This article is courtesy of Select International Tours:
The Future of Pilgrimage Travel 2024-2025
A New Year is upon us again, and we are excited to see all that 2024 brings. We are seeing signs of hope for returning to Israel in 2024. Greece is becoming a very hot destination, and the coming Jubilee year in Italy is causing quite a stir. Read on to learn more.
Holy Land: Signs of Hope
Of all the things we are hoping and praying for in 2024, the resolution of hostilities in the Holy Land is at the top of our list. Thankfully, we are seeing signs of life returning to normal in Israel, which makes us believe that travel there may be possible soon.
In the last few weeks, Israel has told citizens in the North to return to their homes after months living in hotels in and around Jerusalem. The northern checkpoint into Gaza has been opened, and people are returning to the area. Children returned to school, and hotels across the region reopened. Several European and Asian airlines have resumed regular flights in and out of Tel Aviv and US carriers have announced dates in February and March when they too will resume flights. Pilgrimage groups from Europe and Asia are on the ground and reporting having safe pilgrimages.
Encouraging Words from Our Guides in the Holy Land: One of our chief guides, Hani Awwad, has been touring the US since January 1, speaking with Groups who are excited to return or visit the Holy Land for the first time. He tells us that he and other guides have been taking groups from Europe and Asia to most of the sites we regularly visit over the past month and a half or so. All the trips have been rewarding and without incident. The only major Christian sites still closed to tourists are in Bethlehem; however, they are expected to reopen in the next thirty days.
Travel to the Holy Land Resuming Shortly: If you have a trip planned for May or later, plan on traveling. You will have an amazing experience as crowds will be reduced, and the people there will be very excited to welcome you to the Holy Land after being shut down for several months. If you, or someone you know, traveled to the Holy Land following the Pandemic, you will remember how easy and special it was to travel there before the crowds returned in force.
Greece: destination of choice for early 2024
Greece seems to be the destination of choice for early 2024. We have several groups departing to follow in the footsteps of St. Paul, and with good reason: the weather is mild, the scenery is breathtaking, the food is superb, and the places of spiritual significance are plentiful!
Next to the Holy Land, no place on Earth will change how you read the Holy Scriptures more than Greece. Most of St. Paul’s letters were written there. He spent a lot of time in the area ministering, and it is easy to imagine yourself standing alongside him as you tour through the well-preserved ancient cities mentioned in scripture.
If you’re looking to shake off the cold of Winter in the US, we have several trips to Greece departing this Spring and early Summer. Check them out HERE.
Italy: New Property near the Vatican
We have just secured a new property in a Religious House within walking distance of the Vatican. This location will give pilgrims an incredible opportunity to explore and pray on their own during free time. Finding accommodations this close to the Vatican is always challenging, so we are very excited to offer another fabulous place to stay. A bonus is a garden, a private chapel, and dinners in restaurants, as the sisters are only serving breakfast at this time.
Just imagine stepping out the door of your hotel and strolling over to Saint Peter’s Square!
We are very happy about this new option for accommodations, especially with the lack of hotel space we are already seeing for travel in 2025.
2025 is going to be a Jubilee Year!
If you are hoping to plan a trip for 2025, Italy should be high on your list. 2025 is a Jubilee Year! What does that mean?
A Jubilee year is a “special year of grace.” The Jubilee starts on December 24, 2024 and goes until December 14, 2025. During the Jubilee, pilgrims who pass through the Holy Doors opened for the occasion have an opportunity to ask for a plenary indulgence. While the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica marks the beginning of the Jubilee, the Holy Doors of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and the Basilica of St. Mary Major will also open their Holy Doors for the Jubilee. Many of our tours will include an opportunity to walk through all four!
Shroud of Turin on Display?
Normally the Shroud of Turin, kept in Turin, Italy is not on display. While no official notice has been given, we believe that the Shroud of Turin may be displayed during the Jubilee year. This was the case 10 years ago, during the last Jubilee. If this chance comes up again, you can be sure that pilgrims will be flocking to see it. It will be another experience that will make a pilgrimage to Italy in 2025 extra special.
Restrictions for travel in Venice:
Due to incredible crowds and large groups, Venice is taking new measures to restrict the number of visitors daily. New regulations are set to take place starting in June, limiting group size to 25 per group in addition to other restrictions. Florence, Portofino, and Rome are also in the process of announcing new restrictions.
Add to all this the fact that the Catholic Church is going through a Eucharistic revival, and Italy is loaded with Eucharistic miracles, like those at Lanciano, Bolsena-Orvieto, and Sienna! It has us wondering what God might have planned for this Jubilee year.
We already have trips in the works for 2025. You can see them HERE, as they open for registration….. but with so much happening in Italy in 2025, you might consider running a pilgrimage for your group or Parish. If you have a group of 20 or more people, give us a call at 1-800-842-4842, and let’s talk about planning your trip.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2024 and 2025. But it all starts by saying, “Yes!” So assemble your family and friends, pull out a calendar, and start planning your pilgrimage trip! Remember, we only need 10 participants to start a group!
With over 100 trips on our website, and more being added each week, there are plenty of opportunities to travel somewhere extraordinary. We hope you’ll join us and we can’t wait to see you out there.
Note from the Catholic travel guide: We like the idea of these restrictions in Rome, Venice and elsewhere. It means smaller crowds and more access to the sites you want to visit…not to mention helping to preserve some of these precious sites. Just be sure to book with Select International for the best group travel possible!