Spiritual Gems of Belgium and Germany

An LGBT – friendly Catholic pilgrimage
April 22 – 30, 2019

Sister Jeannine Gramick invites you on a journey of spirituality, history, culture, and friendship

Image result for brussels belgium

Grand Place market square, Brussels


Monday, April 22 – NEWARK / BRUSSELS

We depart Newark on our overnight flight to Brussels.

Tuesday, April 23 – BRUSSELS

This morning we transfer to our hotel and then enjoy a guided tour of Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union. We will pass the “Grand Place,” part of the UNESCO cultural heritage and the Cathedral St. Michael/St. Gudula. We visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Atomium of the 1958 World’s Fair. We gather at our hotel for dinner, prayer, and introductions of old and new friends.

Wednesday, April 24 – GHENT and BRUGES

Related image

Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp

In Ghent, we see the Belfried or tower of free-dom and the Gravensteen Castle, and visit St. Bavo Cathedral with the famous altar by Jan van Eyck. We have Mass in Ghent or Bruges, one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium. We visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which houses a relic of the Holy Blood allegedly collected by Joseph of  Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land. We visit the Church of Our Lady containing the sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. We return to Brussels for dinner and overnight.

Thursday, April 25 – ANTWERP and LEUVEN (LOUVAIN)

In Antwerp, we see the Karl-Borromäus Church and visit the Cathedral of Our Lady, the largest church in Belgium, containing one of the main works of Peter Paul Rubens. We have Mass in Antwerp or Leuven, where we see the famous Catholic University, the Triling-ual College, the world-wide famous Town Hall, and the great court of Beguinage, a former home of a community of contemplative medieval women called Beguines. We visit the Gothic-style St. Peter Cathedral, with its famous Last Supper by the Flemish painter, Dirk Bouts. We return to Brussels for dinner and overnight stay.

Friday, April 26 – AACHEN and COLOGNE

Image result for Adoration of magi cologne

Adoration of Magi Altarpiece, Cologne Cathedral

After Mass and breakfast we travel East into Germany. In Aachen, we visit the 1200-year old Cathedral, which is the burial place of Charlemagne and was the coronation church for the Roman-German kings. The Cathedral Treasury houses one of the most important collections of medieval church artworks in Europe. In Cologne, we tour the Cathedral, which survived World War II despite exten-sive bombing. We continue on to Frank-furt and settle into our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Saturday, April 27 – FRANKFURT

After Mass we see the sites of Frankfurt. We visit the gothic St. Bartholomew Cathedral and Römerberg, the old town center. We see the town hall (Römer), St. Paul’s Church, and the birthplace of the Romantic poet, Johann Goethe. The afternoon is free to explore the restaurants, cafés, and shops at the square. Towards the Main River is the Eiserne Steg, a 19th century bridge leading to Sachsenhausen, which housed a Nazi concentration camp. Enjoy dinner on your own. We hope to meet with an LGBT Christian group this evening. Overnight at our hotel.

Sunday, April 28 – BINGEN and MAINZ

Image result for st. hildegard of bingen and nuns

St. Hildegard of Bingen and her nuns

Today we visit the Hildegard Forum, a center dedicated to St. Hildegard of Bingen, one of the most influential women in the medieval world and a Doctor of the Church. After Mass and lunch we go to Mainz where we see St. Martin’s Cathedral and visit the Gutenberg Museum, named after Johannes Gutenberg. We learn about the history of printing, books, and the Gutenberg Bible. We then visit St. Stephen’s Church to see the world famous blue stained-glass choir windows designed by Marc Chagall. We return to Frankfurt for dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Monday, April 29 – HEIDELBERG

After Mass, we travel to Heidelberg, site of Germany’s oldest university, which be-came an inspiration and myth for the German Romantic movement. A guided tour around the multi-faceted Old Town of winding alleys, dreamy squares, the Church of the Holy Spirit, and the Jesuit Quarter will bring the past to life. We return to Frankfurt and gather after dinner at the hotel for some farewell remarks.

Tuesday, April 30 – USA

We return with memories of the artists, holy saints, inventors, writers, and leaders of this richly historical region.