Prep for a Pilgrimage


2 pope booksAnyone attending the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed John XXIII

in less than TWO WEEKS?

I know it will be wonderful! I will have to be content with experiencing it vicariously through Mike and Sue Denz and St Gemma’s Catholic Pilgrimages and the news coverage on TV and online.  I will however be experiencing an awesome pilgrimage to Rome September 22-October 3, 2014 and I’m already SO excited!

I know that Mike and Sue have already provided lots of helpful info to their pilgrims about preparing for a pilgrimage, but I wanted to share what I’ve been thinking about in prep for my pilgrimage…in case any of our subscribers are preparing for their own!

St Gemma Pilgrimages postcardPRAY.

A pilgrimage is different from a regular vacation or holiday or business trip. While there are plenty of logistics to work out, things to plan and pack, a pilgrimage is primarily an opportunity for spiritual growth. Spiritual reading and prayer for God’s Will and Direction are important. Mike and Sue of St Gemma’s Catholic Pilgrimages say It is essential that we begin to pray each day from now until the pilgrimage, so that our hearts and minds will be open to receive the blessings and graces which God wishes to bestow on each of us…. Pray everyday with a couple special intentions for the upcoming pilgrimage, whether it’s the Canonization tour (in a couple weeks!) or the one I’m going on September 22-October 3, 2014! with Mike and Sue and Fr Scott McCaig!


You have to have a valid passport and there can be quite a bit of lead time…up to 90 days!


guide book

A good purse or bag that can be carried in front of you. There are pickpockets in Rome and they seem to target the careless.

An Italian Phrase Book will be helpful! I have ordered my little pocket phrase book from Amazon and will review it once I receive it!

A Rome Guide Book: I’ve got “The Pilgrim’s Guide to Rome’s Principal Churches” by Joseph Tylenda. I have also picked up an older version of “Eyewitness Travel Guides for ROME” and I will be reviewing another highly recommended resource just as soon as I receive it!

A Journal/Sketchbook: I have often carried a sketchbook…since Architecture school 20 years ago! As I now journal in an app on my ipad…I haven’t been as consistent with that lately, but I already have a nice little coil bound sketchbook for Rome.

Technology, Quality Camera, Power Adapters, Memory Cards: While I would like to take Mike and Sue’s advice about taking a step back from the internet while on the pilgrimage, I am looking forward to documenting our journey and blogging about it as efficiently as possible, as St Gemma’s Catholic Pilgrimages’ Official Catholic Blogger!  I suspect I will try to send out quick little updates or tweets as possible…and blog more thoroughly about each day after I return home.  That said, I need to investigate power adapters, memory cards to store a lot of photos, extra memory for my ipad and possibly calling cards…although my aversion to cell phones might push me to Skype home when WiFi is available at internet cafes and at the guesthouse where we’re staying (only a 7 minute walk to the Vatican!).

Clothing: Remember that there is a dress code for all churches! Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not allowed. Skirts or dresses past the knee are definitely preferable. Depending on the time of year, Mike and Sue have lots of helpful advice for the basics you need to pack, based on the weather in Rome, the amount of walking you’ll be doing and their experiences in Rome. Try to pack light…as you will be carrying your own luggage and you have to pay extra if your checked luggage weighs more than 50 lbs! Keep in mind the restrictions for one check-on bag and one carry-on (with limited liquids)!

Tell us what necessities you are packing…or what you wished you had packed! Share in the comments!

St Peters

Yes! This is a sponsored post! St Gemma’s Catholic Pilgrimages is sponsoring me to go to Rome for 10 days…as their Official Catholic Blogger!

Rome Fr Scott and MonicaWould you like to come too?

Check out our Featured Pilgrimage: 12 Days in Rome, Florence and Naples with Fr Scott McCaig (chaplain) and me!

September 22-Oct 3, 2014!

Find out how YOU TOO can go to ROME for FREE!


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