St George’s, Bickley & St Stephen’s Lewisham
Pilgrimage to Malta, led by Fr Richard Norman & Fr Philip Corbett, travelling on 19 September - 22 September 2017
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.’
DAY ONE: London Gatwick - Malta
Check in at Gatwick Airport for our 4.45pm flight to Malta. On arrival, we transfer to the 4-star Hotel Santana, Bugibba, near St Paul’s Bay. A light meal will be left in your room owing to the late arrival.
DAY TWO: Valetta
In the morning we visit Malta’s capital city, Valetta. We concentrate first of all on visiting the churches. Firstly, 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. We visit 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 the Malta Experience. We shall then walk to the Upper Barraka Gardens for a wonderful view of Valetta harbour. Mass will be celebrated during the morning. Lunch will be in a local restaurant, and the afternoon will be at leisure to explore or shop in Valetta, before we return to our hotel, where we will have dinner.
DAY THREE: Rabat and Medina
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 is included in a local restaurant.
DAY FOUR: Blue Grotto - Malta Airport - Gatwick
In the morning we take a trip by boat to see the famous Blue Grotto. From here, we continue by coach to the Village of Zurrieq, one of the oldest in Malta. We visit the 17th century church of St Catherine, which contains wall paintings by Mattia Preti, who also painted the interior of St John’s co-cathedral in Valetta. Lunch will be at choice. In the afternoon we transfer to Malta Airport for our return flight, which arrives at Heathrow at 7:30pm.
This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is a guide and subject to change.
Travel Insurance: £26
Single room supplement: £42
· Scheduled flights on easyJet: Gatwick – Malta and Air Malta: Malta - Heathrow.
· 1 piece of luggage up to 20 kg in weight.
· U.K. and Malta airport departure taxes.
· 3 nights accommodation in shared twin-bedded rooms with private facilities at Hotel Santana (or similar) in Bugibba.
· 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners.
· Excursions by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary.
· Guided tours by a fully-licensed English-speaking guide and entrance fees as per the itinerary.
· Religious services.
· ATOL and ABTA financial protection.
· Travel insurance premium, currently £26. See our booking form for further details.
· Single room supplement at £81 per person for 3 nights (limited number of single rooms available).
· Maltese Eco tax of €2 per person, payable to the hotel on check out.
· 1 lunch, drinks.
· Fuel surcharges if passed on by the airline.
· Gratuities to guide, hotel staff and coach drivers.
· Transfers within the U.K.
Terms of Payment:
Deposit of £200 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person on booking with a completed booking form.
Final payment due two months before the departure date.
The above price is guaranteed for bookings Pax Travel receives by 25th November 2016. Any bookings Pax receives after this date may be subject to a flight surcharge.