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In the Steps of St. Paul


A Pilgrimage to Malta in the Year of Prayer led by

Fr. John Eldridge & Fr. Mark Lyon


St Paul spent several months on the island of Malta on his final journey to Rome and martyrdom and as a result Christianity flowered here and has always been an integral part of the character and culture of the Maltese community. In the middle ages Malta made an ideal headquarters for the Knights of St John when they were expelled from Jerusalem and they undoubtedly stamped their mark, evident in the impressive architecture in the cities and their fortresses. Experiencing the effects of these religious influences on Malta is not difficult as the small size of the island lends itself to exploring at a leisurely pace and in addition there are the added attractions of a temperate climate, the sea and the comfort of English being so widely spoken! ‘They made us all welcome by lighting a huge fire because the weather was cold.’ ACTS 28.2

 

Day one - Thursday 25th January 2018 Gatwick - Malta Check in at Gatwick Airport for our 07:25 am scheduled flight to Malta. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel, the Victoria Hotel in Sliema. Mass will be celebrated during the day. The afternoon will be at leisure and dinner will be in our hotel on each night of our stay.

 

Day two - Friday 26th January  

Valetta In the morning we drive to Malta’s capital city, Valetta. We start by visiting the upper bastions to enjoy the view across the main harbour. We then make our way to St John’s Cathedral, where Caravaggio’s masterpiece The Beheading of John the Baptist hangs in the Oratory. Afterwards we visit the Grandmaster’s Palace and finish the morning with a visit to St Paul’s Shipwreck Church, one of the oldest churches in Valetta. We may view the paintings of Attilio Palumbi, portraying episodes in the life of St Paul, as well as two important relics, an arm bone of St Paul and a piece of the column on which he was beheaded. There will be a break for lunch in a local restaurant (included). We reconvene after lunch and walk down to the lower parts of Valetta to visit the Malta Experience, an audio-visual show, before returning our hotel in Sliema by the ferry from Valetta. Mass will be celebrated during the day.

 

Day three - Saturday 27th January  The Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck This morning we transfer to Valletta to take part in the programme of events to celebrate the Feast Day, returning to Sliema in the early evening. Details of the festivities will be to hand nearer the time. Mass will be celebrated during the day.

 

 Day four - Sunday 28th January

Gozo After breakfast we transfer by coach to St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral where we hope to celebrate Mass. Afterwards we travel coach and then cross by ferry to the peaceful island of Gozo separated by a five-mile wide channel from Malta. It is very different from Malta itself, greener, more rural and very relaxing. We first visit the church in the village of Xewkija, which has a dome third in size only to St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. We then drive to the most important place of pilgrimage on the island, Ta’ Pinu Church, named after Pinu Gauci, a wealthy man of great devotion, who lived in the 17th century and restored the church, which is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. Afterwards we drive down to Dwejra to view the Window in the Rock. We then visit the seaside village of Xlendi where lunch will be taken in a local restaurant. After lunch (included), we visit the charming capital of Victoria, including the citadel and the 17th century cathedral of the Virgin Mary. There will be time at leisure here to browse and shop. We return by ferry to Malta and drive to our hotel. Dinner will be at choice tonight.

 

Day five - Monday 29th January Rabat and Mdina After breakfast we drive to Mdina, the Roman capital of the island, which predated Valetta by several centuries. We visit the Archbishop’s Cathedral, co-cathedral with St John’s in Valetta. It is believed to stand on the site of the Palace of Publius, who was Roman Governor at the time of St Paul’s visit, and who subsequently became the first Bishop of Malta. We can have a superb view of the islands from the ramparts of Mdina, including St Paul’s Bay, where he was shipwrecked. We will then visit Rabat, where we shall see St Paul’s Church and the grotto where Paul is said to have lived and preached after his shipwreck, as well as the early Christian catacombs. Lunch will be included in a restaurant today. We then drive to Mellieha and visit the Church of Our Lady. Return to our hotel where the evening will be at leisure. Mass will be celebrated during the day.

 

Day six - Tuesday 30th January Malta - Gatwick After breakfast we celebrate our final Mass of the pilgrimage. The rest of the day will be at leisure with lunch at choice. In the afternoon, a coach will takes us to the airport for our return flight, arriving at Gatwick at 09:55 pm.

 

This tour involves a substantial amount of walking,


Price  £799     Application forms  in church