our homeless shelter, clients in our specialized schools and adoption and foster care programs, and those in need of mental health assistance. That’s why this pilgrimage is a win-win. You have the opportunity of a lifetime to visit Greece while also supporting the good works of Catholic Charities for countless people in our community.”
An informational meeting about the pilgrimage will take place at the Diocesan Center in Harrisburg on March 13 at 6 p.m. A representative from Collette will be on hand to present a brief slide show and talk about the pilgrimage and expectations.
The cost for the Discover Greece pilgrimage is $5,599 for double, $6,499 for single, and $5,549 for triple. Early-bird registration has been extended to March 29.
“A pilgrimage like this gives you a chance to see some of the history of the world and what has come before us, in a land that is more than 2,000 years old,” Gollick said. “I went on the Diocesan pilgrimage to Oberammergau two years ago, and it was spectacular. You’re within a tour group, following a structured travel experience and taken care of by experienced tour guides who offer a seamless and supported experience. If you’ve ever considered going on a pilgrimage to deepen your spirituality and experience the history of our faith, this is the way to go.”
To RSVP for the informational meeting on March 13, contact Kelly Gollick at email@example.com. You can also download the pilgrimage brochure and watch a previously recorded Zoom presentation at this link. For more information, or to book your spot, contact Collette at 1-800-581-8942 with booking number 1188628.
(Photos courtesy of Collette Travel Services.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness