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European Travel Ban hits U.S. travelers hard

Effective July 1, all non-essential travel from the U.S.A. to the European Union’s 27 member states has been banned.  There are only a few exceptions, and these will probably not apply to you.

Note that the ban is based on residency……not citizenship. Someone arriving from the U.S., who is a citizen or resident in the EU–or in one of the countries listed below, can enter.

Also banned are residents of Brazil, Russia and India.

 

 

The following 27 countries are members of the European Union:

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czechia
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden

 

Residents of the following countries that are not members of the E.U. are allowed entry:

Algeria
Australia
Canada
Georgia
Japan
Montenegro
Morocco
New Zealand
Rwanda
Serbia
South Korea
Thailand
Tunisia
Uruguay
China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)

Just to add to the confusion, each country will determine its own specific way of enforcing the ban.  It is not known how long this ban will be in effect, but obviously it will spoil most travel plans for the summer and probably in to the fall.

And, as usual, everything keeps changing, so we will do our best to keep you updated.

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A virtual pilgrimage on the Way of St. James (Santiago de Compostela)

Walking The Way of Saint James is a wonderful experience for those who are able to make it.  It has been closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, but is now back open.

But for those who cannot make it, The Camino de Santiago Virtual Challenge is the next best thing.

Here is how it works:

♦ You set up your own deadline (up to 78 weeks) and you can do it solo or as a team. Cross the finish line and you will receive a “finishers” medal (if you walk the physical Way, you normally have a passport stamped at various places along the way and get “finished” when you reach Santiago de Compostela.

♦  Each time you complete a distance based exercise activity such as running, walking, cycling etc you advance along the map from France to Spain.

It is a great way to stay fit during these strange times of partial shut-downs.

The catch is, it’s not free.  It costs to participate (includes the medal)  You can find out more and sign up here.

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Miracle Approved….Carlo Acutis one step closer to Sainthood

According to the Vatican News Service, on February 21, 2020, PopeFrancis received His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the same Congregation to promulgate the Decrees concerning a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Carlo Acutis.  This young man, who died at age 15 had an amazing devotion to the Eucharist and detailed Eucharistic Miracles throughout the world.  He is buried in Assisi.

The miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian child suffering from a rare congenital anatomic anomaly of the pancreas in 2013. The Medical Council of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes gave a positive opinion of the miracle in November 2019.

With Pope Francis’ approval of the miracle, Carlo Acutis can now be beatified (declared Blessed)…one step closer to Sainthood.

The Beatrification will take place on October 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

You can read more about him here.

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Ever Hear of a “Tenner Rosary” ?

History of the Tenner Rosary:

It is a long and tragic story, but during the period from about 1537 to 1714, persecution of Catholics in Ireland (and elsewhere in Great Britain) became government policy.  Catholic clergy in Ireland were expelled, and those who did not leave were forced into hiding.  If found, they were subject to instant execution. As a result, the priests had to be hidden in private homes (sometimes in a “priest hole”) and Mass had to be held in secret…sometimes in the countryside on “Mass Rocks” as well as privately in homes.

All Catholic items were forbidden including statues, stained glass windows and even possession of a rosary was illegal.

There were many martyrs during this period: 17 of whom were beatified in 1992, including Thomas Beckett.

 

The Tenner Rosary:

Tenner Rosaries
Find Tenner Rosaries in our store

The faith was kept alive, of course, and many were able to practice private devotions without any penalties.  For those wishing to have a rosary, a “tenner rosary” was the perfect choice:  it was easy to hide so that if someone unknown to you were to approach, it could be quickly tucked away.  Tenner rosaries have a crucifix, the Our Father and 10 rosary beads.

Of course, those times are in the past, but sometimes it is convenient to carry a small rosary rather than one with all five decades, especially when traveling.  And in the time of the Corona Virus, the more rosaries you say the better, in our opinion.

You can find a great selection of Tenner Rosaries here in our store.

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Depression, Suicide & Saint Dymphna in the age of Coronavirus

The Suicide of actor Robin Williams in 2014 made headlines around the world. Perhaps it is because, as a comedian, he always seemed to be “up” and ready to laugh.  Plus, he seemed to have all that the modern world tells us we should want:  Fame, Wealth, Acclaim.

So it is surprising to those who did not know about his inner conflict, that he suffered from depression and ended up taking his own life.

But Robin Williams was not alone:  countless people suffer silently from depression.  Although some might wish to call it a character flaw, it is actually a disease that afflicts many regardless of class or wealth.

Now that we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic with its isolation and fear, suicide is becoming a concern among many and there are reports of people becoming so depressed that they take their own lives.

As we know, good can often come out of the bad that happens. In this case, due to the enormous amount of publicity  surrounding the suicide of Robin Williams; it will hopefully create more awareness of depression, its signs and treatment.  Often times those with depression feel sadness, shame, and helplessness. As a result they are reluctant to move forward and ask for help. And those around them may not be looking for the signs of depression that could help avert tragedy.

Did you know that Saint Dymphna is a little-known  saint who is invoked in cases of mental health issues?  Her name is  not familiar to many, yet countless miracles have been attributed to her intercession.

Her shrine is in Belgium and there is also a National Shrine of Saint Dymphna in the U.S. in Massillon, Ohio (check this page for more information on Saint Dymphna).

The Feast Day of Saint Dymphna is celebrated on May 15.

You find a great assortment of Saint Dymphna prayer cards and more here.

 

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Rome is gradually opening up

Slowly, Rome is opening back up!!

It has been a surreal experience for those living in Rome these past few months:  no throngs of tourists, no lines to get in to Saint Peter’s or the Vatican Museums, no public Masses….something most of us never thought we would see.  Fortunately, the city has begun to relax its restrictions, which is good news for those who live there….but also for those who wish to visit “The Eternal City”.

Public Masses:  The Italian government had banned attendance at Masses in early March, part of its prohibition on gatherings as it sought to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Most of Italy’s churches have remained open during the pandemic, but only for individual prayer.  Public Masses can resume on May 18, but under strict conditions outlined in a protocol signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian Bishops Conference.

Each pastor will determine the maximum number of people who can fit in a church while staying at least a 3 feet apart.

If necessary, additional Masses can be held, rather than allowing more people into the church for one service, the protocol says.

The faithful will have to wear masks in church. Priests can celebrate most of the Mass without masks but they will have to wear one, as well as gloves, when they distribute Holy Communion.

For now, choirs are not allowed and holy water fonts will remain dry.

 

The Vatican Museums:  The Vatican Museums, which have been closed since March 9,  will soon be reopened to the public, while following the safety guidelines prescribed by Italian and Vatican health officials. They will be accessible only by reservation, and no large groups will be admitted at this time..

The museum is installing thermoscanners for temperature readings of all visitors, so obviously your temperature will have to be normal.

It’s not ideal, but at least it is a step in the right direction, and it is welcome news to those who plan to travel to Rome this summer and fall……and welcome news for the tour companies that will take them there.

 

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Crown of Thorns Meditation Live from Paris

The archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, has announced that he will lead a Good Friday meditation featuring the Crown of Thorns in an event that will be broadcast on television as well as the internet.  The Crown of Thorns is one of the treasures of Notre Dame Cathedral, and escaped destruction during the fire earlier this year.

Due to the coronavirrus lockdown in Paris, the Archbishop was unable to organize a march of the relic through the city, so this will take its place.

 

You can view this event live on the website of France’s Catholic television station, KTO, on Good Friday, April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. local time.

 

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No..the Miraculous Crucifix in Rome did Not Explode

When Pope Francis gave his “Urbi et Orbi”  blessing in an empty Saint Peter’s Square on March 27, 2020,  it was viewed the world over.

Pope Francis venerates the Miraculous Crucifix...photo credit Catholic News Agency
Pope Francis venerates the Miraculous Crucifix…photo credit Catholic News Agency

Present there on that rainy night was the miraculous crucifix from the Church of San Marcello al Corso in Rome.

That same crucifix had  miraculously survived a fire in 1519 that destroyed the original church and everything else inside.  Then, when a plague ravaged the city in 1522,  the crucifix was carried in a solemn penitential procession that lasted 16 days.   The procession, led by a Spanish Cardinal named Raimondo Vich, included clergy, noblemen and everyday people of Rome. The plague ended right after that.

A few days after Pope Francis gave his blessing, rumors spread that due to the crucifix being exposed to the rain the day of the blessing, it had “exploded” or “suffered irreparable damage”.  This was not true.  It did, in fact, suffer some water damage…but nothing severe.  The Catholic News Agency reports that Fr. Enrico Maria Casini, who is in charge of San Marcello al Corso in Rome, has said the damage to the miraculous crucifix from rain “is not serious,” from what he understands, and it is expected to be returned to the Church of San Marcello al Corso by Easter.

We are saddened that some “traditional Catholic” websites are so eager to publish sensationalized news..sometimes we feel that they will do anything to put Pope Francis in a bad light…that they print anything without bothering to get the facts..SHAME ON THEM.

While we may not agree…or understand…all the actions that take place under Pope Francis’ pontificate, we do not presume to pass judgement, nor do we publish un-substantiated rumors.

Here at the Catholic Travel Guide we try our best to verify any items that we post, and if we cannot verify the facts, we don’t just throw it out there.  We expect the same from other sources as well.

 

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Free showing of movie about Our Lady of Garabandal during Holy Week

The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the remote village of Garabandal, Spain are covered on our page here at the Catholic Travel Guide. A movie has been made about these apparitions titled  “Garabandal: Only God Knows”.

When the coronavirus first reached Europe in early 2020, the Garabandal movie was playing in theaters in France. It had already premiered in 29 countries and had been seen by almost 300,000 people. More than 10,000 people had already seen it in France alone and many more were expected to fill the theaters during the scheduled screenings in the months of March and April.

All of this was canceled when the theaters were forced to close due to the coronavirus. They also had to postpone the premieres planned for the month of March in Singapore, Switzerland and Australia, and during April in the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, and Holland.

The producers of the movie have announced that from April 3-12, 2020; that is, from the Friday before Holy Week through Easter Sunday, “Garabandal: Only God Knows” will be available for viewing online free of charge both in Spanish and English on the film’s official webpage: https://www.garabandalthemovie.com

It will be available in all countries, except for the following countries, where they hope to premiere in the near future in movie theaters: Canada, Singapore, Holland, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Belgium.

You can also view it beforehand through Amazon Prime.