Diocesan pilgrimages to Ireland, Spain, Portugal set

By Margaret Hunt

Two pilgrimages are being coordinated in 2013 for travelers from the Diocese of Knoxville.

Father Charlie Burton, pastor of St. Jude Church in Chattanooga, and Father Michael Cummins, director of the diocesan vocations office and chaplain at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, will be the spiritual directors for a 12-day pilgrimage to holy sites in Ireland June 10-21, according to Sister Albertine Paulus, RSM, diocesan director of pilgrimages.

Sister Albertine said Monsignor Al Humbrecht, pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Soddy-Daisy, and Father Michael Nolan, pastor of St. Dominic Church in Kingsport, will lead a tour of Spain and Portugal Oct. 29 through Nov. 9. Daily Masses will be celebrated.

The itinerary planned for the pilgrimage to Ireland includes two full days visiting sites in Dublin, including Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, the first House of Mercy and the tomb of Venerable Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. Also, the ruins of St. Kevin Monastery which was founded sometime in the sixth century, and the gardens at Powerscourt will be visited. Other sites include Cobh Heritage Center, which tells the story of the 2 million-plus emigrants from Ireland, Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry, Glenstal Abbey, the Cliffs of Moher, Ballintubber Abbey where pilgrims to Croagh Patrick often begin their journey, the convent of the Benedictine Nuns of Ypres at Kylemore Abbey, the Irish National Museum of Country Life and St. Peter Church in Drogheda, the national shrine to St. Oliver Plunkett, who was martyred at Tyburn in 1681.

At least 20 people have made reservations for the pilgrimage to Ireland, Sister Albertine said, and she hopes that at least 30 will ultimately take advantage of the opportunity. The standard base price of the pilgrimage is $3,398, which includes economy-class airfare from Atlanta, accommodations in Superior Tourist Class hotels with private facilities, sightseeing, and meals. Fees excluded from the price are for airport taxes, tips, fuel surcharges, and an optional Travel Protection Plan. To register, contact Sister Albertine for a brochure and registration form, and submit the form to her with a check for $400 payable to Catholic Travel Centre.

The itinerary for the pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal has just been finalized and registration will soon be open according to Sister Albertine. Accompanying the group as spiritual directors will be Monsignor Humbrecht, who has traveled the area many times and completed the entire Camino de Santiago, and Father Nolan. The tour will include visits to Madrid, the Valle de Los Caidos, Segovia and the sepulcher of St. John of the Cross, Avila and the Monastery of the Incarnation, where St. Teresa spent many years of her life, and the shrine and cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, which contains the sarcophagus of St. James and other statues and religious treasures. Other stops include the Bom Jesus do Monte Shrine in Portugal, a visit to the shrine at Fatima, and Santo Da Se, the site where St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal, was born. Cost of the pilgrimage and travel details will be announced soon.

For more information on both pilgrimages or to request registration materials, contact Sister Albertine at 865-545-8270, 865-207-4742, or smaevang@yahoo.com.

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