In the footsteps of the Pope John Paul II

Program Warsaw – Krakow

Warsaw: Pope John Paul II – an extraordinary Pole, the first Polish Pope in the history of the successors of Saint Peter and the first Bishop of Rome in over 450 years who was not from Italy. The Holy Father went on several pilgrimages to Poland, which from the beginning of the eighties underwent radical transformations, as did all of Central and Eastern Europe. During his 7 pilgrimages to his home country, John Paul II almost always visited the capital. In Warsaw there are many places connected with him in special ways. They were witnesses to important words and grand gestures.

Kraków and its region  are the homeland of Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II. From here he set off to Rome for the Conclave which elected him Pope. He loved to return to these places both in spirit and during his papal visits to his homeland: Here, in this land, I was born. Here, in Kraków, I spent most of my life (...) Here, too, I experienced the grace of the vocation and took the holy orders (...). Here also, in Wawel Cathedral, I was ordained as bishop.

Day 1 Warsaw 

Arrival in Warsaw, Poland’s capital cityat the Chopin Airport.  This is where most pilgrimages of John Paul II to Poland began. On June 2, 1979 during his frst visit, the Pope, after exiting the plane, kissed his native ground. This gesture, recognized worldwide, began every pilgrimage of the Pope. Transfer to the hotel, check in, an introductory city sightseeing tour. Dinner and overnight in Warsaw.

Day 2 – Warsaw

Celebrate Holy Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, where Father Popiełuszko is buried (murdered by agents of communist secret police in 1984).  Next sightseeing of Warsaw including places connected with of John Paul II: Royal Castle The former residence of kings, seat of the Sejm of the Republic of Two Nations and place where the Constitution of May 3rd was passed serves at present as a museum, a centre of education, culture and art as well as a venue for important state ceremonies. Along with Warsaw’s Old Town, it is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Pope met with representatives of the Polish government here twice: in 1987 with Wojciech Jaruzelski and in 1991 with Lech Wałęsa. In the castle there are several gifts from the Pope.

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist - The oldest church in Warsaw and one of the most important places of culture and national tradition in Poland. John Paul II made many visits to the Archcathedral where he prayed at the grave of another outstanding clergyman – the primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński. It was in this church that, in June 1987, he met with Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  *Piłsudski Square  where during his first trip to Poland in 1979 John Paul II appealed to the crowd with his famous phrase: "Thy your Spirit come and change the outlook of land, This land". Those days under communist rules no one believed it could ever be true, but 10 years later this wish fulfilled. Pilsudski Square was also a place of the funeral ceremony after his death;  *St. Anne’s Church On the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of John Paul II – on April 2, 2006 - a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the frontage of the church, with the words the Holy Father pronounced a short time before his death. This place is strongly connected with the Pope and his dialogue with the youth.

*Greek Orthodox Church of the Basilian Fathers  where In June 1999, John Paul II met with the Greek Catholic hierarchy and its faithful in this church on Miodowa *Borch Palace - House of the Archbishops of Warsaw ul. Miodowa 17/19  In 1958, priest Karol Wojtyła was here when he learned about his appointment to the position of Bishop. In 1979, as John Paul II, it was here that he spent the first night of his first pilgrimage to his homeland. Between 1983 and 1987, he held meetings with the representatives of other faiths at the palace.  
*Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity Here in June 1991 John Paul II met with representatives of the Churches belonging to the Polish Ecumenical Council and took part in a service. The visit will include also  : The Royal Park Łazienki. This is a part of the complex of buildings consisting of the Royal baths, palaces and a park. The Palace on the Water and the Theatre on the Island are most enchanting.  At the end: the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto, dedicated to the victims of Nazi brutality.  Dinner and overnight in Warsaw.

Day 3 – Warsaw –Częstochowa – Auschwitz/ Birkenau - Krakow

Departure to Krakow. On the way stop in  Częstochowa, pilgrimage's place of John Paul II and the most important Saint Mary Sanctuary in Poland with the inscription over a gate devoted to the Pope, visit to the church with Black Madonna and the Pope's Parents Monument.

Continue to Auschwitz/Birkenau. Visit of the former camps. During his 1979 pilgrimage, the Pope mentioned :Oświęcim – Auschwitz is an examination of the conscience of humanity through these plaques that testify to the casualties suffered by the nations. Visit of the cell that imprisoned St. Maximillian Kolbe and the Martyrdom Museum recalling the horrors of the Holocaust.          Arrive to Krakow, check-in. Dinner and overnight in Krakow.

Day 4 –Krakow

„Let me-before I leave…look once more at Krakow where every stone and every brick is dear to me “- John Paul II said on Blonia Commons in 1979 during his first pilgrim to Poland.

“Krakow's route of Pope John Paul II “ Sightseeing, the most famous place linked with a history and life of the Pope John Paul II: Before having taken over the Holy See as Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla had lived in Krakow for four decades–practically through his entire adult life until his assumption of the papacy. Here he spent his formative years as a student and then as a young priest, a theologian and a philosopher, a playwright and a poet.  The visit starts with the Holly Mass in the Archbishop's Palace which is Wojtyła's last residence before leaving for the Vatican in 1978. There one can see the famous "papal window", where John Paul II used to show up to chat and chant with the youth of Krakow during all his visits and where thousands of people lit candles and prayed during his last days. Next visit of the Francis Basilica located just in front of the palace. Wawel cathedral where Pope John Paul II said his first Mass in the 12th-century Crypt of St. Leonard’s., Kanonicza street where Father Wojtyla resided at 19 Kanoniczastreet from 1951 till 1958, when he became bishop;  Now both those houses are turned into the Archdiocese Museumwhich exhibits the church art.

In the museum you can see the flat where Karol Wojtyła lived while working as a lecturer of theology. Jagiellonian

University where John Pail II studied  Polish language, literature and drama. Guided tour of Collegium Maius.Finally the Main Market Square,  the biggest medieval square in Europe and  St Mary’s Church – one of the finest Gothic structures in the country. John

At the end:  * St. Florian Churchin Kraków – in this church during a period from August '49 to September '51 Pope John Paul II served as a chaplain to the students of university and to health workers.

Dinner in the restaurant located in the Old Town.

Day 5 –Krakow – Niegowic - Zakopane

The next place connected with the great Pope is Niegowić, situated 24 km/15 miles away from Kraków. It is here that the young curate was sent to complete his first ministry at the local parish: I remember that (...) when crossing the border of the Niegowić parish, I knelt down and kissed the ground. (...) And that was how my ministry began. Continue to the popular Alpine resort village of Zakopane, nestled in the magnificence of the Tatra Mountains.  Another region beloved by Karl Wojtyła was Podhale: the highlands at the foot of the Tatras, and the mountains. He would say that a man needs this scenic beauty: no wonder, then, that people come here from all over Poland and from abroad.
Zakopane, a town where the person of the great Pope is commemorated in many places. One is the Sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of Fatima at Krzeptówki, where Wojtyła held a Holy Mass as Pope (a monument to him commemorates the event). Another is the Chochołowska Valley with the ‘papal hiking trail’ of the Tatras, which takes you to the sanctuary of St Brother Albert on the slopes of Krokiew, by the broad path from Kuźnice to Kalatówki. And yet another is the chapel of Our Lady of the Snow at Wiktorówki: a chapel below Rusinowa Polana (glade) hidden among spruce woods.

Regional dinner inside the charming regional restaurant. Folk band playing the traditional highlanders music. Overnight in Zakopane.

Day 6 – Zakopane – Wadowice – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska - Kraków

After breakfast departure to Krakow. On the way: Wadowice, "the place where it all began" as the Pope referred to his hometown in 1999 during his visit here. Discover the dearest places to Karol Wojtyła during his childhood and adolescence, including the parish church where he was baptised and the house where he was born.  

During his visit in Wadowice in 1999 he took a walk down memory lane and reminisced where he once used to buy his cream cakes. He would have had no idea the impact that this comment would make on the town’s cake production. Today you’ll see signs for cream cakes plastered on every window, though only one place was singled out as his favourite; Break for tasting the famus papal cream-cake

Then travel to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland's second most popular pilgrimage centre. Near the Bernardine Monastery are the famous Calvary paths, with churches, chapels and wayside shrines imitating the topography of Jerusalem. Pope John Paul II often walked the Calvary paths and prayed before the beautiful painting of the Zebrzydowska Mother of God.

Day 7 – Kraków – Lagiewniki - Wieliczka 

Morning visit to Lagiewniki where the message of the Divine Mercy was passed on to St. Faustina. Visit St. Faustina's tomb, convent chapel, and the Shrine of Divine Mercy. You will also visit the Sanctuary that houses the image of Merciful Jesus and the relics of St. Faustina.

Next visit of Wieliczka Salt mine.Put by UNESCO on the World Cultural Heritage list in 1978. Tourist route on three levels of the mine covers 2 km of corridors, 20 chambers carved in salt, all on the depth from 64 to 135 meters. St. Kinga’s Chapel is a breathtaking subterranean church where everything is made of salt: crystal chandeliers, altars, sculptures and floor paving carved in the layer of salt.

Farewell dinner in the restaurant located on the Main Market Square.

Day 8 – Kraków   

Morning free at leisure, departure. 


Krupnicza 3

31-123 Kraków

tel. +48 12 422 58 40

logo member mpi logo site