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Latest News on the Baths at Lourdes Sanctuary

One of the most desired activities when visiting Lourdes is, of course, the baths.  Being immersed in the baths is something most pilgrims look forward to. However, as of late December 2022, the baths remain closed for actual immersion, but they have developed an alternative plan.

Here is what they say on their official site:

Getting water from the spring at Lourdes, FranceFor health reasons and to respect physical and social distancing, bathing is not possible at the moment.  Accompanied by the Hospitallers of Our Lady of Lourdes, the spiritual approach of the gesture of water consists of drinking Lourdes water and washing your face, in this symbolic place of swimming pools, full of stories, prayers and of thanks.


Furthermore, there is this information about the water from the taps at Lourdes:

The Taps

The Water taps at Lourdes
The water taps at Lourdes

Located at the bridge next to the arches, these taps have sufficient pressure to allow you to fill any containers that you might want to take back for yourself or your loved ones.  Be aware, for those traveling by air, most airlines and countries will not allow you to carry liquids on board.  Rules vary, and in many cases a small bottle inside a secure plastic bag may be allowed.

For U.S.A. travelers, 3.4-ounce containers (or smaller) and then placed in one clear, quart-sized bag.
Check with your airline first.

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New European Visa Requirements Starting Early 2024.

New European Visa Requirements Starting Early 2024. Are You Prepared for ETIAS?

Starting early in 2024, US travelers will need a new document called “ETIAS” to enter the European Union. If you are a US citizen traveling to the EU as a tourist, you will need this ETIAS documentation to enter.

While it is being called by many a “visa requirement,” technically, it is a new pre-arrival authorization.

What is the ETIAS?

The European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS, is a new required document for entry to the EU. The online application for tourists and travelers entering the European Union is expected to open in 2024. However, no specific date has been set. Still, we expect this to begin early in the year,

Check out this video from Select International Tours for all the information you need.



So you will want to watch our website and Social Media for more information as it becomes available.

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August 1st & 2nd The Great Pardon of Assisi

About the Great Pardon of Assisi:

Starting the evening of August 1st until sundown on August 2nd each year, you may take part in the Great Pardon of Assisi.

Origin of the Great Pardon of Assisi:

The tiny portiuncula the chapel built by St. Francis
The portiuncula, or “little portion”

When Jesus and the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Francis in the year 1216 in the tiny Portuincula (the chapel he built), Jesus asked Francis what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis humbly replied that he would like to obtain a plenary indulgence (elimination of temporal punishment due to sin) for all those who entered the Portuincula, so long as they were truly contrite and had confessed their sins.

Up until that point in history there were only three such places to receive a plenary indulgence:  the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or the shrine of Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Most people could not afford to undertake such travel.

Jesus granted Francis this wish, but stipulated he should first present his request to the Pope.  He obtained approval from Pope Honorius III in 1216 and this became  known as the Portuincula Indulgence, or the Great Pardon of Assisi. 


You can obtain the Plenary Indulgence of Assisi in any Parish church throughout the world.

If you happen to be in Assisi on August 1st or 2nd,  you can also earn this pardon for yourself or for any departed family member by visiting the Portuincula or any parish church in Assisi.  Originally this also included any Franciscan church throughout the world, but was extended to include any Catholic church (subject to the conditions as shown below).


The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi, as it is properly called, are as follows:

 1.  Sacramental Confession within 8 days either before or after visiting the Portuincuca or any Franciscan Church in Assisi or anywhere else in the world.

2.  Participation in Holy Mass and Eucharist within 8 days at any church before or after visiting the Portuincuca or any Franciscan Church in Assisi or anywhere else in the world..

3.  Recitation of the Apostles Creed, Our Father, and a prayer for the Holy Father’s intention.

The Portiuncula or Tiny Portion inside the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels AssisiThe Portuincula is now inside the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels at the foot of the town of Assisi.

Almost all tours stop here either on the way to Assisi or upon leaving.  The Basilica is immense and the Portuincula is actually inside the Basilica.  We wonder what St. Francis, who loved simplicity, would have thought of such an immense Basilica being built here…but of course the Portuincula would probably not have lasted if it were not inside the Basilica.

As you can see here, it is quite small but open to visitors.

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Andrea Bocelli to Sing in Lourdes on July 16

On July 16, Andrea Bocelli will be singing to celebrate the last apparition of the Virgin to Bernadette

On July 16, to celebrate the 18th and final Apparition in Lourdes, Dançar Marketing and Colégio Vértice (BR) will be offering pilgrims in the Sanctuary of Lourdes a special concert by Andrea Bocelli entitled “Prayers for life” for families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

After the Marian procession, which will begin at 8:30 p.m., Andrea Bocelli will perform, accompanied by the Choir and Orchestra of Pau Pays de Béarn, from the city of Pau, conducted by the Italian maestro Carlo Bernini and accompanied by the Ukrainian violinist, Anastasiya Petryshak and by French soprano, Clara Barbier Serrano.

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Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster….do we have a new “incorruptable”?

Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster
Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster

When Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster, the foundress of The Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles, died on May 29, 2019 at age 95, her body was not embalmed and was placed in a simple wooden coffin to be buried in the convent where she lived.

Recently, it was decided to move her body into the chapel of the convent.  When the body was exhumed and the coffin opened, it was discovered that there was a crack in the wooden casket that had allowed dirt and moisture into the coffin, which would have accelerated any decomposition.  Despite this, her body had not decayed as expected and appeared to be relatively intact.  In addition, her habit, which she so zealously fought for, was completely preserved, while the lining of the coffin had deteriorated and was gone.

The nuns created a wax mask for Sister Wilhelmina’s face and also coated her hands with wax, the story said. Her body will be displayed in the chapel at the Abbey of Ephesus in Gower, Missouri until May 29, when there will be a rosary procession. After that, her body will be encased in glass in the chapel.

We are not in a position to say that the body is incorrupt….nor are the Sisters.  The local ordinary, Bishop Vann Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, visited the monastery to see Sister Wilhelmina’s remains. Johnston issued a statement the same day, saying that a “thorough investigation” was needed to answer “important questions” raised by the state of her body  More investigation will be required before that can be decided.  You can read the statement here.

You can find an email that was recently sent out by the Sisters of The Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles explaining the recent events here.

Here is a video with Reverand Mother of the Order describing the unearthing of the body.

And here is a great video concerning Sister Wilhelmina by Father Mark Goring.

Visitors viewing the body of Sister Wilhelmina (photo courtesy Alex Simone | News-Press NOW)

Huge crowds came to see her body while it was still open for visitors to see and touch.  Now, her body has been placed in a glass case but can still be viewed.

As you can imagine, this has created an influx of visitors to the Abbey….and, in fact, the Sisters are no longer taking phone calls since it interferes with their spiritual life.



If you do plan a visit to view the body of Sister Wilhelmin in Gower, Missouri, please be aware of the following;

1.    There is a dress code in their chapel; Marian modesty:  Women must wear sleeves, a veil, and a dress below the knees or lose fitting pants when they visit.  Veils, skirts, and shawls can be borrowed.  Men also need sleeves.

2.   DO NOT TALK. Not at all.

3.   You are in their home. Be aware of that. They are VERY hospitable, and won’t complain if you violate things, but please be respectful.

4.  Her body will be encased in a glass case on May 29, so you need to visit before that if you wish to touch her.

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LGBTQ IN YOUR FACE in San Antonio, Texas

Never-ending LGBTQ Propaganda aimed at YOU!

Most of us are getting sick of the controveries over the push to make LGBTQ+ a normal lifestyle.  Budweiser Bud Light and Target are only two high-profile promoters of the LGBTQ lifestyle; but there are hundreds more.  If you are a Catholic Christian working for a major corporation, there is a good chance there will be someone responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)….to very admirable sounding terms until you realize what they mean to those in power.  Often times it means you need to promote others based on race or sexual preference rather than ability. And to push the envelope further, you must celebrate lifestyles that directly in opposition to Church teaching.

It  all began with “we just want to be left alone” then “we just want to be able to get married” then “you will endorse our life style“.  Fight back, and they will do everything in their power (with most of the media on their side) to crush you.  Get you fired from your job, put you out of business, ruin your life.  And make no mistake, they are after your children and grand-children.  Accepting pedophilia is on the horizon….just check back with us in a decade or so.  Don’t want to bend to their will?  They will get you fired or put you out of business.

Well-meaning people say “we have to be compassionate”.  This is not to say that there are not good people in some of these communities, but encouraging in their sinful behavior is not compassionate…it is enabling.

Founded by Catholics in the 1500, this event is a far cry from what those early missionaries could have imagined.
What harm could it do to watch?  Well, you are encouraging a lifestyle that is ultimately a dead end.  God created male and female for procreation….not going to happen between to people of the same sex…unless they start creating babies in a test tube, which still violates God’s law.

Then you have the push (and we do mean push)  to convince young people in their teens and even younger to “choose their sex” would have been laughed at only a few years ago….but suddenly it is all over the place.

There will be families here celebrating “diversity” or “exclusion” and bringing their kids along.  How sad it will be (as a friend of ours discovered) when their daughter comes to visit and announces that she is about to get married to another woman! Well….where do she get the idea in the first place?

We are sad to see one of our favorite cities, San Antonio, Texas hosting a pride parade.

On June 24, 2023 there will be families here celebrating “diversity” or “exclusion” and bringing their kids along.  It seems harmless enough…just watching a parade…..but those kids are watching, and getting the idea that this is all normal.  How sad it will be if, as a friend of ours recently discovered, their daughter comes to visit and announces that she has fallen in love and is about to get married to another woman! Well….where do think she got the idea in the first place?

And, as if the parade is not enough, there is the Bud Light Pride River Parade & Celebration.  Gee, have they not learned their lesson?

We have known a few homosexuals who really born that way, but many have chosen to bear this cross.  And even among those who have not, it is only a small militant minority who push this on everyone.  But they are a strong minority, and have infiltrated our governments and our businesses.

We don’t know how many Catholic Christians will attend this event…..sad to say, we think there will be many.  “What harm can it do?” is the popular expresssion.  “After all, we want to be ‘inclusive’..’non-judgmental’..’welcoming’ “.  And we certainly don’t want to be accused of being “homophobic” or “transphobic”.

Still, if you visit San Antonio, there are some great Catholic sites to see in San Antonio (named after Saint Anthony and founded in 1718). It is a great place to visit..perhaps not so much on








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Valentines Day Special: Share the Love with Christians in the Holy Land

Enroll with your Valentine on ANY Select International Tours Pilgrimage between February 14, 2023, and February 21, 2023, and Select International Tours will Share the Love by making an additional $50 donation in your name to Select to Give. There are no codes or coupons, just enroll and Share the Love!

Select to Give is a charitable organization sponsored by Select International Tours to aid Christians in the Holy Land and Ukraine.  It is important to support our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and Ukraine, and we pray that this will help bring much-needed attention to their needs.


You can read more about Select to Give here.

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Funeral of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVIAll eyes of the Catholic world will be on Rome this week, as we mourn the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  Of course the word mourn is not necessarily the right word, since as Catholic Christians we believe that he has simply passed on to eternal life.

For those who have seen him in person, as we have…..it is an experience hard to describe.  He looked at you as if you were the only person there in a crowd of thousands!  And his profound teachings have helped many to grow in their faith.  He will lie in state in Saint Peter’s Basilica according to the following schedule (all times are local):

Monday January 2nd and Tuesday January 3rd from   9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  (09:00-19:00)

Wednesday January 4th from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (07:00-19:00)

Funeral Mass will be held Thursday January 5th at 9:30 am (09:30) in Saint Peters Square

No tickets are required for admission to any of these events.

Original tomb of Pope John Paul II
Original tomb of Pope John Paul II…now vacant.

His interment will follow.   Per his wishes, he will be interred in the grotto of Saint Peters (known as the Necropolis) in the same tomb where Pope John Paul II’s body was laid before being moved to its current resting place in the Chapel of Saint Sebastian (the second chapel on the right as you enter the Basilica).  The tomb where Benedict XVI will be laid is less that 100 feet from the tomb of Saint Peter.


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Roe vs. Wade and Responsible Catholic Travel

We have been bombarded with the word “responsible” over the past few years that has almost lost its meaning.  It typically refers to protecting the environment, respecting local traditions and other goals that are basically in keeping with Catholic tradition.  God gave us dominion over the plants and animals, and certainly we are to be responsible in our behavior.

But there is another sort of responsible travel that we are thinking of here:  supporting companies whose interest are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Abortion, of course is one of them, and due to the recent Supreme Court ruling in the U.S. that there is no fundamental right to abortion in the U.S. constitution, some companies have chosen to offer paid leave, free transportation, etc for their employees seeking an abortion.   After all, abortion is illegal in some states but not others.  Make no mistake:  The Culture of Death is practically a religion and abortion one of their sacraments.

So, we find major companies that are pursuing an objective contrary to Catholic Christian beliefs.  For those who say, I am only one person…what can I do?  Well, you can vote with your feet.  For example, Alaska Airlines has announced that they will fund travel for employees seeking abortions in other states….so goodbye Alaska Airlines for us.  Walt Disney is another one…no surprise there, of course.

No word yet on other travel suppliers…but we will try to keep you updated.  Of course, all the “woke” corporations have begun to follow suit:  Amazon, Microsoft, etc.  These companies want people enslaved to their employer…having children would be competition for their attention. Oddly, maternity leave seems to somewhat less of a priority for these companies.

It’s your money….and you can make a difference.

Note that the Catholic Church stands almost alone in its opposition to abortion, which is why you see…and will continue to see…protests and probably vandalism against many Catholic churhces.  Most mainline protestant sects (Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.) have squishy wording about the “viability” of the fetus…meaning almost up to the moment of birth they are pretty much OK with it.

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Population of Ireland finally back to where it was in 1850

According to the 1841 census Ireland had a population of 8 million, by 1851 the population was down to 6.5 million and decline further to 4 million in 1931….half of its previous population. Most of this drop was due to the Irish potato famine and the repression of the Catholic faith as they fled the country in search of a better life as well as religious freedom.

The heart-wrenching scene depicted here “Emigrants Leave Ireland” by Henry Doyle (1868) was repeated thousands of times as families left with their few belongings, realizing they would likely never again see the family members and friends that they left behind.

The U.S.A. received the most immigrants: almost 4 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930, which was almost half the population of Ireland.

A recent article by BBC points that the population as of the latest census the population has finally risen to 5 million, still nowhere near the levels of 1841 but an increase nonetheless.  Like many countries, though, the population is aging…..which is not a good sign (unless you believe the fallacy the world is over-populated, which it is not).

You can read the article here.