Pilgrimages and Tours
Welcome to the Office of Radio & Television's pilgrimages home page. The Office of Radio &
Television and WJMJ Radio sponsor pilgrimages and tours primarily to Europe
concentrating on Italy as an additional fundraising method to support their
activities. From this page
you will be able to access specific information about upcoming tours or
review past tours through pictures or streaming media content.
Please tell us what you would like to see or where you would like to travel. If you would like to be placed on our
mailing list to be notified of future tours, please click
Current Pilgrimages and Tours
Past Pilgrimages and Tours
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This page was last updated on
01 Jan 2018.
2018 is the "Sapphire Jubilee" of the Office
of Radio & Television, that's right... 65 years of "Bringing
Good News to Life®", and in celebration ORTV and WJMJ Radio are
planning their Bella Italia pilgrimage tour to Italy for 2018.
Bella Italia 2018 with Father John - October 2018
ORTV and WJMJ Radio
will once again invite their friends, listeners and supporters to join Father John
Gatzak on this 14 day/12 night classic pilgrimage tour to Italy
planned for October 2018.
The preliminary itinerary includes visits to: Verona, Venice, Modena, Florence, Siena, Assisi, the Eternal City... Rome
and the Vatican, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Paestum, the Isle of Capri and much more.
The exact dates and full details are being
finalized and should be available sometime in January 2018.
The 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play - NOW BOOKING!
Yes, the date is correct, the world famous
Oberammergau Passion Play is just around the corner... in 2020.
Tickets to this sought after event went on sale in September 2017 and
are selling like hotcakes! Since 1634 a Passion Play has been
performed by the villagers of Oberammergau in thanksgiving to God for
sparing them from the Black Plague.
The 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play was attended by
over 500,000 people including a group of 88 Office of Radio & Television
and WJMJ Radio supporters.
The Office of Radio & Television and WJMJ Radio
together with their travel partners are proud to announce that they have
secured tickets for two performance dates in July and September 2020 and
are now accepting reservations. A summary of the two tours is
below. Please click on the tour title for more information
including savings for booking by January 2018. Please click
HERE for a history of the Oberammergau Passion Play.
Exploring the Alpine Countries with Oberammergau Passion Play
featuring Austria, Germany and Switzerland
This 13 day/11 night tour from July 20 - August 1, 2020 includes 19
meals and is hosted by Father John Gatzak. Highlights: Vienna,
Danube Cruise, Salzburg, Mozart Dinner Concert at St. Peter's
Restaurant, Munich, Oberammergau Passion Play, Black Forest, Château de
Chillon, Zermatt, Lucerne.
Alpine Explorer & the Glacier Express Train with Oberammergau Passion
Hosted by Father John Gatzak, this 12 day/10 night tour September 14-24,
2020 includes 17 meals. Highlights: Lago Maggiore, Island Dinner,
Zermatt, Glacier Express Train, St. Moritz, Innsbruck, Salzburg, St.
Peter’s Restaurant, Mozart Dinner Concert, Munich, Oberammergau Passion
Play, Linderhof Palace, Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle.
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Rome and Sicily 2017 with Father John - September 17-30, 2017
John Gatzak hosted a group of 37 Office of Radio & Television and
WJMJ Radio supporters on a 14 day/12 night pilgrimage tour to the
Eternal City... Rome and the beautiful island of Sicily on September
17-30, 2017. The group visited the many historic sites of Rome
including the Vatican; and in Sicily toured Palermo, with the
highlight being a visit to the anchovy museum; Monreale, Erice,
Cefalu, the Marsala wine region, Agrigento... and the Valley of the
Temples, although the walking tour was rained out; the mosaic at the
Villa Armerina, Savoca and the Barone Palantia estate... where
scenes from The Godfather were filmed;
Taormina and its Greco/Roman theatre; Mt. Etna, Europe's tallest
active volcano which was snow capped already; Siracusa and its old
town Ortigia; and the
UNESCO World Heritage cities of
Modica, Noto and Ragusa... And not to
mention the wonderful Sicilian people, food, wine and sweet treats.
The Emerald Isle... Ireland - September 17-30, 2016
Father John Gatzak
hosted 15 Office of Radio & Television and WJMJ Radio
on a 14 day/12 night pilgrimage to
Ireland, September 17-30, 2016. The groups visited:
Dublin; Trinity College with Book of Kells and the Long
Room; St Patrick’s
Cathedral; Guinness Storehouse; Glendalough Visitor's Center
where we learned about St. Keven; Knock Shrine;
Galway Cathedral; Kylemore Abbey; Cliffs of Moher; Kenmare
Smokehouse; Blarney Castle, and yes quite a few members of the
group came down with the gift of gab after kissing the
Blarney Stone; Jameson Experience; Waterford
Crystal; JFK Homestead; Tintern Abbey and so much more.
This was a wonderful experience for all and we look
forward to offering this pilgrimage in the future.
Jubilee of Mercy Pilgrimage to Italy - March 31 to April 12, 2016
John hosted a small group of Office of Radio & Television and
WJMJ Radio supporter/listeners on this
special 13 day/11 night pilgrimage to Italy in celebration of
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis.
The group visited many holy sites from Rome to Bari to Loreto
and Assisi including: the Eternal City... Rome and the Vatican;
Pietrelcina (birthplace of Saint "Padre" Pio); San Giovanni
Rotondo, where Saint Pio served, received the stigmata and died;
the Trulli of Alberobello; Bari and the Cathedral of St.
Nicholas; Loreto and its "Holy House"; Assisi... home of St.
Francis and St. Clare; and much more.
Sunny Portugal - September 25 to October 4, 2015
Father John Gatzak
hosted a small group of Office of Radio & Television and WJMJ
supporters/listeners that were part of an overall larger group
on this 10 day/8 night tour to Sunny Portugal... Estoril
Coast, Alentejo & Algarve. The Itinerary included visits
to: Cascais, Lisbon, Jeronimo's Monastery,
Sintra, Fatima, Evora, Monsaraz, Algarve,
Sagres, Lagos, Faro, Azeitao, 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and
Bella Italia 2015 - June 22
to July 5, 2015
joined Father John Gatzak on
a fantastic 14 day/12 night classic pilgrimage tour of Italy
to celebrate Father John's 40th Anniversary of
Ordination to the Priesthood. It was was
40 years ago on June 29, 1975 that Father John was ordained a
priest by Blessed Pope Paul VI in Saint Peter's Square.
The itinerary included visits to: Verona, Venice,
Modena, Florence, Siena, Assisi, the Eternal City... Rome
and where the group attended the Papal Mass Celebrated by Pope
Francis for the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul in the Basilica of
St. Peter, Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi and the
breathtaking Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Paestum and the Isle of
Capri and much more.
Sicily 2014 with Father John - October 6-16, 2014
Father John Gatzak
led your fellow Office of Radio & Television supporters and WJMJ
listeners on this 11 day/9 night tour to the beautiful island of
Sicily visiting Palermo, Monreale, Cefalu, the Marsala wine region,
Agrigento, the Villa Armerina, Savoca, Taormina with its spectacular
view of Mt. Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano, Messina and
Reggio Calabria, Siracusa and Noto... a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Habemus Papam Pilgrimage to Italy - August 28 to
September 6, 2013
Father John led your
fellow television Mass viewers and WJMJ listeners on this 10 day/8
night pilgrimage to Italy in honor of Pope Francis. With visits to
Rome and The Vatican, attendance at a General Audience with the new
Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. Itinerary also included visits to Assisi... home of Saint
Francis, for whom the Holy Father chose his name; Florence, Siena
and San Gimignano.
Rome & Assisi - October
19 - October 28, 1012
Father John Gatzak led 25
Office of Radio &
Television supporters and WJMJ listeners on a 10 day/8 night pilgrimage to Rome and
Assisi for the canonizations of 7 blesseds, including two heroic American women... Blessed Marianne
Cope and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha on Sunday, October 21, 2012. In
Assisi they visited the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare,
this mystic medieval town and the surrounding Umbrian hill towns
including Spello, Spoleto and Bevagna.
& Malta 2012 - September 1 - September 12, 2012
Father John Gatzak
led 23 Office of Radio & Television
supporters and WJMJ listeners on a 12 day/10 night tour to the
beautiful islands of Sicily and Malta from September 1 - September
12, 2012. In Sicily the group visited: Palermo, Erice, the salt pans of Trapani, Agrigento, Taormina with its spectacular view of Mt. Etna,
Europe's tallest active volcano, Siracusa, and more. On
Malta... many historic sites some dating to prehistoric times were
Bella Italia 2011 -
Father John Gatzak and your fellow Office of Radio & Television
supporters and WJMJ listeners experienced a fantastic 14 day/12
night classic tour of Italy visiting Verona, Venice, Modena,
Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Assisi, the Eternal City... Rome,
Pompeii, Sorrento and The Amalfi Coast. Click
to read a client's impression of this tour.
Bella Italia 2010 -
September 25 to October 7, 2010
A 13 day/11 night classic pilgrimage
to Italy with Father John Gatzak that included visits to Verona, Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, Assisi,
The Amalfi Coast and the Eternal City... Rome.
Oberammergau Passion Play 2010
July 17 to July 26, 2010
A 10 Day/8 Night Pilgrimage to Germany & Austria with Father John Gatzak
that included the Oberammergau Passion Play performance on Thursday, July 22,
Pilgrimage to Poland with Father John
Gatzak - April 24 to May 3, 2008
Krakow, Zakopane, Shrine of Divine Mercy
and St. Faustina's tomb in Krakow, Shrine of
Our Lady of Czestochowa, Auschwitz Memorial and Wieliczka Salt Mines. 10 Days -
Pilgrimage to Puglia... the Land of Padre Pio with Father John
- October 22 - October 30, 2007
Father John and
his fellow pilgrims experienced another wonderful 9 days and 7 nights in Rome
and Southeastern Italy. We visited
and the Vatican
and participated in Pope Benedicts XVI's
weekly audience. In
we saw some of Italy’s most unspoiled scenery, most fascinating artistic and
historical sites, and finest beaches. We visited
the birthplace of Saint “Padre” Pio and
San Giovanni Rotondo…
the Basilica where we celebrated Mass, the tomb of Saint Pio and the new
Pilgrimage Church of Saint Pio. In
Sant’Angelo we visited the grotto and
Shrine of Saint Michael
the Archangel. We explored the Castel del Monte,
a UNESCO World Heritage site. We visited Trani,
Polignano a Mare
and Locorotondo. We explored the cone shaped
Alberobello. And experienced agritourism up close,
including visits to a winery and an olive oil factory, and culminating with an Italian cooking lesson.
Classic Italy in the Fall with Father
John - September 24 to October 7, 2006
Father John Gatzak led another group of pilgrims on this 14 day, 12 night
classic tour of Italy. We were blessed by beautiful weather as we visited
Venice for 3 days including the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello,
Next we stopped in Modena for an education in traditional Balsamic Vinegar then
onto Florence and Michelangelo's David. From Florence we visited a
vineyard and winery in the Chianti region; Siena - home of Saint Catherine -
where we had a special visit with one of the local Contrada. Next up was beautiful Assisi
and visits to the Basilicas of Saint Frances and Saint Clare, Patron Saint of
the television Mass. From Assisi we toured to Sorrento and drove the breath
taking and winding Amalfi drive to Amalfi. Then it was on to Rome, but
first we stopped in Pompeii and visited this Roman city buried by the eruption
of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. In Rome, we attended a papal audience with our
Holy Father Benedict XVI, and the diaconate ordination of American seminarians attending the Pontifical North
American College at Saint Peter's Basilica, including Michael Carlson of Prospect,
CT, a seminarian from the
Archdiocese of Hartford.
Lenten Pilgrimage to Rome & Lourdes with Father John - March 31 to April
This Lenten Pilgrimage to Rome and Lourdes with Father John Gatzak,
Executive Director of the Office of Radio & Television of the Archdiocese of
Hartford, began with 4 days in Rome where we participated in the events
commemorating the 1st anniversary of the death of Pope John
Paul II, including a candlelit recitation of the Rosary and the Memorial Mass in
honor of John Paul II presided by Pope Benedict XVI. Our stay
in Rome concluded with a Papal audience. Next we visited Pisa and its
Tower, and yes everyone tried to hold it up... then on to Avignon, France and the Palace of the Popes.
Our Lenten pilgrimage concluded in Lourdes... the sanctuary and
grotto, where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette. It was truly a
very moving and spiritual experience for all as we prayed at the grotto,
participated in the Palm Sunday liturgies and culminated with a candlelit Marian
Sicily & Rome 2005 with Father John:
The Anniversary Tour - June 19 to July 1, 2005
Fr. John Gatzak, Executive Director of the Office of Radio & Television,
Archdiocese of Hartford conducted another unforgettable pilgrimage, this time,
in celebration of his 30th anniversary of priestly ordination on June 29,
2005. This pilgrimage began with 8 days exploring the ancient ruins on the beautiful Island of Sicily
visiting Taormina, an optional trek to Mt. Etna no eruptions this trip, Siracusa including a boat ride
around the harbor... the very waters that St. Paul sailed, Solarino... where Father
John celebrated Mass with his cousins, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento,
Erice, Saline, Monreale and Palermo.
We concluded the pilgrimage with 3 days in the Eternal City, Rome, the
highlights being the Papal Mass and Imposition of the Pallium with our new Holy
Father, Benedict XVI in the Basilica of St. Peter; visiting and praying at the
tomb of Pope John Paul II and celebrating Father John's
Anniversary Mass in the Basilica at the Catacombs of Priscilla.
Italy 2004: The Pallium Tour with Father John - June 24 to July 6, 2004
Father John planned this pilgrimage to celebrate the Archdiocese of
Hartford's new Archbishop, Henry J. Mansell, on the occasion of his receiving
the pallium from our Holy Father John Paul II on the Feast of Saints Peter and
Paul, June 29, 2004. This pilgrimage began with 2 days in Assisi where
we enjoyed the local Festa delle Campanelle, then we spent 4 days in Rome,
the highlight being the Pallium Ceremony and a General Audience with the Holy
Father. From Rome
we journeyed south for 5 glorious, sun-filled days in and around Sorrento, including visits to
Naples, Amalfi, an optional excursion to Capri, Ravello, Paestum and a Buffalo
Mozzarella farm factory.
Italy 2003 with Father John - October 11 to October 24, 2003
This pilgrimage was in celebration of the Office of
Radio & Television's Golden Jubilee with an added bonus. It included Lake Como, Florence, Assisi, Rome for the
Beatification of Mother Teresa (now Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) by our Holy
Father John Paul II on October 19, 2003, and San Giovanni Rotondo to visit the Basilica
and birthplace of
Saint "Padre" Pio of Pietrelcina.
Crossroads Pilgrimage 2002 to Italy with Father John - October 25 to
November 7, 2002
This pilgrimage included the beautiful island of Sicily with visits to Palermo,
Agrigento, Siracusa, and Taormina with its view of the erupting Mt. Etna, and
Rome and an audience with our Holy Father John Paul II.
Pilgrimage to Italy - October 27 to November 6, 2001
This pilgrimage was almost another casualty of the September 11, 2001 terrorist
attacks on the United States. However, from an initial group size of 35,
Father John led 20 brave and hearty pilgrims, including a first-time flyer, to
Italy where they prayed and remembered the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
in the Eternal City of Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, Assisi, Venice and Milan.
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