Why Would Someone Visit Poland?

by Steve Ray on April 1, 2019

Why would someone want to visit Poland? Janet and I visited Poland in 1985 when it was still communist. We smuggled Bibles, money and medicine into the Christians behind the Iron Curtain. Driving through the infamous Checkpoint Charlie into East Germany was a little bit hair-raising. While crossing between East Germany into Poland we held our breath. Everything went well but the oppression and the darkness and poverty was stunning. Now we lead pilgrimages through Poland and what was once dark is now light and colorful. Those who were oppressed and withdrawn are now smiling and bright-eyed—the Catholic Church that was tightly controlled is now in full bloom. Poland is the country of modern day saints. The pressure of the Nazis and the communists forged magnificent Saints and we walk in their footprints through their stories in their country.

COMMENT FROM TOM GOVERN, FREQUENT TRAVELER WITH FOOTPRINTS OF GOD

I cannot wait for this Poland trip this August! Poland has been on my bucket list for years and I cannot think of a better way of satisfying that list item than a pilgrimage with Steve and Janet Ray. Not only is Poland rich in spiritual and secular history but it was pivotal in the fall of Communism.

My thanks to Steve and Janet for the opportunity. All of Steve and Janet’s pilgrimages are exceptional. This trip will be my eleventh (11th) with them. I would not do it any other way.

We all know the story of Pope St. John Paul II and his heroic life and how he brought the Soviet empire to its knees. We follow John Paul II from his birth to his death. After a pilgrimage to Poland you’ll feel very close to the saint. The popularity of the Divine Mercy has swept the world and we will visit the convent of St. Maria Faustina to pray the Divine Mercy in front of her relics in the church at her convent. One of her Sisters will address our group. One of the most sobering moments of a pilgrimage to Poland is a visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Here we’ll see the cell where St. Maximilian Kolby gave his life in exchange for a family man. Standing in the courtyard where the prisoners stood that day is very emotional. We will also discuss St. Edith Stein, the Jewish convert and Carmelite nun who died in these camps. The hotels, food, Catholic guides, buses and talks along the way only contribute to the glory of visiting this amazing Catholic country. Italy is another one of our destinations this year. But there are two things that make it unique from other trips to Rome. Many people have visited the Eternal City but we will be extending the trip outside to three other profound spiritual sites. First, will spend two days in the medieval city of Assisi. Here we will have a cooking class and we will also have a wine tasting with our Catholic guide, Liz Lev. We will also be visiting Lanciano home of one of the world’s most famous Eucharistic miracles with Mass in front of the stunning miracle. We will also celebrate Mass in front of the Facecloth of Christ at Manoppello. This is the face cloth that was on our Lord while he was in the tomb. My friend Paul Badde, the author of the bestselling Ignatius Press book “The Face of God” will join us and give a talk on this amazing face cloth. Liz Lev, the most “in-demand” guide in Rome and our great friend, will be our guide for this pilgrimage. There are special streets opened up for Christmas shopping for which we will have plenty of time. All the highlights of Rome are included in our itinerary. We will also meet with the Swiss guards and have a talk from their captain. Hopefully, you will be able to join us on one of these trips as we continue to explore and appreciate the great riches and traditions of our Catholic Faith.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Govern April 1, 2019 at 10:41 PM

I cannot wait for this Poland trip this August! Poland has been on my bucket list for years and I cannot think of a better way of satisfying that list item than a pilgrimage with Steve and Janet Ray. Not only is Poland rich in spiritual and secular history but it was pivotal in the fall of Communism. My thanks to Steve and Janet for the opportunity.
All of Steve and Janet’s pilgrimages are exceptional. This trip will be my eleventh (11th) with them. I would not do it any other way.

Peter Eagleton April 2, 2019 at 4:32 AM

Hello Ray, greetings from Australia. It's been a bit challenging being Catholic here with Cardinal Pell being in prison and the mainstream media gleefully celebrating this but the Church here carries on.

I wish you and your pilgrims for Poland and Italy God's blessings. Poland is one of the countries that I pray counters
the march of atheisim and Islam through western Europe. I pray that the Vatican gets its house in order. Cardinal Sarah would make a great future Pope. Speaking of Italy when I did my pilgrimage to Israel and then Italy to see the Turin Shroud in 2015 I was wondering if you know about the Suderium of Oveido in Spain a facecloth that matches the face of the Turin Shroud to a very high degree?

Yours in Christ
Peter

STEVE RAY HERE:
Thanks Peter. Poland is a heroic country and I am proud to visit and encourage them! I am aware of the facecloth in Spain but you should also check out the facecloth of Christ in Manoppello Italy which is the actual facecloth on Jesus’ face in the tomb. See the book “The Face of God” by Paul Badde.

Tony April 2, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Steve when you were smuggling bibles etc into Poland did you feel that you were breaking the law or because it was a communist state with it's own law at the time you didn't feel you were breaking their law. If what you were doing wasn't illegal why did you feel the need to smuggle anything in anyway.

STEVE RAY HERE: Peter and John said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.” Ac 4:19.

I had no qualms about breaking their unjust law. I rather followed the will of God. I had to smuggle because what I was carrying was forbidden contraband. It was either smuggle it in or not take it at all.

Tones April 3, 2019 at 12:19 PM

Steve Peter and John were talking about the religious law and whether they should go against it. We are told to honour the human authorities that God has placed over us. We can't sometimes understand why they are in place but we have to accept that for the time being they are God's will.

STEVE RAY HERE: The State never abrogates my obligation to assist fellow Christians and to provide the Word of God and preach the Gospel. No government has authority to forbid me to do that. I have an obligation to do what I did – and I would do it again.

Catechism 450 From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ’s lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not “the Lord.”

Catechism 2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”48 “We must obey God rather than men”:49 (1903; 2313; 450; 1901)

When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.

Catechism 2256 Citizens are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

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